Winterize your lawn this season
Although winter on Oahu doesn’t blow in with blizzards and sub-zero temperatures, it brings fewer daylight hours, cooler weather, and rainier, windier conditions.
“All of that means that it’s a good idea to think about prepping your lawn for winter,” says Sean Fong, owner of Hawaiian Turfgrass in Mililani. “Even though we don’t have snow, there’s still enough seasonal change that lawns are affected by it.”
Island homeowners don’t need to take drastic mainland measures to winterize their lawns, Fong says, but a little preparation can help.
“If you take a few steps now, you can help ensure that your grass will come back green and healthy when winter is over,” he adds.
Here are Fong’s tips for winterizing island lawns:
“When your lawn isn’t growing, the last thing you want to do is give it more nitrogen,” Fong advises. Fertilize less, he suggests, and use a fertilizer with more potassium, which strengthens grass and builds its stress tolerance.
In the fall and winter, you only need to water about once every three days or so.
“That sort of schedule promotes more robust root growth in your grass, and makes it more water-efficient,” Fong says.
For a simple way to check and see if your lawn needs watering, just take a quick step onto the grass. If it springs back up when you step, it’s fine. If it stays flat, time to water!
It’s fine to continue mowing all winter long, according to Fong, but do make adjustments as conditions call for them.
“Continue raising the height of the cut if your lawn is shaded from sunlight,” he says.
MONITOR AND TREAT DISEASE IMMEDIATELY
If your lawn historically has issues with disease — if you’ve seen brown patches in the grass — you’ll want to monitor and employ fungicide applications. There are several common fungus types in Hawaii: brown patch, dollar spot, rust disease, leaf spot and fairy ring.
“It may be worth applying a broad-spectrum preventive fungicide in anticipation of the problem,” advises Fong.
STOP WEED INFESTATION BEFORE IT STARTS
Consider applying a preemergent herbicide before you notice weed infestation, or at the very first sign.
“Try to apply the pre-emergent before weeds germinate from seed,” Fong says. “That will stop the seeds from growing when it gets a little cooler; when they grow, it’s harder to eradicate them.”
Chosen for the second year in a row by the readers of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser as Hawaii’s Best Lawn Installation Company, Hawaiian Turfgrass has made it easier and quicker than ever to purchase a beautiful new lawn. Visit hawaiianturfgrass.com to place an order and arrange for pickup or curbside delivery. To schedule complete turnkey installation, call 808-371-0527; place your order (minimum 400 square feet) by Jan. 31 for a $500 installation discount.
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ADDRESS 94-840 Lanikuhana Ave., Mililani