PLAIN GARDENING: A Lawn in Winter

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You may have heard of the play “A Lion in Winter”, well, today’s Plain Gardening episode is “A Lawn in Winter”, starring gardening expert Bill Finch! Bill says just a little effort in winter will pay big dividends for your yard this spring.
Among the things to look for are brown patch. It’s a brown patch, sure enough, that’s sometimes called greyspot. It’s a leaf disease that develops over winter. Since it’s a leaf disease, it doesn’t affect the grass roots. So, what to do about it? Nothing. It may stay brown into summer, but the grass should come back…especially if it’s some sturdy St. Augustine.
There are lots of other things that show up clearly in a winter lawn. Lots of weeds, like tradescantia-also called spiderwort-flourish in colder weather. Bill says these weeds drive people crazy in spring, but herbicides and weed-pulling are unnecessary if you mow a couple of times during the winter. Many spring weeds need a long winter to develop and get a foothold; since they don’t have much of a root system, the leaves are doing most of the work of keeping these weeds alive. If you cut the leaves now, you won’t have much in the way of weed roots when spring comes. Those winter weeds will then die off quickly when the warm weather arrives.
Learn more by calling Bill’s radio show on 106.5FM on Sunday mornings, email plaingardening@yahoo.com , or sign up for one of Bill’s Gulf Coast gardening classes that start January 13th at Mobile Botanical Gardens. The signup sheet is at mobilebotanicalgardens.org.

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