Ask Master Gardener Volunteer JoAnn GreenAfter hauling hoses and sprinklers around the lawn this past September, I know why the gardening experts say that turfgrass is high maintenance! Hopefully October will bring us more moderate temperatures and some rain.
Living with Turfgrass
You may have moved into your current home with a lawn already established; or if you have a newer home, the builder may have included sod installation as part of the contract. Some of us have fond memories of playing games on a lush carpet of grass and want the same thing for our kids or grandchildren. A well-maintained lawn adds curb appeal and can also help define your ‘outdoor rooms’. If you want to install or keep your current lawn, there are maintenance activities to do year-round.
Our current home already had an established lawn when we moved to Wakulla County. At the time, we did not realize how much maintenance that was involved in keeping up with about two thirds of an acre of
centipede grass! Besides watering and mowing during the summer, we also found out about weeds, diseases, and pests that can have a huge impact on not only the lawn’s appearance but also the pocketbook!
What I have done over the years is develop a plan to keep and maintain about one third of an acre of turfgrass and create landscape beds under trees and also in sunny areas in the landscape. I still haul the hoses and sprinklers around and have to mow in the summer and rake in the fall, but the smaller area is more manageable for me. I also have a maintenance schedule for what needs to be done for the lawn each season.
October is usually a drier month, so the lawn needs to have water at least once every 7 to 10 days. Turfgrass is beginning to go dormant for the winter, so more frequent irrigation is not needed. If you have an irrigation system, you may want to recalibrate the timer for the fall and winter seasons. Depending on the type of turfgrass you have, the lawn still needs ½ to ¾ of an inch of water per application.
If you want to control cool season annual weeds (like dandelions), the end of October is a good time to put out selective, pre-emergent herbicides. I do not recommend a ‘weed-and-feed’ product, because you do not want the lawn to have a spurt of growth at this time of year. Also, I do not think you want to give any warm season annual weeds a boost either! The pre-emergent herbicide should clearly list the turfgrass that is suitable for the product and also which cool season weeds it will control. Be sure to read and follow the instructions!
If you have a lawn maintenance company, I recommend you ask the technician what products they will apply to your lawn and what those products are for.
The Weed Management Guide for Florida Lawns is a nice University of Florida publication that goes into much more detail: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/EP/EP14100.pdf
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