The recent cold snap has brought us into a new phase of yard care, especially for turf grass.

While most of us are thinking grass care is winding down for the winter, now is possibly the most important time for making sure turf grass gets healthy enough to live to see another spring.

Now that temperatures are more moderate, it is time to apply a “winterizer” product to the yard. This step is often skipped, since it is thought that the dormant grass won’t need tending until March. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth. This way of thinking could be quite a gamble since the winter months are exactly when the root systems of grasses need a spurt of growth and strengthening.

During spring and summer, it’s all about the grass blades and “top” growth. Late fall is the opportunity for “bottom” growth — when the roots finally get to boost up their supplies, taking in water and nutrients in order to fortify themselves. Since the root systems are below the surface, they are somewhat insulated from the cooling temperatures.

They now have access to the majority of the nutrients. This is another great reason for deep watering your lawns in the summer. The deeper the roots grow downward, the more protected they’ll be when the cold winter weather hits.

The stronger the roots get during the winter, the better the chances are of strong growth in the spring. Strong roots are able to absorb water more readily as well as take in more nutrients, which encourages the top growth for lush spring and summer lawns.

This is where “winterizer” products enter the picture. Look for fertilizers high in slow-release nitrogen and remember to follow all the instructions on the bag to improve the odds of an awesome spring lawn.

So before nestling in for the cool weather, take care of the last order of business for your lawn — feed it.

Darla Menking is a certified Bell County Texas Master Gardener and a Texas Master Naturalist. Email her at darla.menking

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