Too Early for Turf Fertilizer in North Florida

An attractive lawn is an enhancement for the landscape but starting too early with care in North Florida can cause serious issues for turf health and the environment. Even though our area experienced warmer temperatures in February, there are still some cool nights ahead. Be patient with your lawn and allow the soil temperatures to consistently warm and roots to take off in growth before fertilizing and routinely watering. Fertilizer should not be applied until at least mid April through May in North Florida. This practice is based on regional research that shows a loss of fertilizer when applied before grass is ready to take it up.

A recent frost in North Florida has injured a warm season turf. Be patient and it will recover. Photo by Beth Bolles, UF IFAS Extension Escambia County

What should you be doing now?
  • Manage your existing cool season weeds through hand pulling and mowing before heads form.
  • Check your irrigation system for uniform coverage and broken nozzles.
  •  Rake up  leaves and compost on site or send to ECUA for recycling (remember no plastic bagging).