East Texas Lawns and Lawn Maintenance
By Joan Whetzel
March is one of the busiest gardening months for East Texas. Though it is possible to get an overnight freeze up until mid-March, for the most part, Spring is in full swing. A major part of gardening involves lawn care.
To Fertilize or Not to Fertilize
One decision every home owner in Houston and East Texas must decide is whether to fertilize. If they decide to fertilize, it’s better for homeowners to wait until April (for St. Augustine and Bermuda grass) or May (for Centipede grass) when the growth pattern becomes most active. Pushing the grass too soon could weaken the root system as we head into summer.
March is the perfect time to begin regular mowing and edging, though as well as weekly watering if the weather has been low on rain. Just make sure the lawnmower blade is set high so that the lawn is not scalped until it’s certain that there will be no more freezing spells. For those who missed the application of weed prevention in February, then it’s a good idea to do it now.
When to Water
East Texas tends to get a lot of rain because we live along the Gulf Coast. So as a general rule, we get enough rain to keep our lawns growing without the need for frequent watering. We do go through our dry spells, so setting out a sprinkler from time to time picks up the slack. A lot of homeowners in the Houston area and East Texas have installed sprinkler systems which they put on a timer. The temptation is to let the sprinkler system run itself, whether the lawn needs watering or not. I've seen sprinkler systems running on days when it's raining.
I've also had one lawn maintenance guy tell me that it's not a good idea to water the lawn everyday because
- the water in that's piped in has been treated so that it's safe to drink, but the chemicals used to treat the water are not good for the lawn if it's used all the time.
- watering the lawn during the day allows the water drop to sit on the grass blades. These water drops magnify the sunlight and can cause the grass to become burned.
- too much water is as bad as too little. In fact, too much water can lead to a major decrease in soil nutrients and to a growth of mold on the grass.
For those with a sprinkler, it has sometimes been recommended that homeowners take them off the timer and only turn on the sprinkler occasionally, if the lawn has not received rain lately. Rain is better than water from the utility company when it comes to lawn anyway.
Hanson, Keith C. East Texas Gardening. "March Gardening Guidelines.