This picture is a Bermuda grass lawn in Opelika, AL entering dormancy. Each year, as the temperatures drop, this is what happens to most warm season grasses when exposed to freezing temperatures. They take on this almost camouflage-look to them.
Except for parts of Florida, most warm season grasses enter into a dormant state during the winter. They will turn brown and do not green-up until next spring through early summer. Even though the grass turns brown, there are still broadleaf weeds and annual grasses that continue growing throughout the winter dormant period.
Types of Winter Annual Weeds
The broadleaf weeds are classified into annuals and perennials. They can also be broken down into winter germinating and summer germinating weeds. Winter weeds germinate in the fall/winter, grow throughout that period and then die when the warm weather returns the following year.
These plants will produce flowers and seeds during that time, which will then germinate again next year. That is why applying a weed control application or two during the dormant-turf period will help to eliminate these weeds from your lawn.
Most broadleaf weed control products will take care of the majority of the winter annual weeds like Henbit, Large Hop Clover Poa Annua and Chickweed.
One good thing about warm-season grasses turning brown in the winter is that weed control applications from Spring-Green can be used on grassy weeds like annual bluegrass and Dallisgrass. The grass you wish to control are often still green and growing while the desired grasses are dormant.
Controlling Winter Annual Weeds
Now is a good time to apply a pre-emergent weed control product to prevent many annual grasses from germinating. As the name implies, these products will control these problem weeds, like crabgrass, from germinating in the spring. Once the pre-emergent application is completed, it’s important to water the lawn at least half an inch to ensure it reaches the grass root growth, especially of there is no rain in the forecast.
Even though your yard may be brown during the winter, keep in mind this is completely normal during this time. There are a few tasks that you can still do to have a more weed-free lawn next year. If you have questions on winter annual weeds or lawn maintenance, contact your neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green.