As fall draws to a close and winter begins moving in, it is time to begin the process of winterizing Texas lawns. Luckily in Texas, it is rare for winter to be bad so winterizing here is slightly easier than in other states.
“Winterizing” a lawn refers to the simple steps a homeowner should take in order to prepare their lawn for the months of dormancy and potential freezes or frosts.
Winterizing the Lawn
Leaves on the lawn can be incredibly unsightly. But those decaying leaves have so many benefits to the environment and to your lawn. The decaying leaves help deposit natural nutrients into the soil for the coming spring.
The cover adds insulation for soil-dwelling critters.
Although the idea of things living in your lawn may seem terrible, they are essential to the life and health of your turf. This winter, consider leaving as many leaves as you can visually stand.
Because most warm-season grass is brown in the winter, many homeowners in Texas look towards a greener alternative. Often this looks like overseeding with Winter Rye. Although it does give a nice green color, overseeding can result in bare spots or patchy grass in the following spring.
But if you do choose this option, it is important to maintain mowing and watering throughout the winter season. Warm-season grasses will need some sort of moisture in the soil. Even for 5 min once a week or a good rain. This will go a long way to prevent root damage.
Ideally, you should not have to mow at all this time of year. But, if you have to mow, any mowing done this time of year should be a trim mow. Make sure to raise your blades and you should leave a 3-4 inch canopy of grass.
This creates a winter blanket over the turf to protect the root system.
Beware leaving the lawn canopy too high for the winter. Grass that is too tall is weaker, more susceptible to damage, and generally less sustainable. Most Texas turfgrass never fully hibernates, and it continues to grow, very slowly, even throughout the coldest winter months.
Winterizing Flower beds
As winter approaches, winterizing the flower beds will require the most work. The first step in preparing would be to refresh the mulch in your beds.
It’s important to refresh mulch every year to account for decomposition, soil erosion, and discoloration. Make sure to maintain 2-3 inches of depth in your mulch coverage. Once the new mulch is added, be sure to turn and mix the old with the new. Consider replacing all the mulch every 5-6 years.
The fall is the perfect time to remove any dead or dying plants that will not come again the next year. For example, many perennials, like elephant ear, will not survive the winter and they will need to be removed and then new ones replanted the following year.
If you utilize bulb plants, consider planting them in the late fall before the ground freezes in hardens.
In Texas, our clay soil freezes and makes it difficult for planting, but in the fall, the soil has cooled from the summer sun and has yet to be hit with freezing temperatures. Be sure to plant the bulbs deep enough to protect them from freezing temperatures.
Winterizing Trees and Shrubs
The first step in preparing your trees and shrubs for winter is treating trees and shrubs with dormant oil. It helps to seal the bark and control insects that might be burrowing in the bark to hide out for the winter. Insect infestations like aphids commonly “overwinter” in the bark of Crape Myrtle and it is important to use dormant oils.
The next step would be to begin any trimming or pruning. It is important to trim in late fall to protect the tree. If you would like to know more, read our article on determining the best time to prune or trim trees and shrubs. It is important not to leave any heartwood exposed to frost.
Any cuts over a 3-inch diameter need pruner’s paint to seal the wound for frost damage. Any temps below 32 it is important to small shrubs, like boxwoods or hawthorns, in burlap or something similar!
Make arrangements for next years care
Having an amazing lawn begins well before spring. In the fall, consider arranging for a lawn care professional to take care of your lawn the following year. Many lawn care companies will be offering sales or special offers for amazing savings for the upcoming year.
At Gecko Green, we offer a discount on services when you prepay for the following year. It’s a great way to save time and money to get the results you will love! For a limited time, we are offering a 10% discount on prepayments for the 2022 year services. We would be happy to set up services for you next year at an amazing discount. Call us today for a free quote!