Someone asked my opinion about fertilizing warm-season lawns now. My response is simply don’t do it! The one exception is if you have overseeded the lawn with a cool season species such as perennial ryegrass and the cool season grass needs a boost. Warm-season turf species are now dormant. The only plants in the lawn benefiting from fertilization at this time will be the winter weeds present and we do not want to encourage rampant growth and seed production of these. Warm-season turf species will not benefit from fertilization until they are actively growing.
Applying lime to raise the soil pH (acidity) is a different matter however. If you have taken a soil sample and found that lime is recommended, then by all means get it out any time during the year. Lime will improve the soil acidity and make nutrients more available when needed as it generally takes months for lime to react and dramatically change the soil pH.
With the blast of cold weather this week any warm season turf should be about as dormant as it will get so if you plan to use a nonselective herbicide such as glyphosate over your lawn this winter now would be the window of opportunity. Read the label.
Published January 17, 2005
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. email@example.com