Winter is truly upon us.
The low temperatures and shorter days are very evident in our turf grass. Most of our yards have taken on the “dormant grass” phase and now have a khaki-colored hue to them.
Around foundations and in areas more protected from frost, some of the blades still show some green, but for the most part, grass is only alive underground, strengthening roots and storing nutrients.
It may not be the prettiest time for turf, but it is a hugely important time if it is to survive winter and thrive this spring.
Now very evident in turf grass are the spots — some brown but mostly green ones. “What’s wrong with green?” you might ask. This time of year, a lot.
Unless you overseeded with a winter grass such as rye, a healthy yard right now should have a uniform khaki color. If you see green spots, it’s probably a sign of weed infestation. If you administered a pre-emergent treatment in the fall, chances are your yard won’t have many spots.
Green spots in dormant winter turf grass can be one or a combination of several weeds. A few possibilities are: dallisgrass, crabgrass, dandelion, false dandelion, geranium, false carrot weed, aster, henbit, moss, horsenettle, bindweed, dollarweed, chickweed, clover, burmudagrass weed or fleabane.
Because they are obvious, now is the perfect time to bundle up, grab a bucket and gloves, and start pulling them out by the roots.
The same advice applies for brown spots. This could be frost-damaged aster. Normally olive green, this thick-stalked, low-growing nuisance weed needs to be pulled out and discarded. It is a prolific spreader and now is a great time to get it out.
Remember, all of these weeds you remove should be disposed of properly. Do not add it to your compost or pile it up on the lawn. These weeds are green for a reason. They are hardy and can thrive in harsh conditions. Don’t take the chance of spreading seeds; bag weeds and send them packing in the garbage truck.
Darla Menking is a certified Bell County Texas Master Gardener and a Texas Master Naturalist. Email her at darla.menking