Florida is beautiful all year round, but now is the time to heed all those lawn care tips you’ve been searching for. As summer approaches, we start turning our thoughts towards proper landscaping and spring is the perfect time to tackle all those projects outside. You can achieve a healthier lawn now before the real Florida heat kicks in. And with a few great lawn care tips, you can have your yard looking summer-ready in no time.
Get Your Soil Tested
If you’ve never had your soil tested before, now is the perfect time to do so. Simply call your local UF/IFAS Extension Office to get a soil sample kit. They’ll offer great advice and instructions on how to obtain the sample, perform the test and interpret your results. Doing a soil test helps homeowners and landscapers, alike, discover exactly what nutrients your soil needs. By finding out this important information, you’ll be able to nourish your grass, select the right fertilizer and pick the perfect products to support healthy lawn growth. Not all grass species are the same, so this is one of our favorite lawn care tips to get started.
Fertilize the Area Properly
Florida is known for its heat and it’s important that you landscape accordingly. In central Florida, for example, the best time to fertilize is during the spring, summer, and fall, when the lawn is actively growing. Most fertilizers contain a blend of phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium, but may also contain other nutrients. Remember, most Florida lawns require a low-phosphorous fertilizer because Florida soil typically has a high concentration to start. Choose a fertilizer that contains the nutrients your specific lawn needs, which you’ll ascertain through the results of your soil test.
A granular fertilizer is easiest because you don’t have to apply it as often. Furthermore, you can use a drop spreader to fertilize smaller lawns or a rotary spreader for larger ones. Whenever possible, try to prevent applying fertilizer to cement or concrete surfaces, like walkways and driveways. Unfortunately, because rain and sprinkler systems can cause it to wash away. From there, these levels of nutrients directly contribute to toxic algal blooms and other problems. For the same reason, leave a ten-inch perimeter around any waterways or water features in or near your lawn. We also recommend using a slow-release fertilizer that continues to feed your grass without the risk of run-off.
If weeds are an issue for your landscaping and lawn, you likely want to get rid of them. You can do so either by pulling them out or by applying a weed killer. Orlando residents, have your Orlando lawn care service apply a pre-emergent weed killer to control weeds throughout the season. This ensures your grass won’t be choked throughout the summer months. You could also opt for a weed-and-feed solution, but you’ll want to discuss this with your local landscaping experts.
Be Mindful When Watering
There’s a common misconception that you can’t over-water your lawn. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If your lawn isn’t growing well in the warm Florida climate, there’s a good chance it’s due to over-watering. The amount of water your lawn needs varies throughout the season. Furthermore, your soil type, the amount of shade you have, your rainfall levels and more, affect how much water you need. Throughout areas of central Florida during the spring, summer and fall, we don’t recommend watering more than once or twice a week. During the winter months, water less often. You likely won’t need to water more than once every two to three weeks, or less often if it rains. If you notice your lawn showing signs of a bluish-gray color, the inability to bounce back after foot traffic, or folded leaves, it’s likely time to water it.
So, how long should you water your lawn? Obviously, it depends on your individual lawn, but the rule of thumb is simple. Less frequent, but very thorough watering helps your grass grow deeper roots. These roots enable your turf to survive periods of drought or extreme temperatures. Each watering session should deliver about half to three-quarters of an inch of water depending on your soil type. Remember, sandy soils need more water, which clay soils need less. A great way to make sure you’re getting enough water is to place a rain gauge around the perimeter of your lawn’s irrigation zone. Additionally, the best time to water is in the morning, as your lawn will be able to absorb the water and dry in the sun.
Aerate, Overseed & Mow
Aeration is the process of removing plugs of soil from your lawn, and it’s one of the most overlooked lawn care tips. When done properly, aeration relieves soil compaction and allows more air to get to the roots of plants. This can strengthen your grass and help it flourish and the best time to do it is in the spring. We recommend that homeowners use a core aerator. Spike aerators simply punch holes in the ground, which isn’t as effective. Furthermore, they can do more harm than good by further compacting the already-compacted soil. Once you’ve aerated, you can overseed or add more grass seed to your lawn. If you choose to overseed though, wait for the new grass to grow before you add pre-emergent weed killer to your lawn. If you add it too soon, the weed killer might end up killing your new grass, as well.
General mowing should be done regularly, at a height of one to four inches, depending on your grass species. Never remove more than one-third of the grass blade, and keep your mower blades sharp to avoid stressing the grass and leaving it vulnerable to disease. Mow your lawn only when it’s dry, and leave the grass clippings alone. They actually add more nutrients to your soil and reduce the need to fertilize.
Follow These Lawn Care Tips for a Great Outdoors
There’s nothing quite as beautiful as springtime in Florida, and there’s no doubt that it’s the perfect time to get your lawn ready for summer. Simply follow these comprehensive lawn care tips throughout spring, and you’ll soon have thick, lush, and gorgeous turf. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to visit your local landscaping shop for additional tips and tricks.