Saving your Winter Lawn Before it’s too Late

Do you need some help saving your winter lawn?

Good job! You got your lawn seeded on time this year, you aerated, you made sure the seeds got enough water, and you even kept the kids and the dog out of the yard for 2 weeks… so why does your lawn look so sparse? We Arizonans put a lot of work into our winter lawn, and sometimes it really doesn’t seem to pay off. There are a lot of reasons things can unexpectedly go wrong with your new lawn:

  1. Birds
    • Birds could be eating some of the seed, but generally have little impact, if the lawn was properly prepped.
  2. Overwatering
    • You could be giving your lawn too much water. We’ve gotten a lot of rain recently and if that fell at the same time as your seeds were growing? If the rain was heavy enough to move seed, it should be obvious.
  3. Under watering
    • Did you remember to turn the sprinklers back on after the ground dried up, or did your lawn start to dehydrate in the sunny spots?
  4. Compaction
    • This would occur only if there was very regular impact from many feet of people or dogs such as at a ball field.
  5. Fertilizer
    • Proper fertilization is a common problem too. The lawn needs one fertilizer while it’s sprouting for root growth and a different fertilizer for continuous blade development.

With the conditions stacked against you, what can you do to recover at this point? Fortunately, there are still a few weeks of warm in our future if you want to salvage your lawn right away. You’re going to need to act fast and here’s what it’s going to take:

  • Fertilizer
    • If you feel like your lawn is starving, use a 6-20-20 fertilizer in the early stages
    • After your lawn is strong, you can keep it strong with a 15.5-0-0 + Ca fertilizer
  • Mowing
    • Don’t mow your lawn until it’s at least two inches long.
    • After your lawn is strong, be sure to mow before you fertilize it.
  • Water
    • If you need seeds to sprout, water briefly 3x a day for the next 2 weeks
    • If you’re trying to keep your lawn strong, water every other day for 5 – 15 minutes if you have a timer on your sprinkler system, it probably has a setting for odd or even days which is much easier than setting the days of the week you want it to water.
  • Weed Control
    • We don’t recommend using ANY type of weed control until your lawn is well established. That means waiting until after the second mowing.
    • If you are ready for weed control, we can treat your lawn with a pre-emergent weed spray that will keep weeds down for approximately 3 months.
    • Weed killer needs to be watered within 48 hours with approximately 1/2 inch of water, which equates to about 15-30 minutes of watering depending on pressure and types of sprinklers.

The weather this fall has certainly thrown us all a few curves, if you respond quickly, you’ll still be able to hit it out of the park with a beautiful lush winter lawn.

Good luck!