Should you be watering your lawn during the late fall and winter months?
If you live on Colorado’s Front Range, you know that our weather patterns are anything but “normal.” Our warm dry days, low moisture, fluctuating temperatures and intense sunshine can create problems for your lawns– ESPECIALLY newer lawns that have not matured and become strong!
Many people ask, “Doesn’t grass become dormant in the winter?”
While this is true, our fluctuating winter temperatures cause the top few inches of the ground to thaw. When the soil warms above 40 degrees, grass roots start to grow, albeit slowly… and they get thirsty!! In Colorado, we often get too little snow cover to provide this moisture. And our often light-fluffy snow contains little moisture. Without supplemental watering, your roots could become weakened enough to die when stressed by warmer weather or disease. So even if your grass is dormant, the roots still need some water to stay hydrated during the cold months.
“Won’t the water freeze at night and kill the grass?”
Cool season grasses, such as Korby’s VorTex Hybrid Bluegrass Blend and Athletic Sports Turf Bluegrass Blend, are ideal for winter because they are freeze-resistant. So don’t worry about hurting the lawn. Freezing can be beneficial since it will disperse the water slowly when melting and it will freeze the good and bad “micro-critters,” preventing them from munching on the grass root system.
When Should You Water?
- During prolonged dry periods. Water not only your lawn, but your trees, shrubs and perennials!
- Water only when air and soil temperatures are above 40 degrees with no snow coverage.
- Once or twice each each month from November to April, depending on the frequency of snow.
- Water during mid-day so it can soak into the soil before freezing at night.
- South and West lawn exposures are at the highest risk for winter injury.
How Should You Water
- Use a hose and sprinkler.
- Use enough water to saturate the lawn. Usually about .5 to 1 inch. Place a few flat-bottom containers in your yard to catch and measure the water
- Ensure that all parts of your lawn are receiving equal amounts of water. Pay attention to the edges and corners because those parts are easily missed. Areas near buildings also tend to dry faster; thus may need more water.
- Don’t forget to remove hose from spigot after watering to prevent damage.
- Some lawns and plants don’t need winter watering. These include alternative lawns with blue grama grass and buffalograss, succulents and cacti. They are native plants that are adapted to drying out during the winter.
- If you haven’t watered during the winter– TRY IT! We bet you’ll notice a big improvement in the Spring!!