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Prep your lawn for winter in the ArkLaTex

Winter in the ArkLaTex can leave your lawn ailing. But an ounce of prevention in the fall, will reap a pound of cure in the spring. That prevention begins with how your grass is cut.
Winter in the ArkLaTex can leave your lawn ailing. But an ounce of prevention in the fall, will reap a pound of cure in the spring.

That prevention begins with how your grass is cut.

"Start cutting it a little bit higher, to get a good thatch bed down to protect the roots," said Chris Bass, Owner of Bass' Lawn Care.

That thatch will prevent extra air and water from getting down to the roots, which is a bad thing when your grass lays dormant.

"A little bit longer is better this time of year. And then the first part of spring, take it all off.  Scalp it," said Bass. "Get that thatch off. Rake it up if you have to. Then it will be ready for spring."

While thatch is good, leaves are bad.

"Don't let the leaves sit there for six months and rot and stack up," said Bass. "Mold and everything else piles up under those leaves. Get it out of your flower beds. Get it away from the side of your house. Get it off of your property as quickly as you can, therefor you don't have a huge, nasty, wet mess come spring."

After taking care of things above the surface, you now need to take care of things below the surface with the roots.
 
"The first thing they need to decide is how they want to apply a winterizer type fertilizer," said Adam Jones, Vice President of Lawn Masters. "A winterizer type fertilizer is basically one that is high in potassium." 

Potassium is vital this time of year.

"In potassium, we find that it's going to strengthen the roots, prepare the soil and the turf for the harsh winter conditions. The winter freezes, and the cold temperatures," said Jones.

All fertilizers have three numbers on their label that indicate nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. The last of the three numbers tells you how much potassium your adding to the lawn.

According to Jones, in the fall, make sure that number is high while nitrogen stays low.

"Avoid nitrogen this time of year. It doesn't have much of a benefit to turf grass," said Jones. "More importantly is can cause problems with funguses this time of year."

And after it's on, don't forget to water it in.

"Get the granules off the blades of grass, that's not where they belong," said Jones. "They belong down on the soil level."

Then it's a waiting game. But at least you know you've tossed a couple of ounces of prevention on your grass.

"With winterization, you won't have any immediate results, because the lawn is going into dormancy," said Jones. "However next spring it will pay dividends in terms of a healthy lawn."
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