In Albuquerque, NM, like anywhere else in the southwestern part of the US, winterizing your lawn can sound a little intimidating, but really it is fairly easy to do. Winterization paves the majority of the way for a gorgeous landscape when spring comes back around. Here are a few simple steps to help you along that won’t cost a fortune or take too much of your time.
The first step to take is getting to know your grass. There are warm season turf and cool-season turf, both of which benefit from a little work in the fall months to prepare them for winter.
Cool-season turf usually includes perennial ryegrass, fescue, or Kentucky bluegrass, and will be strongest during fall. Experts suggest that if you decide to fertilize your cool-season lawn that it be done in the fall. The fertilizer you will find this time of year is called winterizer fertilizer. It is always advised to check with local professionals to get the specifics and timing for your region, but as a general rule, you should aim to apply this type of fertilizer in October or November.
Fall fertilization is super effective because plants become very susceptible to external stimuli in the fall to start preparing for winter. Things that trigger these responses include daylength and changes in temperature. As the days become shorter and average temperatures decrease, plants, including turf grasses, react by shifting the focal point of their nutrients from their leaves to their roots which in turn slows their growth. Even though what’s visible may look like it’s barely hanging on, roots remain active under the soil even as the temperature continues to decrease.
This process of changing the direction of their nutrients to the roots is the secret to perennials return each spring. The stored “food” reserves help jump start their ability to wake up in spring. This rule also applies to your lawn. Fertilizing your lawn in the fall feeds the active roots, which gives them extra nutrients to store during winter and ensures that they come back extremely lively in the spring.
Springtime brings warmer temperatures and longer days, and the grass takes notice. When the turf senses these changes, they respond by returning their focus to the blades, and utilizing those reserves. If you fertilize cool-season turf in the fall, you will ensure your turf grows in thick and lush when the time comes, and another bonus, this also helps crowd out weeds.
Fertilization is a crucial step for cool-season grasses, however, warm-season lawns require a different kind of care. Warm-season grasses include centipede, St. Augustine, Bermuda, and zoysia. Even if it’s late fall including the end of November or the beginning of December, preparing your Albuquerque lawn for the winter months by completing lawn winterizing will create benefits you will see come spring time.
In regions where freezes happen before winter actually arrives, landscapes usually contains warm-season turf. These types of grasses go dormant in winter, so in these regions, it is highly advised that you do not fertilize after September 1st. If you do, you encourage new growth that will be damaged by freezes and the stress will reach as far as the roots and can harm the rest of the turf.