Fall/winter lawn care activities
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 12:00 AM
Do you have a desire or need for your lawn to be green throughout the winter?
There are only a couple good reasons for establishing a winter lawn here in Mississippi.
The first is the need to provide some type of ground cover for a new home site where it is too late in the fall to establish a permanent lawn.
Another may be that you have had your permanent lawn damaged in some way that it will be vulnerable to additional winter injury if not overseeded.
And questionably if this is a good reason, for some you simply must have that green lawn all year.
Actually for strong, healthy permanent lawns overseeding with cool season grasses will delay next spring's greenup.
The turf species of preference for winter overseeding warm season lawns should be perennial ryegrass.
Perennial ryegrasses are much finer textured than annual ryegrass cultivars, generally have much better color throughout the winter, not as prone to clumpiness, and do not produce as many unsightly seed stalks in the spring.
Seeding rate for home lawns with perennial ryegrass should be 8-10 pounds per thousand square feet and if you use annual ryegrass increase this by another 2 pounds.
Seeding should be done wen soil temperatures reach around 70 degrees which as a general rule will occur around the first of October for much of Mississippi.
With fewer daylight hours and cooler temperatures our lawns have slowed considerably in growth thus giving us more time to pay greater attention to lawn care activities other than mowing.
One such activity that you should consider now is an insecticide application to control fire ants.
Fire ants are nuisance and painful pests that we must manage as it is unlikely that we will ever eradicate them.
While the larger colonies are quite noticeable by their elevated mounds it is those smaller not so obvious ones that keep their ever presence in our lawns.
Killing the queens is the only way to eliminate fire ant colonies.
Granular bait applications are very effective this time of year as foraging ants looking for food will carry the bait back to the colony, pass it through the food chain and ultimately feed to the queen.
Baits should be applied when the ground is dry and preferably in the late afternoon to ensure that the ants pick it up before it can degrade from bright sunlight and higher temperatures.
Baits should always be applied as fresh product since the food source can become rancid overtime and the ants will not eat it.
The larger the area treated the greater efficacy you will obtain; therefore, you may want to organize with neighbors to treat several lawns at once.
For additional information contact the Neshoba County Extension Service at 601-656-4602.