Caring For Your Central Florida Lawn
With its intense heat idling at an average of 83 degrees and direct sunshine throughout the year, its crucial to keep your lawn and landscaping thriving. You want to ensure your grass is green and healthy and able to stave off unsightly and damaging pests, weeds and disease, and to maintain your homes overall visual appeal.
Here are some Central Florida lawn care tips to keep in mind throughout the year:
Tips On Calculating Fertilizer & Irrigation
To determine the amount of fertilizer product required to apply 0.5 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet, divide 0.5 by the first number in the fertilizer ratio.
For example, for a 20-5-5 fertilizer , divide 0.5 by 0.20 .
The result is 2.5 pounds of product per thousand square feet.
To determine the quantity of water supplied by a sprinkler system, place several straight-sided cans in each irrigated zone. Run the zone and record the amount of time required to fill the cans to a level of 1/2- or 3/4-inches.
Each zone will most likely vary in the amount of time required to produce the same quantity of water.
Now program into the irrigation controller the time needed to produce the required irrigation rates to make the sprinkler system automated.
Milorganite 0636 Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer
- Unlike most other slow-release fertilizers, youll start seeing results after about two weeks of application.
- It contains iron that helps grow a lush green, thick St. Augustine grass.
- Being a slow-release Nitrogen fertilizer, it wont burn your lawn.
The reason why Milogranite organic nitrogen fertilizer is great for St. Augustine lawns is its slow release nature. If youve tried another lawn feed before and ended up burning your lawn, I would recommend this particular product.
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How To Apply Fertilizer
Slow-release granular: Spread around the base of a plant or tree AT THE DRIP LINE . This places the fertilizer at the area of feeder roots, and keeps it from burning surface roots.
Water in lightly to keep the granules in place. When fertilizing citrus, water the area under the tree first so surface roots don’t get burned.
Controlled-release: Apply near the base of the plant and then water it in lightly.
Liquid: Water well and give your plants at least an hour to absorb the water. Then apply liquid as a leaf spray or as a small drench around the plant’s base.
Fertilize Grass And Soil Accordingly
Because most sod grasses require N-nitrogen, P-phosphorus, and K-potassium, fertilizer products label the concentration of these three vital macronutrients according to their percentages. The bag usually offers a chart on how much to use per lawn size. Keep in mind that the first number is for nitrogen, the second for phosphorus, and the third for potassium. Thus, a bag might say it has a 15-0-15 mix, meaning 15 percent nitrogen, no phosphorus, and 15 percent potassium. The rest of the product usually comprises a variety of micronutrients and/or inert materials that bind the top three macronutrients for easy distribution. No matter your lawn type, the best formulas use slow-release nitrogen to avoid sudden bursts of growth and to allow the nitrogen to work consistently over the course of a season.
Specific cultivars require a range of nitrogen, about half the nitrogen amount of potassium, and often little or no phosphorus as typical Florida soils have plenty of it naturally. Generally speaking, your cultivar needs nitrogen in the following ranges with the higher numbers going to southern Florida lawns that may never go dormant in winter:
- St. Augustine: 2 6
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Type Of Central Florida Grass
Many types of grass grow in Florida. You can find both cold weather and warm weather grasses all over the state. The species of grass on your lawn determine mowing height, growing season, and landscaping plan.
The most common types of grass are zoysia grass, St. Augustine grass, and Bahia grass. Each variety comes with a unique set of fertilization needs. If you are unsure which type or types of grasses are present on your lawn, contact an expert to help.
Spring: March Through May
Mowing is all about a routine, like much else in life. Begina routine mowing program as soon as the grass begins to turn green in thespring. You dont want to remove any more than a third of the leaf areawith any one mowing. This usually implies a Set the mowing height of two and ahalf to three inches, adding a half inch for shady areas if you have a professionallawn mowing service then theyll know what to do.
Frequent mowing at a lower height produces higher qualityturfgrass. You dont need to worry about bagging the grass clippings, as theyquickly decompose which can return important nutrients back to the soil.Otherwise, you can use clippings for compose elsewhere.
Fertilizing is a critical step to keep your lawn looking itsbest. Youll want to start fertilizing about three weeks after the grass turnsgreen, basically when theres no further chance of a late frost. Apply one poundof soluble nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn every eight weeks, or elevenand a half pounds of slow-release nitrogen every ten weeks.
Youll definitely want to have your soil tested to determinewhat added nutrients your lawn may need. For information on soil testingprocedures, contact your lawn professional. Youll likely need a completefertilizer with a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Followthese steps to determine how long to water to apply the right amount.
2. Turn on the sprinklers or irrigation system for 30minutes.
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Can I Fertilize My Lawn Every 2 Weeks
Applying a fertilizer every two weeks isnt recommended as this will likely lead to problems such as lawn burn, excessive grass growth, and pollution to waterways.
A natural way of feeding your lawn every two weeks would be to leave the grass clippings on the lawn surface when mowing your grass. The grass clippings contain low nutrient levels that will slowly be absorbed by the soil as they naturally decompose and get eaten by earthworms. These wont burn the lawn or cause excessive growth. You might have to scarify your lawn more often due to this additional organic material being present, however, its recommended that you should do this every late summer or early fall/autumn anyway.
Most synthetic fertilizers are not recommended to be applied every 2 weeks, due to their night nutrient content.
For U.S. based gardeners, we have found that Extreme Grass Growth Booster *, is the only popular lawn feed on the market that can be applied once every 4 weeks to a lawn.
For U.K. gardeners, we have found that Empathy Supreme Green* , is the only popular fertilizer on the market that can be applied once every 4 weeks to a lawn.
*Make sure to follow the instructions on the packet to ensure application frequency before spreading this on your grass.
The recommended frequencies of fertilizer application can be found in the tables further down in this article.
How High To Cut St Augustine Grass In Florida
St. Augustine thrives best when cut to 34 inches in height. This allows St. Augustine to become a thick, weed-preventing ground cover. St. Augustine grass cut too short will look sparse and leave exposed soil where weeds can take root.
- When St. Augustine is green and growing, mow grass to 34 inches in height.
- Mow higher if you are battling weeds. Longer grass will shade weeds and crowd them out.
- Never mow dormant St. Augustine. This can damage or kill the grass.
In North Florida, where St. Augustine enters winter dormancy, do not mow in winter. Once the grass greens up, mow at a height of 2.5 inches through April. This will help get rid of dead growth. In May, raise mowing height to 34 inches and continue to mow at this height until grass goes dormant in winter.
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When Is The Best Time To Fertilize Your Lawn In Northwest Florida
The first fertilization should take place in mid-April, with another two applications in the summer and early fall, the last one no later than mid-September. This fertilization season provides the needed nutrients during the active grass growth phase.
In the Florida panhandle, grasses tend to be dormant in the winter months. In colder weather, the grass isnt able to take in as much nutrients, so its advised to avoid applying nitrogen fertilizers in colder climates.
If you are expecting heavy rain consider waiting to fertilize until it passes. You want to make sure the fertilizer doesnt get washed away and has a chance to soak into the soil and root systems.
If youve just planted new turfgrass, its recommended to wait 60 to 90 days before using nitrogen fertilizer. Younger roots arent deep enough to absorb the nutrients, and the soil from the sod farm may already have fertilizer or extra nutrients in place.
Using too much or too little fertilizer can be just as hurtful to your lawn as not using any at all. This can be an extensive process. You should always contact a professional lawn care company to help with fertilizing your lawn.
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St Augustine Growing Seasons
Balanced nutrition is at the core of a healthy lawn. Throughout the year, grass goes through stages of growth where it has different nutrient requirements.
St. Augustine breaks dormancy in mid-spring. During this greening-up period, the nutrient requirements are fairly low. Fertilizing during this time will encourage weak, unsustainable growth, which is a prime target for cooler-weather diseases like brown patch fungus.
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St. Augustine takes off during the summer. Warm, humid environments are the perfect growing climate for St. Augustine. After youve mowed a few times, the lawn will be triggered to grow deeper roots and to send out runners to fill in bare patches of soil. This is the time to begin fertilizing.
During warm weather, when St. Augustine is actively growing, it needs a consistent supply of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to grow deeper root systems, send out runners, and maintain new leaf growth. Consistent, vigorous growth helps the lawn resist pests and disease, and also helps it cope with potential drought conditions.
St. Augustine goes dormant once the soil reaches 550. As the lawn prepares for winter, nutrient requirements lessen. Fertilizing during this time will encourage weak, unsustainable growth that will be susceptible to disease.
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What Should I Put On My Lawn In Early Spring
Plants With Special Fertilizing Needs
For palms that appear yellowish, use manganese and magnesium palm supplements to green them up.
Orange bird of paradise often needs extra plant fertilization to begin flowering.
Supplement granular fertilizers with the regimen of liquid described above.
To keep bougainvillea flowering as much as possible, cut it back a bit after each bloom cycle and apply bloom-boosting fertilizer.
Container plants benefit from controlled-release and/or liquid fertilizers.
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How Often Should I Fertilize My Lawn
Adding fertilizer to your lawn is one of the main ways to ensure that your grass is as healthy as possible. Throughout each growing season, your grass will slowly deplete its nutrient levels and these should be replenished manually. The trick in performing this task is to know how often you should fertilize your lawn.
Knowing how regularly to apply fertilizer to your lawn depends on the time of year. During late spring and early summer, your lawn will need to fertilize your lawn more frequently than during the late summer and early fall/autumn. This is because your lawn is more active during the spring and early summer and will be able to withstand more frequent applications of feed.
The rate of grass growth will slow during the late summer and early fall/autumn so, therefore, the lawn will require fewer nutrients.
This article contains two tables, one for U.S. gardeners and the other for U.K. gardeners, that list the most popular fertilizers. The tables refer to fertilizers that are designed to be applied at different times of the year.
When Should I Fertilize My Florida Lawn
Theres nothing better than looking at the beautiful green color of a well-landscaped lawn and admiring the effect it has on your property. However, maintaining a picturesque Florida lawn is complicated!
The best part about living in Florida is the year-round sunshine. Instead of dealing with months of frigid temperatures and frost, Floridians only experience a few weeks of cold weather each year.
The beautiful climate means a longer growing season. This poses an interesting question for homeowners: when, precisely, should you fertilize your Florida lawn?
The majority of the country has the luxury of following an everyday spring lawn care routine because they can easily predict when the weather will change.
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Types Of Grass Grown In Florida
The most common lawn grasses cultivated in Florida are St. Augustine and varieties of Bahia. Bahia grass is the most drought-tolerant and should be cultivated in regions subject to dry spells. St. Augustine is known for its salt tolerance, doing well in coastal areas. The denser soils of northern Florida support centipede grass, which spreads like St. Augustine. Bermuda and zoysia grasses are similar to the fine-bladed examples seen in northern areas of the United States.
Can You Fertilize Your Lawn Too Much
Its very easy to fertilize your lawn too much. Fertilizing your lawn with too much fertilizer in one application or not allowing enough time between applications, leads to three problems.
As long as you follow the instructions found on the packaging of the fertilizer, the three problems above can be easily avoided.
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Choosing The Correct Lawn Fertilizer Is Crucial
Plants have varying nutrient needs and the grass blades that makeup lawns are no exception. In order to choose the best lawn food, you will need to figure out which variety, or varieties, of grass is present.
Warm-season grasses, like Centipede, Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine are very common in the central Florida area. However, Cool-season grasses, like Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue, and perennial ryegrass could still be present.
Once you know the type of grass you are working with, you will want to conduct a soil test. Typically, Florida soils are high in phosphorus, which is one of three major nutrients found in fertilizers. If your soil test shows good levels of phosphorus, you will need a fertilizer blend that does not include it.
Your soil test will also tell you about your soils pH levels and other nutrient levels, such as nitrogen and potassium. Use this information to choose the fertilizer that will offer what your soil test determines your lawn needs.
Take a look at these tips for choosing the best fertilizer for your lawn.
- Conduct a soil test first to see what nutrients your lawn needs.
- Measure your yard to determine the square feet.
- Choose slow-release fertilizers to reduce the risk of over-fertilization.
- Check the label for pounds of nitrogen
- Always follow fertilizer directions- more is not more!
How You Fertilize Your Lawn Matters More Than You Think
The next item on your fertilization schedule is the application method. Once you identify the fertilizer schedule that is right for your lawn, you will want to decide the best method to spread the fertilizer.
The best method of applying fertilizer to your lawn will depend on your unique fertilization schedule and lawn care maintenance routine. There are two ways fertilizer can be applied to your lawn:
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How Long Should I Run My Sprinklers In Florida
Run the sprinklersthetherun your irrigationrun your sprinklers
Calculate an average water depth and determine how long it will take to apply a ½to¾ inch of water. Example: ¼ average depth of water after 15 minutes water 35-50 minutes in that zone. ½ average depth of water after 15 minutes water 20-30 minutes in that zone.
Additionally, how long should sprinklers run in each zone? Try this: Cut in half the amount of time you water each zone, but run your watering program twice. In other words, instead of watering each zone for 30 minutes, water each zone for 15 minutes, then cycle through all the zones again for another 15 minutes.
how often should I run my sprinklers in Florida?
While it’s best to adjust based on the species of turfgrass as well as the specific environmental conditions of your lawn, here is a good rule of thumb regarding turf watering frequency in our South Florida climate: Spring: 1-2 times a week. Summer: 2-3 times a week. Fall: 1-2 times a week.
How long should I let my sprinklers run?
Run your sprinkler and see how long it takes to get a half inch of water in the can just like a rain gauge. Usually it’s about 30 minutes. So 20 minutes, 3 times per week will get an inch of water on your lawn, and 30 minutes 3 times per week will get 1 ½ down.