This month we will be inspecting our client’s lawns for any issues. Weather permitting, we will also perform weed control applications to those that need it. This is a courtesy application, in addition to our normal 8 application program, provided to you at no additional cost.
ATTENTION: As you know, our lawn program has always been based upon the recommendations of the University of Florida, the developers of St. Augustinegrass, as well as our industry’s Best Management Practices. For many years UF recommended March for the application of granular fertilizer in NE Florida. However, based on the recent years climate changes in our area, they have revised the granular fertilizer application timing from March to April. While we use a high-quality slow release nitrogen, granular fertilizer, about 25%-30% is “slowly released” and the remainder is not. This means if we apply your fertilizer before our lawns are not fully into the growing season, the fertilizer won’t reach its full potential. Having said that, we will continue to follow UF’s recommendations and we will make the same change to our application schedule. For the month of March, we will instead be applying a pre and post emergence herbicide (weed control) combined with a nutrition supplement (liquid fertilizer). We believe this change is definitely going to benefit all of our lawns.
GOOD TO KNOW...St. Augustinegrass is a semi-tropical grass that can be damaged by frost and freezes if it hasn’t had a chance to adapt to the cold temperatures or is still in the midst of growing. In most parts of NE Florida, lawns go dormant in late fall or early winter, which results in a brown lawn throughout much of the season. So how do you know what is dormant and what is damaged? Truthfully only time will tell. Typically when temperatures drop below 25 degrees, there can be significant damage to St Augustinegrass. However, until we have consistently warm weather and enter the growing season, it will be hard to tell which it is since both dormant and damaged areas will remain brown until that time. With the help of our spring granular fertilizer application, and the correct cultural practices (proper watering and correct mowing height and frequency) by you, the property owner, you may be shocked to find what grass you thought was damaged and/or dead was only dormant.
Until we have consistent warm weather and our lawns begin to grow, you should not be mowing them. When you do begin again, remember St. Augustinegrass should ALWAYS be maintained at a height of 3.5 to 4 inches. Some of you may want to rid your lawn of any brown grass which is a sure recipe for disaster! A good thing to remember is the shorter you mow, the more shallow the root system of your grass, which in turn leads to more winter damage. By maintaining your grass at the correct height you avoid exposing the tender new growth to any unexpected cold weather. Additionally, you DO NOT want to “dethatch” your lawn. This process tears up the runners of your St. Augustinegrass, which is how it grows (FYI: grass clippings left in the lawn do NOT constitute thatch).
Going into the new year, you may be noticing a lot of weeds in your lawn. Why do weeds grow so well this time of year? Firstly, many weed seeds germinate in cold weather, so it stands to reason that while your lawn is dormant, the weeds will thrive. Secondly, while your lawn is dormant there is more than likely more exposed soil than usual, allowing the perfect place for them to grow. Under normal conditions a healthy St. Augustinegrass lawn will crowd out any would be weeds. Lastly, weed seeds are carried in the wind from neighboring yards. This usually means that if your neighbor has a weed problem, you more than likely will end up with that same problem. The answer to the ever frustrating weed issue is PATIENCE this time of year. As discussed earlier, your first blanket weed control application is scheduled for March and consists of a pre and post emergence herbicide combined with a liquid fertilizer. Simply stated, this takes care of the weeds ready to emerge and those that have already emerged.
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