Keys to a Healthy Lawn
Grass tends to grow and flourish year-round in South Florida. This is due to the high temperatures, artificial irrigation and rainfall in our sub-tropical climate. Commonly found grasses are: Bahia, Bermuda, Centipede, St. Augustine and Zoysia.
The correct amount of water is critical to the health and appearance of turf grass. Your irrigation program must mesh with our natural rain occurrence. The best way to determine when to water is “let your lawn tell you”. When your grass begins to wilt, have a blue-gray appearance or blades of grass fold lengthwise, it is now time to water.
Here are some irrigation tips:
- Apply enough water to penetrate to the bottom of the root zone. (Normally 1 inch)
- Water should be applied during the early morning hours.
- Generally, irrigate 2 – 3 times per week. Less, if rain has occurred.
There are a wide variety of fungal disease pathogens in the soil at any given time. They can be divided into two groups, cool weather and warm weather. Their common factor is that they develop in conditions of excessive moisture. Fungicides can be applied to help control out breaks of these diseases, but proper irrigation is critical.
Turf responds best in full sunlight conditions. As the shade increases, turf thickness and vigor decrease. There are varieties of turf which are shade tolerant, but only to a point. In many cases of partial shade, turf decline is not as a result of too little sunlight, rather too much moisture in these areas. Limiting water and adding sand in these areas, as well as correct pruning of landscape shrubs and trees allowing more light penetration, will greatly enhance the turf in these areas.
Weeds are simply defined as: “plants out of place”. There are many types of turf grass weeds which can be divided in sedge, broadleaf and grassy weeds. Specific herbicides must be applied to particular weeds to provide effective control. “Weed & Feed” products provide very limited control in South Florida. Weed problems are most often a symptom of poor turf care programs. Turf that is cut too low, infrequent, over or under watered or had disease / insect damage, account for most weed problems.
Our sub-tropical climate supports a wide variety of insects ranging from ants to scorpions. The most common and damaging turf insects are chinch bugs, sod webworms and grubs. Insecticides should be limited in application, only in response of active infestations. The selection of which insecticide to be applied, should be based upon the insect present, as well as environmental and homeowner health concerns.
South Florida’s sandy soils are low in fertility. High rainfall and irrigation leach many nutrients, such as: nitrogen and potassium from the soil. Minor elements such as: magnesium and iron although present, are unavailable due to the high alkalinity of our soil. A bag of fertilizer can consist of many elements and at a wide range of percentages. Choosing the correct fertilizer at the proper time of year is more difficult than picking up the first bag of fertilizer that you see in the hardware store. Understanding what is in the bag and what amount is vital to proper application.
PEST FREE can help maintain or develop your lawn. A healthy, green lush lawn is no accident. It requires a balanced program. We can provide you with insect, disease, weed and fertilization programs, as well as recommendations about irrigation and cutting. Let our staff provide you with Tree & Landscape Care “TLC”.