“Curb appeal” is more than just real estate jargon. One of the great joys of homeownership is taking pride in your residence’s appearance. Yet all your efforts to make your home the most attractive one on the block can be undone by an unkempt lawn.
As with other aspects of home maintenance, keeping your lawn in tip-top shape requires the right kind of attention for each season of the year. It’s not easy for Florida homeowners to know the best time to apply fertilizer or how much watering your lawn needs in hot summer months compared to our more temperate winters.
When you work with the pros at Nozzle Nolen, you will learn how to create a lawn care schedule that will keep your landscape lush and healthy. Here’s a look at how your lawn maintenance plan changes with the Florida seasons.
A Spring Lawn Care Schedule Sets the Tone for the Rest of the Year
As temperatures warm up in the spring, plants and turfgrass start to recover from the doldrums of winter and prepare for the hot Florida summer. This is the best season to begin new landscaping projects. It’s also the time to aerate your soil and confirm that it can hold a sufficient level of moisture. Here are a few basic tips to start with during Spring.
- Dethatching the soil by raking the grass repeatedly helps detangle the grass and keeps air circulating through the blades. This also helps prevent fungus, mildew, and plant pests from infesting your lawn.
- Aerating the soil by using a spike or plug aerator loosens up lawns and promotes air circulation in the soil.
- Soil that is packed too densely won’t drain well, which will inhibit your grass’s growth.
A springtime soil test will indicate whether it has a healthy pH balance (neither too acidic nor too alkaline). If the pH level is out of whack, a soil amendment can be applied, such as gardener’s lime to reduce acidity or fresh compost to reduce the alkaline level.
While most lawns in South Florida will require some fertilizer treatment throughout the year, fertilizing in springtime is crucial to your lawn’s year-round health. During these months, the soil is warming up just as the spring showers arrive, both of which promote the budding of grass and plants. Spring is also the best time to apply pre-emergent herbicides to prevent weeds from germinating.
Protect Your Lawn from Summer’s Heat and Rain
The turfgrass in Southern Florida, such as St. Augustine, Bermuda, Zoysia, Bahia, and Centipede, shifts into high-growth mode as summer’s high temperatures arrive. Fertilizing in the summer needs to be limited due to the heat, so it’s best to use only secondary and micronutrients at this time of year. Ensure the grass is dry and no rain is in the forecast before applying fertilizer.
Florida summers typically are the rainiest times of the year, but recent years have seen drought conditions at times in much of the state. Even without water-use restrictions, it’s a good idea to conserve water by implementing an effective irrigation system and watering schedule. Depending on how much summer rain falls, your lawn may not need much or any supplemental watering. Here are three ways to tell whether your lawn is too dry:
- Brown spots or other dry areas appear.
- Leaf blades begin to fold.
- Footprints remain visible on the lawn after you walk on it.
Insects and diseases are more likely to plague your lawn in hot summer temperatures. Telltale signs include spots and discoloration, predominantly yellow or brown patches in shady areas of the lawn, which don’t dry out as quickly as sunny areas. It’s also essential to adjust your mowing height in summer to avoid cutting the grass too low.
Get a Jump on Pest Control in the Fall
Autumn marks the end of the rainy season and a break from the summer heat as temperatures drop below 90 degrees. Your lawn will likely need less mowing but more watering to ensure it receives about one inch of water each week. Fall is also an excellent time to aerate the soil and keep it loose to promote plenty of water, oxygen, and nutrients getting to the roots of grass and plants.
It’s important to find the right blend of fertilizers to deliver the nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other nutrients your grass needs. The combination of soil loosening and fertilizer application prepares your lawn for the return of heavy rains the following spring. If your lawn developed bare patches or large brown spots over the summer, fall is the time to spread seed and resod.
Often weeds, insects, and other pests flourish in the summer along with your grass and landscaping. In the fall many weeds are more absorbent and insects become more dormant. This makes them both easier to eradicate and lowers the chances of weeds and insects overwhelming your lawn in the spring.
Keep Your Lawn Healthy During Dormant Winter Months
South Florida lawns typically need some fertilizer application year-round because it stays warm enough for the grass to continue to grow, although at a much slower rate. It’s also a good idea to keep the lawn height high in the winter. If the grass is too short, it can cause stress, making the lawn vulnerable to diseases and insects.
Most lawns in South Florida need much less water in the winter, even though they continue to grow. Overwatering your lawn can lead to standing water that attracts fungi and diseases. It also keeps your lawn from developing the deep roots that allow your grass to grow stronger and healthier each year.
Getting Started With Nozzle Nolen
Keeping tabs on the amount and type of care your lawn needs as the seasons change requires a careful balancing act to determine the best approach for your unique situation. The professionals at Nozzle Nolen put their 70+ years of experience to work creating a lawn care schedule that is tailored to your lawn’s needs.
Nozzle Nolen takes great pride in beautifying lawns and properties in South Florida and will continue to do so for years to come. Call us at 800-226-6536 or Contact Us to schedule your free lawn evaluation and find out how the Super Turf Plus program will keep your lawn healthy and thriving all year round.