• Kelly Guerrero

How to Care for your FL Lawn during January

In summer or winter, curb appeal is the first thing most people notice about a Florida home. While grasses in other parts of the country may go dormant in the winter, Florida’s warm-season grasses, primarily St. Augustine, do not go into a true dormant state. Leaf production is reduced to a point where mowing is only required every two to three weeks, unlike in the summertime when the grass needs to be mowed every five to seven days. Landscapes still require turf fertility and pest management throughout the cool season. In fact, fall and winter fertilization has become even more important in some parts of Florida where some misguided local municipalities have imposed harsh and agronomically unsound restrictions on summer fertilization. These restrictions cause lawns and shrubs to become nutrient deficient and less healthy, which in turn make them more susceptible to catastrophic damage should pests, or a frost or unseasonably cold weather occur.

The cooler months are also a good time to manage large plantings in the landscape. This is the time for installation or transplanting trees and woody ornamental shrubs because the months of cooler weather are less stressful on the trees and shrubs and root growth is enhanced. Applications of nitrogen sources from organic biosolids are beneficial to aid in root production. Getting shrubs and trees established early in the year is essential for survival before the typically dry season in April and May.  If you're thinking about revamping your landscape or moving some of your larger shrubs and ornamentals, now is the time to do that work!  We have a Landscape Designer on staff and we'd love the opportunity to help you love your landscape!

The cooler temperature range is perfect for the development and growth of fungal pests and is often exacerbated by excessive irrigation as some continue with summer irrigation schedules.  We recommend watering about once a week during this season due to the lower temperatures and less water is lost to evaporation.  Sometimes when a cold front comes through we'll get a large amount of rain (More than one Inch).  When that happens, you're generally safe to skip irrigation schedules for that week. Because the Florida winter is mild, insects don’t die off to re-emerge in the spring. Insect damage to landscape shrubbery continues throughout the winter, particularly scales and spider mites. Aphids and thrips also contribute to cause damage. While the number of these insect pests may be somewhat reduced due to their slower reproduction during the cooler weather, they are a constant threat. Even after some of our coldest periods on record, Floridians often find cold damaged shrubbery with seemingly healthy insects or spider mites feeding on whatever foliage is

available after a frost.

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