Boost your lawns immunity during winter months
When we think of Florida, the thought of freezing temperatures doesn’t automatically come to mind. Occasionally though, during winter months, the weather does dip down and become cold enough to have a freeze happen. Portions of lawns may be damaged by bitter cold and need to be replaced. By preparing your lawn for this potential threat, you can minimize damage.
Here are a few tips to prepare your lawn for winter.
All warm season grasses slow down in growth during cooler winter months. Because of this, they may or may not stay as green. They may stay green or start to brown. Both are normal seasonal changes, much like the changing of the leaves up north.
Proper mowing, irrigation and fertilization can boost your lawns overall health helping it look great year round.
Fertilizers are composed of three main elements—nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. It is important to choose the right mix for the grass you have. If you aren’t sure what your grass needs, refer to EDIS publication, General Recommendations for Fertilization of Turfgrasses on Florida Soils.
In South Florida, you can apply fertilizer year round. It’s important to keep fertilizer where it belongs – on the grass. Keep fertilizer off of paved surfaces and out of water ways. It is recommended to leave a 10’ strip around all water as a buffer/run off zone.
Believe it or not, mowing on a regular scheduled basis helps to keep your lawn healthy.
- Mow at the highest recommended height for your grass species.
- Centipede grass: 2″
- St. Augustine grass: standard cultivars, 4″; semi dwarf cultivars, 2.5″
- Mowing too short can badly damage your grass, leaving it more prone to insects, weeds, disease, and drought.
- Leave grass clippings on the ground. These actually act as compost, returning valuable nutrients to the lawn.
- Sharpen your blade regularly. Tearing, rather than cutting, creates an unhealthy lawn.
- Do not mow when your lawn is wet. (It tears rather than clean cutting).
Everyone knows that plants, lawns include, need water to be healthy. Surprisingly, overwatering is the number one thing that damages lawns. When you water often, the roots don’t have to search for a water source. They remain very shallowly embedded in the soil. This makes the grass less hearty and able to withstand weather and the elements.
To know when to water, look for these signals from your lawn
- Leaf blades are folded rather than flat
- There is a slight blueish grey tinge to the blades
- Grass doesn’t spring back when you walk across it (foot prints remain visible)
- Water less frequently and for a longer period of time
- Do not water to the point of excess run off
- Water at sunrise
When your lawn is healthy, a cold snap is far less likely to do damage.
For expert advice on lawn care visit Shell Lumber and Hardware. Shell Lumber & Hardware can be reached by phone Monday-Friday: 7AM – 6PM and Saturday: 8AM – 5PM by calling 305-856-6401 locally or 800-621-6391 toll free. Or visit Shell Lumber & Hardware online at www.shelllumber.com. 2733 S.W. 27th Avenue Miami, Florida 33133