Florida Lawn Care Guide

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Beautiful Florida Lawn

on July 24, 2017 by TruGreen

A healthy lawn isn’t just good for your family, it can also be an asset to the urban environment. Well-tended lawns can cool and clean the air, reduce glare and noise, and filter pollutants out of groundwater. Plus, a lush, green lawn is quite nice to look at. 

According to the University of Florida IFAS extension, Florida lawns are subject to many environmental stresses including nutrient deficiency, salinity, temperature extremes, over- or under-watering, soil problems, and prolonged exposure to shade or traffic. And that doesn’t even cover the insects and lawn diseases that can present themselves. But worry not. TruGreen is a partner in your quest for a healthy, lush lawn. Below are tips and details for what to expect from your Florida lawn each season, including some of the nuisances that you may encounter, with links to programs we offer to prevent or fix the lawn problems.

Types of Florida grass

Do you know what grass is growing in your yard? Common grasses found in Florida lawns include Centipede, Zoysia, Bahia, Bermuda, and St. Augustine; each comes with its own set of pros and cons.

Bahia

Pros

  • Coarse-textured, tough turf
  • Good tolerance to shade, drought, and wear

Cons

  • Produces numerous seedheads

Bermuda

Pros

  • Dense, medium-fine texture
  • Excellent heat and drought tolerance
  • Rapid establishment and growth rate

Cons

  • Poor low temperature and shade tolerance
  • Becomes dormant and browns during winter months

Centipede  

Pros

  • Low-growing, medium textured turf
  • Can handle light shade
  • Drought-tolerant

Cons

  • Slow growing (but this could be a pro if you don’t like mowing often!)
  • Poor wear tolerance
  • Browns in winter
  • Requires high iron levels

St. Augustine 

Pros

  • Coarse-textured turf
  • Shade-tolerant

Cons

  • Poor low-temperature tolerance
  • Can enter dormancy and discolor in winter months
  • Produces heavy thatch

Zoysia

Pros

  • Dense, tough turf
  • Good heat and drought tolerance
  • Better cold tolerance than most warm-season grasses

Cons

  • Slow to establish
  • Becomes dormant and browns during winter months

Unfortunately, a good lawn can require some preventative and reactionary efforts. The below topics should be kept in mind as you work with a TruGreen specialist to make your lawn the best it can be.

Types of weeds in Florida

Crabgrass

Crabgrass is an annual warm-season weed, which means it thrives in the heat and will sprawl anywhere it can find sunlight, water, and bare soil. Without proper prevention techniques and regular maintenance, a crabgrass invasion can quickly spiral out of control. 

Dollarweed

Also called pennywort, dollarweed is a warm-season perennial weed named for its silver- dollar-shaped leaves. The leaves of dollarweed are round, green, and look like little lily pads with a scalloped edge. 

Perennial kyllinga

Weeds in the kyllinga family tend to have a finer leaf texture and thrive in lawns mowed short (one inch or less). They are abundant in areas with poorly drained or frequently wet yards.

Doveweed

This summer weed germinates late in the spring and is often confused with St. Augustine grass and centipede grass leaves due to its shiny, rubbery texture. Doveweed prefers wet areas, so avoid drainage issues and overwatering. 

Spurge

The spurge family includes fast-growing summer weeds that grow low to the ground. Spurge is known as a prolific seed producer and plants mature in just a few days during hot weather.

Chamberbitter

Also known as gripeweed, Chamberbitter is a warm-season, broadleaf weed that can be spotted growing in early summer. This weed will grow upright and has a well-developed taproot. 

For fighting common weeds in Florida, consider TruGreen’s TruComplete Lawn Plan, which includes pre-emergent and targeted weed control.

Common lawn diseases include brown patch and gray leaf spot, though the latter only affects St. Augustine grasses.

For fighting common lawn diseases in Florida, consider TruGreen’s TruHealth Lawn Plan, which provides protection, essential nutrients, and balanced soil to your lawn.

Common lawn pests include chinch bugs, mole crickets, sod webworms, armyworms, and fire ants.

For fighting common lawn pests in Florida, consider TruGreen’s TruShield Lawn Pest Control, which can significantly reduce the number of pests in your yard, or Mosquito Defense, which can eradicate biting mosquitoes from your property.

How to care for your Florida lawn each season

Your lawn’s needs change month-to-month and season-to-season. While your TruGreen specialist will help your lawn stay healthy, there are still components of lawn care that you as the homeowner will need to watch and care for. The tips below will help you stay on track for a lush, healthy yard.

Summer

  • Water your lawn at the first signs of drought stress, and continue watering through the season. Signs of drought stress include thin, brown, and folding grass.
  • Aerating in early June may help with summer stress. Ask your specialist about TruGreen’s aeration services.
  • Aim to give your lawn about 1 inch of water per week but be sure to follow local water restrictions, if in place.
  • As temperatures continue to increase, allow your lawn’s soil to become wet several inches.
  • If your lawn begins to develop bare spots, ask your TruGreen specialist for lawn plug options.

Fall

  • As the weather begins to cool, cut back on watering frequency.
  • Mow less often and don’t lower the mower’s height.
  • Shred fallen leaves into the grass to provide organic matter.
  • If you use an irrigation system, reprogram it to reflect winter watering needs.

Winter

  • Expect your warm-season grass to slow its growth.
  • Take time to prep your mower; check oil, driver belt, and blades.
  • Water lawn as needed — Florida grasses don’t need much in cooler months.
  • Watch for winter broadleaf weeds in between treatments. If you see weeds start to develop, contact your TruGreen specialist for post-emergent control options.
  • As winter comes to an end, check that mower blades are sharpened and mower is in good condition.

Spring

  • Continue to mow and water as necessary. As weather temperatures being to increase, waterings may need to increase as well.
  • Check for signs of crabgrass and talk to your specialist if the weed begins to develop.
  • If your lawn begins to develop bare spots, ask your TruGreen specialist for lawn plug options.
  • As spring continues, ensure proper mowing, removing no more than ⅓ of the leaf blade.
  • Leave any clippings on the lawn, unless you’re experiencing a disease problem.
  • Rake or dethatch coarse lawns in late spring. Allowing thatch to develop can cause disease and weaken grasses.
  • Before summer hits, take preventative measures to control chinch bug activity (which increases in June). TruGreen’s TruHealth and TruComplete plans can both help with chinch bug control.

Together, we can make great-looking turf year-round

Florida’s unique grasses and weather mean your lawn needs special care. We can team up to apply seasonally appropriate pre- and post-emergent weed treatments, as well as fertilizer to stimulate your lawn’s color and growth and to help fortify it against extreme weather. To achieve a healthy lawn, we ask that you receive regular service visits, and follow the guidelines outlined above to help you achieve the best results possible. If you’re not signed up yet for regular services, click here to find a local branch near you or fill out the green box on the left to get a personal quote today.

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