How do I keep my lawn green in winter?

statenislandpalm7a(7a)January 16, 2010

this is the lawn now

this is summer ( I have no problems in the summer)

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It would help to have a few details.

Where are you?

What kind of grass do you have?

Do other lawns in your area also turn brown in the winter?

How often do you water and how much water do you apply when you water?

How often do you fertilize and with what? When do you fertilize? How much do you use (per 1000 sq ft)?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 4:13PM
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i am in staten island ny zone 7a.
I have regular sod overseeded for years with penkoted seed (mix of Kentucky Bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue and others)
Other lawns are different some stay nice dark green others turn completley yellow.mine stays in the middle. I fertilize 6 times a year with scotts 27-1-1.In the summer I water daily-every other day. I don't water or fertilize in the winter.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 5:04PM
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I think you can keep your lawn green through the winter. And you should be able to stop overseeding if you can improve your lawn's general health, too.

The first thing you need to do is stop watering so often. Watering daily promotes shallow roots and encourages weed seed germination. Try to work toward watering once a week and applying an inch of water when you water (measure using a tuna can).

Next, raise your mower deck as high as you can. Don't rake the grass clippings.

When you fertilize, you want to put down 1 lb of actual N per 1000 sq ft of grass with each application. I don't use the spreader settings. Instead, calculate how much fertilizer you need, put it in the spreader and spread until it's gone. If you have a 1000 sq ft lawn, you'd need about 3.7 lbs of 27-1-1 per application.

You shouldn't need to fertilize 6 times a year. 3-4 times should be enough. The most important one is the late fall application (and you're probably skipping this one). You do this one after the grass has stopped growing, but while it is still green. That's the one that will keep your grass green all winter. It's also the one that is most important for the health of your grass.

The other times should be earlier in the fall and twice in the spring. Don't fertilize in the summer unless you have really mild summers.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 2:40AM
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"Next, raise your mower deck as high as you can. Don't rake the grass clippings." I already do this I'll reduce the watering but when the weather hits 90-100 the grass starts to look wilted I have had no problem with weeds. when I fertilize in the summer I make sure to water immediately after

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 12:46PM
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The problem with fertilizing in the summer doesn't have anything to do with watering it in. It has to do with causing a flush of growth when the grass should be dormant or semi dormant. By fertilizing it, you're making it work too hard when it should be resting. You're also causing it to need more water.

Possible results will be that it will wilt faster and need more water. Also, the roots may contract and not fully recover during the fall, leading to a brown lawn in the winter.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 8:34PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

In the summer heat in San Antonio I water no more than weekly. You should be able to do that in NY. Of course it depends on your soil, humidity, and wind, but most people can do this. This program starts to break down at high altitude in sandy soil. The the high altitude deserts on the western slopes of the Rockies are troublesome.

If the grass wilts before a week is up then you need to water immediately but for a longer time. When I water I do it for 1-3 hours generally. Last summer after 2 years of drought I had to catch up. I watered for 7 hours two weeks in a row. That got me over the hump and I went back to 1-3 hours until the rain finally broke the drought.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 11:57PM
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rcnaylor(z7 Tex)

I second BP's advice. IMO a late fall (after the first hard freeze) of quick release Nitrogen, is the most important to keeping the grass greener all winter. If your Scott's has some slow release N in it, I'd switch to urea. The quick release is so it can get in to the roots and crown before the plant starts to shut down for the winter.

Some varieties are probably better than others at holding winter color, but to make the best of what you have (and likely be greener than most of your neighbors) use that late fall application of quick release nitrogen (at about a pound to a pound and quarter of effective nitrogen per thousand cubic feet).

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 2:42PM
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In addition to the fertilizer, what about a late season foliar iron treatment two or three weeks before the lawn topgrowth stops? This should get your grass nice and dark right before you stop mowing it.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 11:09AM
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rcnaylor is right on. A late Fall fast release nitrogen application will keep your grass green all Winter. It won't be the intense green of Spring, but it will be noticeably greener than your neighbors. This is the only synthetic fertilization I do. I just think this application is really important for the year round health of the lawn, so I do it.

In addition, your grass will really green up earlier in the Spring without the flush of top growth that occurs when you put down synthetic nitrogen in March.

This is the mistake most everybody makes and then they wonder what happened to their grass in July.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 4:50PM
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