How to Put Your Southern Garden and Lawn to Bed for the Winter

Monday, November 29, 2021

Most southern states, such as Florida and Texas, have different climates between their most southern tips and northern borders. We’re going to focus on warm season lawns in more temperate areas where you may need to do some light lawn care.

We’re also going to talk about putting your garden to bed for the winter.

How should you care for your warm season lawn before winter? In this article, we give you tips on

  • Mowing
  • Fertilization and weed control
  • Yard cleanups and filling in spots with no grass
  • Watering your warm season lawn.
Florida Grasses

Tuck Your Southern Garden to Bed for the Winter

Now’s the time to clean out your garden beds for the season. If you plant vegetables that flourish in cooler temperatures, such as broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, and kale, you’ll be leaving them alone.

But if you’re done gardening for the season, you want to complete these five jobs to put your garden to bed:

  1. Rake out all leaves. You don’t want to harbor any diseases or insects nesting under the leaves over the winter.
  2. Collect vegetable and flower seeds to use for the next growing season.
  3. Add compost or manure to your garden. This will give the soil some added nutrients that will soak in over the winter.
  4. Pull out all weeds. Get a head start with spring planting by removing weeds now while the ground is soft.
  5. Put down a layer of mulch after the ground freezes. Mulch will protect the soil and any perennials, such as herbs, over the winter. And when the ground thaws in early spring, the mulch will break down, giving the soil extra nutrients.

How Often Do You Need to Mow Your Southern Lawn in the Winter?

If you live in a temperate area, your lawn care goal should be to let your turfgrass rest over the wintertime.

You should mow down to 2” since warm season lawns with Bermudagrass, Centipedegrass, and Zoysiagrass go dormant. The crowns and roots are still alive, but they don’t need regular cutting.

Conversely, you may have tall fescue growing in parts of your southern lawn. Since tall fescue is a cool season grass, it will continue to grow until there is a freeze.

Also, if you’re planting ryegrass to keep your lawn green throughout winter, you may still need to mow because ryegrass is a cool season grass that thrives in colder temperatures above freezing.

Watch more: How to Design an Irrigation System

Keep your mower blades sharp, so you cleanly cut the turf. Any jagged edges or wounding will lead to turf diseases and insects.

Continue with Regular Yard Cleanups and Overseed Thin Areas

If you have bald spots on your warm season lawn, plant grass seed in those areas to prevent weeds from taking over the space.

Avoid heavy raking, which damages the turfgrass crowns. Instead, gently clean up the area around the bare patch. Then, apply seed and water it for a week to get the turf established.

Also, plan on regularly cleaning up your property throughout the winter. Pine cones, twigs, and leaves will suffocate the turfgrass underneath it, leading to fungal diseases. Your turfgrass still needs to take in light, water, and oxygen, and it can’t do it if it’s hidden under a blanket of leaves.

Give Your Warm Season Lawn a Rest from Fertilizer, But Not from Weed Control

In the winter, your warm season lawn is still alive underground, but it doesn’t need any nitrogen again until late winter or early spring. Plus, any lawn fertilizer you would use creates new growth, which would cause damage to your warm season turf.

You still want to put down pre-emergent weed control to prevent Carolina geranium, burweed, henbit, and other annual winter weeds from popping up.

Suppose you already applied weed control to your yard back in September and October. In that case, you want to put down a second dose in December to prevent these weeds from germinating in January or February.

However, if you have tall fescue or other fescue types growing in your Southern yard, you’ll need to apply winterizer only to those cool season grasses. Winter fertilizer helps cool season lawns survive the winter chill and green up quickly in early spring.

Read more: 7 Reasons Why a New Lawn Sprinkler Is a Great Gift for Christmas or Hanukah

How Much Water Does Your Warm Season Lawn Need in the Winter?

If you have an outdoor irrigation system, you should reset the watering schedule from every three to four days down to once a week. If you plant ryegrass, schedule your outdoor sprinkler system to water twice daily for the first week only.

Then, set your lawn sprinkler system to watering only once a week. You don’t need to water as much during the winter because the ground won’t dry out quickly as it does during the summer. Plus, your warm season grass has gone dormant, so it doesn’t need regular watering.

If your nights go below freezing regularly, you’ll need to close out your lawn sprinkler system for the season. You can learn more about winterizing your outdoor irrigation system here.

If you prefer to hire someone to close your irrigation system over the winter, you can find an irrigation contractor near you.

Why K-Rain Sprinkler Systems Are the Best Choice for Your Warm Season Lawn and Garden

As you know, the summertime sun brings on oppressive heat, heavy humidity, and drought. Keep your warm season lawn and garden healthy during the heat and drought with a K-Rain sprinkler system and driplines.

At K-Rain, we’re experts in all things irrigation and have been improving our line of sprinkler systems by adding cutting-edge technology so you can control your system with an app on your mobile device. Learn more about our irrigation products on our website.

You can also buy your K-Rain sprinkler system parts at our online store or your favorite big-box retailer. If you have any questions about your K-Rain outdoor lawn sprinkler, call our customer service at 800-735-7246 or fill out our contact form.

Sources:, All You Need to Know about Winter Lawn Care in Texas., Winterize Your Lawn in Texas., 5 Ways to Put Your Garden to Bed for Winter., Let It Rest: Here’s How to put Your Lawn to Bed for Fall and Winter.