When you see brown patches in your lawn this time of year it is usually a different kind of grass from the one that is predominately growing in your lawn. For example, If you live in an area of the country that can grow both cool-season grasses (like Bluegrass, Fescue and Ryegrass) as well as warm-season grasses (like Bermuda, Zoysia and Centipede); you may have both types of grasses in your lawn. This means that during cold weather your warm-season grasses will turn straw-colored or brown when they go dormant while your cool-season grasses remain green.
So when you see brown patches this time of year, do not be too quick to blame them on fungus disease or insects.
This Saturday morning around 8:00 am EST, I will be a guest on my friend Tom MacCubbin’s Florida “Better Lawns and Garden” Radio Show. (Click here to open his radio show website where you will be able to listen in.)
Your crabgrass has been killed by frost and the seeds have been deposited in your lawn to germinate next spring when your weather warms up. This time of year it is helpful to ID the dead crabgrass plants so that you know to add crabgrass prevention to your “to do” list for next spring. By next spring these dead plants will be mostly gone so now is the time to have a look around your lawn.
Back when we lived in Ohio we were able to stretch our vegetable harvest by using cold frames. Here is a short video showing you how we extended our veggie harvest in fall and got a jump on our veggies in Spring:
If you feel inspired to build a cold frame for your garden, click here for a link from Mother Earth News showing the plan that I followed when I built my cold frames.
Even though most of your lawns are winding down for the year, I see there are several search questions that are popping up now on my blog pages. So here are some quick answers:
1. Is it too late to put down grass seed?
It is late to expect germination and enough root growth prior to winter weather in most parts of the country. Some professional turf grass managers put down grass seed during early winter with the understanding that they will get germination in early spring. This is called Dormant Seeding. Here is a link to a blog posting I did last December on this subject. http://tipsfromashton.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/can-you-put-down-grass-seed-in-winter/
2. I am seeing moths flying from my lawn. Do I need to do anything?
If you are in the Deep South you can still get lawn damage from sod webworms and cutworms, especially on St. Augustinegrass. Moths lay eggs for these insects that can thin your lawn and cause it to turn brown. (Moths do not damage your lawn, just the young that hatch from their eggs.) You can treat your lawn with Ortho Bug B Gon MAX granules and this will kill all lawn damaging insects plus fleas and ticks. If you use the higher spreader setting on the bag, you will also kill Fire Ants. Water your lawn after spreading. Other areas of the country do not need to treat as lawn moths do not lay eggs in cold weather. They are looking for a place to overwinter.
3. Can I still kill lawn weeds like Ground Ivy (Creeping Charlie)?
Yes, as long as daily high temperatures are getting to 45 degrees or higher you can spray your Ground Ivy (and other weeds). There are various Ortho Weed-B-Gon products depending on where you live. Click here to see your options.
Note: If you planted grass seed this fall, it is best to wait until the new seedlings have been mowed four times before you apply weed killers.
4. Is it too late to feed my lawn?
I am feeding my Georgia fescue lawn this week. If you have only fed your lawn once this fall, you still have time to feed one additional time in most areas of the country except the far North. For example, Ohio State University Extension recommends giving lawns in the Buckeye State a feeding in Mid-November. Turf Builder WinterGuard Lawn Food is a great choice.
If you have other lawn and garden questions, click here to see how to contact the Scotts Help Center.
I know some of your lawns have already seen a dusting of snow. Even so, I get the “What height for my last mowing?” question every year. Some folks say: “Take it down lower.” Others say: “Leave it long.”
My answer: Keep on mowing at the same cutting height until your grass quits growing.
Recommended grass heights after you mow:
- 2-1/2 to 3 inches for Bluegrass, Ryegrass and Fine Fescue
- 3 inches for Tall Fescue and Buffalograss
- 3 to 4 inches for St. Augustinegrass
- 1-1/2 to 2 inches for Bermudagrass, Centipedegrass and Zoysia
Tree leaves are all over your lawn. It’s getting cold. You’ve had a frost. Maybe you’ve even had some snow flurries. Here’s a little known lawn secret: Rather than raking your tree leaves, save time by mowing them to dime size just prior to feeding. If you have a Bluegrass, Fescue or Ryegrass lawn, your grass roots are still growing in the soil that is warmer than air temperatures. Even if you’ve already fed this fall, this means you can really help your lawn by giving it a feeding right now with Turf Builder WinterGuard while you are dealing with your tree leaves. So put on your gloves and ear muffs and get out your lawn mower and lawn spreader, and feed your lawn.
You won’t be alone. The expert turf researchers will be doing the same thing with their lawns. In Ohio, Ohio State turf experts say you should get your last winterizing feeding down by the middle of November. In Virginia, the Virginia Tech agronomists say you have until the first of December to get your last feeding down. So, even if you are in the far north, this coming weekend is not too late to get your lawn fed.
One last bit of advice. If you’ve got weeds and want to spread Turf Builder WinterGuard with Plus 2 Weed Control instead of Turf Builder WinterGuard, your mid-day temps need to still reach 60 degrees the day you apply. Apply to moist foliage on a day when no rain is forecasted for 24 hours. (There is no minimum temperature restriction for Turf Builder WinterGuard without weed control as long as your ground is not frozen.)