Winter is still upon us and there isn’t too much to do with our lawns during these cold months. However, Marylanders should keep an eye on their grass and take note of how the weather is affecting it. Watch for signs of dormancy. In 2023, we’ve been having a very mild winter. This means many cool-season grasses have not gone dormant as normal during this time of year. When the weather behaves strangely, it can have unexpected effects on your cool-season grasses.
Even though it’s been a mild, wet winter, the rule of limited foot traffic remains in effect during the month of February. The grass is under a fair amount of stress during the winter months, so it’s important to let it rest and keep actual pressure off of it until the weather warms up and the grass is able to begin waking up, soaking in nutrients, and filling out. You’ll be able to begin a few yard chores in March, so hang in there!
If you’ve been putting it off, it’s getting close to the time when you should be thinking about lawnmower maintenance. Sharpening the blades, checking the tank, and making sure there’s no damage or broken parts that need to be repaired or replaced. If you have other yard tools such as a weed whacker and even gardening shears and other tools, now is a good time to do some maintenance on those as well to get them ready for the upcoming spring season. The weather will warm up before you know it, so get those tools prepped and ready. Once spring hits, you’ll be able to grab what you need and get right to work.
Maryland Fertilizer Law
Don’t forget that the Maryland Fertilizer Law remains in effect until March 1st. So, for the remainder of February, be sure to remember these rules:
- Lawn fertilizer cannot be applied to lawns from Nov. 15th through March 1st.
- Any fertilizer used must have a phosphorous content of 0 unless a soil test determines that phosphorous is necessary.
- Each application of fertilizer is not to exceed 0.9 pounds of total nitrogen per 1,000 square feet and 0.7 pounds of soluble nitrogen per 1,000 square feet
- It is illegal to apply fertilizer to sidewalks, driveways, or paved surfaces. This includes using fertilizer for de-icing.
This law has been put in place and shaped by a desire to keep excess nutrients out of Chesapeake Bay. Its important that we keep our waterways clean, and this is one of the important steps Maryland has taken to achieve that goal.
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