If weed free turf is important to you, your client, or your HOA, listen up! There are a few basic rules of green thumb for good lookin’ grass, and even then, it will not stay perfectly green year-round. There are two primary factors to consider when it comes to keeping your turfgrass terrific:
Check out part one of the blog that talks about the biology of turfgrass to learn how it grows. Now let’s talk about who does what in your landscape. Who:
- Tests soil
- Calibrates irrigation and checks it monthly
- Did you know that fertilizer is regulated? Did you know a Green Industries Best Management Practices training and FDACS fertilizer license is required for this if you hire someone to do it?
- Pest Control including weeds, insects, and disease in turf
- Pesticides are highly regulated. Did you know that you need to hire someone licensed as a Pest Control Operator or works under a PCO to apply any chemical to urban turf?
All of those things need to happen in order to grow resilient turfgrass season after season. I know, you’re like CHA-CHING $$$! Yes, indeed, well managed turfgrass requires an incredible amount of care and expertise…and water. Turfgrass does consume more than 50% of our drinking water in Florida, so considering all the time, money, and resources that go to our grass, some of you may be thinking “Is this necessary?”
There is no real answer, but there is a rabbit hole of scientific inquiry. On one hand, humans have a close relationship with the grasses; we eat a lot of them like rice, wheat, and corn. We play sports on grasses, a more civilized way of conquering your neighbor than our barbaric past. And good lookin’ grass adds value to homes and let’s face it, money talks.
On the other hand, there are SO MANY other FABULOUS PLANTS! Florida friendly plants do best in our hot, humid, subtropical, insect laden ecosystem. Landscapes that have more Florida Friendly plantings than turfgrasses use less water and fertilizer. They also provide other benefits like habitat for wildlife and water infiltration and recharge.
If you must have weed free turfgrass, know that she is high maintenance, but not impossible. She is a heavy drinker, but provides a lot of good benefits like oxygen, a cooling effect, and a place to play. Give her what she needs, including a regular cut and blow! If you cut it too short, she will be upset.
Consider adding Florida Friendly plants to the landscape wardrobe. She likes to be surrounded with lower maintenance, yet beautiful plant friends.