The historic winter storm of 2021 left a lasting impression on our beautiful Texas landscape well through spring and summer. We experienced a record-breaking 144 consecutive hours below freezing! Going into the spring planting season, experts weren’t sure what to expect until the plants came out of dormancy. The expected damage to turf and landscape became a reality as we inspected our property and the effects of the damage emerged. Some of the devastation included dead turf and frost/freeze cracks, and splitting in the trees.
The good news for homeowners is that we had a good blanket of snow on the ground before the temperatures dropped dramatically. That blanket of snow created an insulation barrier to help keep heat in the soil. Mulched beds and trees, as well as top-dressed lawns from the previous fall, had also received significant insulation. They also create heat during their decomposition.
The Lawn Recovery Process
Lawn care experts advised Texans to have a lot of patience in the spring months as delayed recovery and green-up would occur. Texans take pride in our landscapes, and we have a sense of accomplishment when our yards stay soft and green, even during the hot summer months.
Hopefully, you started the recovery process in the spring, and you are well on your way to a beautifully restored lawn. As the summer season continues to warm up, you will want to take special care to keep the healing momentum going. If this year doesn’t bring full restoration, follow the steps again next year and watch your lawn recover nicely.
- Patience is required! Try not to walk on your lawn, if possible. The turf grass is too delicate and needs time to become stronger. Walking around on your lawn more than necessary is like rubbing salt on a fresh wound. Allow adequate time for the new life to break through the soil and replenish the dead patches.
- Aerate your soil. Aeration oxygenates the soil, promoting growth and recovery. You can use a product, such as Liquid Air8, to aerate the entire lawn, not just the areas that were punched for core aeration.
- Get an irrigation audit. Before turning on your irrigation system, check to make sure there are no cracks or leaks. It’s important to use a licensed irrigator because much of the damage is underground, where you may not be able to find it on your own. Underground leaks can cost you a significant amount of money and are a waste of our valuable resources.
- Top-dress or compost your lawn. This greatly improves the overall soil health and quality, adds nutrients and microbial activity, and speeds the recovery process.
Texas Summer Lawn Care Tips
Summer in Texas is hot and dry, making it challenging to keep our landscaping lush and thriving. These tips and a little TLC should keep your lawn looking its best!
Fertilize your lawn year-round.
Your lawn needs ongoing nutrition. Consistent, year-round fertilization prevents regression. If you haven’t started yet, it’s not too late to start. Don’t take a winter break in fertilization, either. Your consistency will pay off come spring season!
Pre-treat Texas summer weeds before they grow.
Re-emergent weed control is a treatment applied to your lawn before the weeds are visible. This helps prevent weeds, particularly crabgrass, from reaching the soil line. Proactive weed management is best. However, it’s not the only solution. Post-emergent weed control works together with pre-emergent as a complete lawn care system to keep your weeds to a minimum.
Follow these best practices for lawn mowing.
Your lawn may not need to be mowed as often during the hot, dry season of summer. It may be tempting to keep your grass cut extra short. However, that runs the risk of your grass getting damaged by the harsh summer dry weather. After you mow, remove the grass clippings rather than leave them on your lawn. The clippings can suffocate the healthy grass, preventing nutrients, sun, and oxygen from reaching it.
Water your lawn year-round.
As with fertilization, consistent, year-round watering maintains healthy soil and turf. Water your lawn once per week in the winter, then increase it to two to three times per week in warm weather months. Be careful not to overwater, though, as this can trigger lawn diseases. The best time of day to water your lawn is early morning so that whatever moisture is not absorbed by the soil is evaporated by the sun. If water sits on your lawn overnight, it can cause fungal lawn disease.
Manage lawn diseases before they become a serious problem.
If you see thin, matted turf or brown spots, it’s very likely signs of lawn disease. Treat them early for your best chance at recovering your lawn.
Watch for Texas summer lawn pests.
Bermuda grass mites, grubs, and chinch bugs are the most common problem pests for Texas lawns. Monitor your lawn for any changes and have a professional inspect the property to provide the best course of treatment.
Aerate and seed your lawn annually.
Aeration pulls up soil plugs and loosens compacted soil, allowing soil roots the space to grow. Aeration also helps your lawn receive fertilization treatment better. Combined with over seeding, this will revitalize your lawn. This combination addresses the grass roots and soil, which will allow your lawn to reach its full potential.
There are many plants you can grow that will survive a Texas summer and provide a colorful landscape. How did your lawn make out during the winter freeze of 2021?