As we move into the winter months, it is important that you continue to follow the best management practices for your lawn. Here are some quick tips, with links to learn more:
It’s about time for cool weather with light, intermittent rains to appear, so the first step is to calibrate our sprinklers. Just set out tuna cans, turn on the water for 15 minutes, and see what happens. Then set the system to water ½ inch each application, unless it rains. The Florida Automated Weather Network has a great worksheet with instructions that makes calibration easy. Find it here.
Another easy thing you can do is to mow properly. We recommend that turf be mowed to the correct height based on the type of grass (3-4 inches for Bahiagrass and 2 ½-4 inches for St. Augustinegrass). Remember, grass needs those leaves to feed a healthy root system. We also recommend using a mulching mower so that the clipped leaves can fall to the ground and decay back into the soil.
Fertilizer & Pesticides
In the fall, grasses are going into a quieter, resting period. October is the last month they will need fertilizer until next spring. We always recommend slow-release fertilizer. (Please check our handouts for specific grass variety recommendations. Look online at edis.ifas.ufl.edu, call the UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Plant Clinic at 863-519-1041, or drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Lawn turf is susceptible to many aliments, so please call us if you aren’t sure what’s wrong! Don’t start applying the cure until you’re sure what the illness is! Lawns suffer from nematode, insect, and fungal attack, all of which can also look very similar!
This month’s Florida-Friendly™ reminder: Any time you use pesticides or herbicides in the garden, be sure to follow the label. In Florida, THE LABEL IS THE LAW. That information is there to help keep you, your family, your plants, and our environment safe.
This article was written by Celia Beamish, Florida Master Gardener Volunteer under supervision of the Master Gardener Coordinator and Residential Horticulture Agent Anne Yasalonis.
Celia has been a Florida Master Gardener Volunteer since 2008.
The Florida Master Gardener Program is a volunteer-driven program that benefits UF/IFAS Extension and the citizens of Florida. The program extends the vision of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, all the while protecting and sustaining natural resources and environmental systems, enhancing the development of human resources, and improving the quality of human life through the development of knowledge in agricultural, human and natural resources and making that knowledge accessible.
An Equal Opportunity Institution.