Skip to main content
Winter Kill 2014 of Warm Season Lawns

Winter Kill 2014 of Warm Season Lawns

"If there were a year for winter kill, after the cold conditions this past winter and early spring, this would be the year for it." -Clint Waltz, UGA Extension Turf Specialist

Super-Sod's Observations on Winter Kill 2014 of Warm Season Lawns:
  • This is the worst Winter Kill we have seen on St. Augustine and Centipede in 40 years. St. Augustine and Centipede will recover, but it might take the entire growing season. There will be recovery as long as there are live sprigs every 2 to 3 feet.
  • Bermuda should recover. Note: TifGrand fared much better than Tifway.
  • Some Zoysias were hurt, but Zenith really did show out and did exceptionally well this winter.


What Happened?

  • Winter Kill 2014 was most likely due to a combination of cold + wet/ice/snow, not just low temps.
  • North facing slopes and poorly drained areas had the worst damage. South facing slopes and areas in full sun where the sun melted the ice/snow, fared better.
  • Spring temps have been very cool warm season grasses have not really started growing until recently. Warm season lawns are very behind schedule this year.


Remediation Steps:

1. Control weeds.

2. Remove dead material so sunlight can penetrate the soil and warm it. These damaged warm season grasses will resume vigorous growth as soil temps rise.

3. Compost-topdress with Soil3 to provide nutrients + mycorrhizae (beneficial bacteria). This will promote growth and help the damaged areas fill in faster.

4. Adequate water will promote growth, so be sure to irrigate during dry spells.

5. Let it grow. If there are no major weed problems, temporarily raise the mowing height so the grass has a chance to flush out. We have looked at many damaged lawns and they are being mowed extremely low, not allowing the grass to grow.

6. Another reason NOT to apply pre-emergent or "weed and feed" at this time: It's too late for pre-emergent/"weed and feed" control to work on weeds and the products may effect the ability of the grass to regrow. Read our Spring & Summer Weed Control tips for more info on why it's too late to use pre-emergent herbicides anyway.

7. Don't "sand" your lawn. In some areas sanding is a popular practice, but it doesn't actually promote lawn growth and, in fact, it messes up the soil profile by reducing water holding capacity.

8. Correct poorly drained areas to protect your lawn from damage in future winters.


Want to learn more? Follow these links:

Topics: damaged lawn, dead lawn, Uncategorized, what happened to my lawn, winter kill

Share or Print