How to Maintain a Healthy Florida Lawn

How to Maintain a Healthy Florida Lawn - Florida Pest Control

One of the nice things about living in Florida is that we get the chance to have beautiful and well-manicured lawns pretty much year-round. However, some months can be harsh for our usually well-manicured lawns. In order to keep the grass healthy, we need to take particular measures to keep it thriving.

Even in the midst of the rainy season, the experts at Florida Pest Control are committed to helping you keep your lawn looking its best. Read on to learn our top tips for maintaining your lawn all year long!

1. Mow your lawn frequently.

As we all know, it rains almost every afternoon during a Florida summer. All of this extra water will get your grass growing faster than any other time of the year. It becomes important to mow your lawn more frequently in an effort to keep the grass under control. Plus, keeping your lawn at a reasonable height and trimming it will remove any hiding places for lawn pests.

2. Think about switching up your watering schedule.

It’s a good idea to cut back the amount you water your lawn during rainy months. Excess water on turfgrass promotes turf disease and insect attack. If you’re not sure your lawn needs water, look at the blades. When your lawn is thirsty, the blades of grass will fold in half in an attempt to conserve water. It’s recommended to water a lawn 2 to 3 times a week during the warmer months (when there isn’t rain) and every 10 to 14 days during the wintertime. Make sure when you irrigate your lawn, you are also abiding by any local watering ordinances that may be in your area.

3. Use fertilizers prudently to maintain turf nutrition.

Fertilizers help in maintaining the nutritional balance of your lawn. You’ll want to use them sparingly and within state and local fertilizer ordinance guidelines, as too much of a good thing can turn sour. In addition to keeping your lawn well fed, fertilizers may also help your grass combat certain turf pests.

4. Use insecticides to maintain control of pests.

There are plenty of pests wanting to feast on the lawns we work so hard to keep beautiful. Common lawn pests, especially during the warmer months, include chinch bugs, sod webworms, and armyworms. Insecticides can help keep these bugs at bay, but only use with the advice of a professioanl lawn pest control experts.

5. Let your grass grow a bit higher.

While this may sound contradictory to what we said earlier about mowing your lawn more often, the two tips aren’t actually mutually exclusive. You can adjust the blade height of your lawnmower to cut the grass at a longer length. This height varies based on the variety of turfgrass you have on your lawn. Mowing at the maximum recommended height will help make up for the fact that it is getting cut more often, and it will help enhance the rooting process of the lawn. This is especially helpful as winter approaches. A healthy root zone will reduce the likelihood of winter damage to your turf grass.

Seasonal Lawn Care Experts

The good news is that, here at Florida Pest Control, we have decades of experience making sure lawn pests don’t become a nuisance. If you need help keeping your lawn looking beautiful, contact us today, and we’ll come out to your property for a no-obligation consultation.

4 Fall Lawn Care Tips

Florida lawn in the fall - Florida Pest Control

Compared to most of the country, Florida experiences relatively mild fall and winter temperatures. Nonetheless, it’s important to learn how to ensure your lawn survives the slightly colder months ahead of us. Without properly preparing your yard before winter temperatures set in, you run the risk of killing off any healthy growth your lawn has seen throughout the spring and summer.

Thankfully, fall lawn care is simple and requires just a few key steps to ensure your hard work doesn’t go to waste. Read on to learn Florida Pest Control’s top tips for winterizing your lawn this fall!

How to Winterize Your Florida Lawn

Most of the types of turf found in Florida naturally go dormant in the wintertime, which means growth nearly comes to a halt. To make sure you still have a decent lawn to work with come springtime, it’s important to winterize your lawn. Winterizing is just a few basic lawn care steps you can take each fall to protect the turf and pave the way for new growth in the spring. Before you begin, it’s important to determine what type of grass you have, consult a local lawn care expert to find out the pH levels of your grass, and carefully remove lawn weeds. From there, you can implement your fall lawn care tips.

Top Fall Lawn Care Tips

To winterize your Florida lawn, there are four things to know.

  1. Don’t fertilize after September. If you fertilize your lawn too late in the year, your grass will grow throughout the winter and become more sensitive to the cold.
  2. Keep your turf longer than usual. By leaving your grass a bit longer than you normally would throughout the rest of the year, you can protect the roots from the colder weather.
  3. Water your lawn less frequently. Irrigate your lawn every one to two weeks. You may use a rain gauge to determine whether your lawn is getting enough water (about an inch a week).
  4. Consider overseeding your lawn. Planting temporary grass for your winter lawn is a popular choice for Florida residents, and these grasses will die off when spring rolls around.

Want an Envy-Worthy Lawn All Year Long?

As Floridians, we are blessed with mild weather year-round and, thus, our lawns aren’t as vulnerable to cold temperatures. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to prepare your turf for the fall and winter months. If you’re at a loss of where to start or unsure of how to best take care of your turf, the experts at Florida Pest Control are here to help. For more lawn fall care tips or information on winterizing processes, contact us today!

Fire Ants in Florida: What to Know

Fire Ants: Florida’s Red Menace

Fire ants, often called “red imported fire ants” originate from Brazil but were introduced to the United States around 1940. Since then, they have spread throughout much of the southeast, including right here in Florida. Because these pests can pose a serious threat, it’s important to know how to recognize them as well as how to stay safe from their painful stings. Learn more with the ant control experts right here at Florida Pest Control!

What Do Fire Ants Look Like?

Fire ants measure from 1/8 – ¼” and are a dull red color. Fire ants are most known for their stinger, which in accordance with their aggressive nature, can lead to bad encounters. Fire ants are best recognized by two bumps that they have between the abdomen and thorax.

The easiest way to identify fire ants is through their mounds. These mounds range in size—some are small bumps, others can be up to 18 inches high. If you run into a fire ant mound, it won’t feature an opening on the top like other ant mounds. A mound that is about 7 inches high can house over 200,000 ants, which is precisely why these ants pose such a huge threat.

Fire ant infographic in Florida - Florida Pest Control

5 Facts About Fire Ants

Fire ants differ from your typical house ant in a number of ways. The most important things to know about these potentially dangerous pests include:

  • If a fire ant mound is disturbed, they will attack as one unit. When disturbed, the ants will begin spilling out ready to attack—and each ant will sting repeatedly.
  • To begin a fire ant colony, queen fire ants mate with males, killing the male in the process, and fly to the site at which she’ll begin the new colony. The queen will lay up to 800 eggs per day, growing the colony to an average size of 100,000 to 500,000 ants.
  • Fire ants don’t bite—they sting! Their stings can result in a burning sensation, hence their name. The sting site may swell and itch. A small pustule sometimes develops where the stinger enters the skin.
  • If fire ants get on you, it’s important to quickly and repeatedly brush them off your skin. The ants can latch on tight, meaning shaking won’t repel them. If you develop symptoms from fire ants, it’s important to seek medical attention.
  • Fire ants typically nest outdoors in open areas. Parks and fields are usually primary targets, but yards can be as well. The mounds are often found lining your grass and concrete, and they typically form on humid days.

Fire Ant Control in Florida

Trying to get rid of a fire ant mound yourself is dangerous. Their colonies extend far under the ground and feature multiple queens. If you have noticed a fire ant mound grow in your yard, the safest and most effective solution is contacting your local ant control experts to get rid of them.

4 Tips to Prevent Summer Lawn Pests

Grubs are a common summer lawn pest in Florida lawns - Florida Pest Control

Here in Florida, maintaining a healthy and lush lawn doesn’t come without its troubles. With our climate, it can be difficult to keep a lawn in good shape throughout the seasons—especially in the warm summertime. To make matters worse, lawn pests are a common nuisance dealt with by homeowners all year long. Lawn insects target grass and yards that are unkempt and unhealthy to begin with, making it all the more important to take proper care of your lawn and grass. The lawn care experts at Florida Pest Control are dedicated to helping our customers achieve a green, healthy lawn. We’ve provided our top 4 tips to prevent summer lawn pests to assist you.

Summer Lawn Pests in Florida

Florida is home to many types of pests, including a number of lawn pests! These insects commonly live just under the grass in your lawn, making it difficult to notice them until they’ve done their damage. Here are the most common lawn insects in our region during the summer:

  • Sod webworms chew through small areas of grass. They create tunnels out of their silky web that will run under the grass. Signs to look for include raggedly-chewed grass and smaller brown spots- around the size of a baseball.
  • Armyworms are small caterpillars that grow into moths. The females lay up to a thousand eggs at once in patches of fresh grass. These can hatch as quickly as 2 days. To spot these guys, you’ll want to look on the outside of dead or damaged grass areas.
  • Chinch bugs attack your lawn by sucking the liquid out of grass blades. In doing so, patches of grass on your lawn will dehydrate, turn yellow, then brown and die.
  • Mole crickets feed on and chew through the grassroots, causing your grass to die off. When dealing with mole crickets, your grass will feel spongy when stepped on and be covered with brown patches.
  • Grubs are beetle larvae that remain dormant through the winter. In the spring, they make their way toward the surface to feed on grassroots.

Top Tips For Lawn Pest Prevention

The key to lawn pest control is prevention. The key to preventing lawn pests is taking care of your yard! To ensure your lawn is healthy, thriving, and pest-free, follow these tips:

  1. Learn how to properly mow your lawn. Long grass that is never cut will attract all types of pests and weeds. Mowing your lawn in a timely manner will deprive lawn insects food and shelter.
  2. Avoid over- or under-watering your lawn. Pests of all kinds love moisture. If your lawn is soggy from overwatering, you are sure to create a haven for lawn pests. Learn how to properly irrigate your lawn depending on the season.
  3. When you see weeds, remove them! Wild, unkempt weeds attract a number of insects and pests. Weeds also negatively affect the health of your grass, leading to a number of diseases and problems.
  4. Fertilize your lawn as needed. Similar to your irrigation system, failing to fertilize your lawn correctly can lead to a plethora of problems. A lawn made unhealthy due to over-fertilization can contribute to pest problems.

Your Local Lawn Pest Control Experts

At Florida Pest Control, we know how frustrating it can be to diagnose your lawn problems. If you think you have a lawn insect problem, our lawn care experts can help. Contact us today to get started!

Freeze Damage and Your Florida Lawn

Freeze Damage and Your Florida Lawn

Probably the last thing on our minds is replacing our Florida lawn because of freeze damage. Here are some tips that may prevent, or at least reduce, winter damage to your Florida lawn.

Your lawn may go completely dormant and turn brown, depending on what part of the state you live in.  However, the roots are still active and require some winter care.

If leaves are falling from your trees, be sure to rake them. The leaves will cover the turf and trap in cold air during a freeze, not allowing the roots to warm up as the temperature rises above freezing. The leaves can also restrict moisture from reaching the soil for the roots to take advantage of. You can see why raking the leaves is so important.

Let’s not forget about the watering needs of your lawn:

  • Continue to water your lawn throughout the winter. Water requirements are ¾” every 14 days during the winter.
  • Be aware of upcoming freezing temperatures when watering your lawn. All watering should be completed 24 hours before a freeze.
  • Watering your lawn during a freeze could damage the entire lawn!

Also, routine mowing of your lawn at maximum height will prevent many winter weeds from producing seeds, so don’t put up that mower yet!

Winter is Gone and Spring Is On

Winter’s Gone and Spring Is On

Winter’s gone and spring is on! As a matter of fact, spring began on March 20th at 6:45 P.M. EDT. Another sign of spring is the start of Daylight Savings Time, which may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.

You may be wondering, with such a mild winter, what unusual weather are we in store for this spring and summer? This is what the Farmers’ Almanac is predicting, “April and May will be hotter than normal, with below-normal rainfall in the north and above normal in the south. Watch for an early tropical storm in mid-May.” Well, we definitely can use the rain!

Speaking of rain, did you know the average rainfall in Florida for April is usually less than 3 inches? That’s not very much rain for your lawn and shrubs to “spring” into spring! You may have to supplement your landscape’s needs with a little irrigation. Your lawn should receive 3/4 inch of rainfall or irrigation every 10 – 14 days during the spring growing season. Shrubs aren’t usually as thirsty as your lawn, so you should water them as needed, taking care not to overwater. Problems such as root disease and leaf spot could result from overwatering.

Now is an excellent time to replace the mulch around your shrubs and other plants. The mulch will keep the soil from drying out quickly and aid in reducing weed growth. Be careful not to pile too much up around the trunk of your shrubs. You’ll want to keep a mulch-free zone about an inch away from the trunk. This will allow the base of the trunk to breathe much easier.

If your Azaleas have finished blooming, now is a good time to prune them. You don’t want to wait too long to prune them or you’ll cut off the bud formation tips for next year.

Also, with the warmer weather, your lawn will begin to grow more rapidly. Be sure to keep mower blades sharp and never cut off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade with each mowing. According to research, one bag of grass clippings could contain up to 1/4 pound of organic nitrogen, so it’s good to leave your clippings on the turf. The clippings will decompose and return nutrients back into the soil. The Florida Friendly Best Management Practices for the Protection of Water Resources states to always remove clippings from impervious surfaces such as sidewalks, streets, and driveways. The nutrients in clippings become pollutants if allowed to enter storm-water systems and bodies of water.

If you have any questions about your lawn or shrubs, contact us. We will have the answers for you.

Florida’s Autumn Colors

autumn in florida

Summer has given Florida month after month of exhausting heat and abundant rainfall this year, especially this past August. Most Floridians would agree it’s time for a refreshing change. Well, hang in there…a change is coming. Autumn is almost here. As the temperatures drop, it’s a great time to enjoy Florida’s fall landscape.

A person once jokingly said, “We do have fall colors in Florida…Poison Ivy! It turns a beautiful red color in the fall.” The truth is, Florida does have some wonderful fall colors. There are several Florida wildflowers that bloom this time of the year. If you like purple colors, look for flowers such as Florida Blazingstar, Florida Paintbrush, and Deertongue. For yellows, look for Yellowtop, Goldenrod, and Golden Aster. All these can be seen in fields and forests throughout the state.

For the more traditional fall colors, you may want to visit the bluffs and ravines of Torreya State Park in Liberty County, Florida. You will see several of the same hardwood trees found in the Appalachian Mountains. These hardwoods provide the finest display of fall colors found in Florida. Imagine that…and you don’t even have to leave the state!

While you’re outside enjoying the beautiful fall weather, remember to keep an eye on your lawn. Cooler temperatures can promote lawn diseases. Also, as we approach cold winter temperatures, your lawn may begin to change color naturally as it goes dormant. Before this occurs, you will notice you don’t have to mow your yard as often. When you are mowing your lawn during this slower growth period, raise your mower height to the highest level. This will promote deeper root growth and provide better cold protection for the turf’s roots during the winter.

Those colorful leaves we spoke of earlier will eventually drop from the trees. Make sure you keep them off your lawn, as they can block the sunlight and moisture the turf receives, as well as trap cold air when chilly winter temperatures arrive. Those leaves can also end up blocking your gutters. We have a program to keep you off the ladder and alleviate that headache!

All in all, most Floridians can’t wait for fall. Take some time to enjoy these beautiful fall days ahead of us. It won’t be long till it’s summer again!

Autumn…At Last!

autumn in florida

It is the summer’s great last heat,

It is the fall’s first chill: They meet.

– Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

These words describe the Fall season very well, which usually begins each year around September 22nd. Ah yes, the Autumn Equinox. The word equinox is derived from Latin words meaning “equal night”, just in case you didn’t know.

Some years back a person jokingly said, “We do have Fall colors in Florida…Poison Ivy, it turns a beautiful red in the Fall.” Actually, Florida does have some wonderful Fall colors. There are several Florida wildflowers blooming this time of the year. If you like purple colors, look for flowers such as Florida Blazingstar, Florida Paintbrush, and Deertongue. For yellows, look for Yellowtop, Goldenrod, and Golden Aster. All these can be seen in fields and forests throughout the state.

For the more conventional Fall colors, you may want to visit the bluffs and ravines of Torreya State Park in Liberty County, Florida. You will see several of the same hardwood trees found in the Appalachian Mountains. These hardwoods provide the finest display of Fall colors found in Florida. Imagine that…and you don’t even have to leave the state!

Have you ever wondered why leaves start to change color during the Fall? This change takes place because the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer as winter approaches. During the Summer, the leaves contain a large amount of chlorophyll. There’s so much chlorophyll that it completely covers the other colors. With shorter days, there is less light, and chlorophyll production decreases.

Leaves containing mostly anthocyanins will appear red. Those containing carotenoids are usually yellow or orange. Leaves with large amounts of anthocyanins and carotenoids will appear orange. Many oak leaves contain tannins, which is why their leaves appear brown. Sunny Fall days produce the brightest color displays. That’s because anthocyanins require light. Overcast days will lead to more yellows and browns.

We all can agree that Autumn is a great time of the year and the changing of colors is a sight to behold. There is one drawback though…the leaves must fall to the ground and this could cause some problems for your roof gutters.

As leaves accumulate in your roof gutters, they begin to decay creating food and harborage for many insect pests, such as roaches and ants. This organic material also inhibits the flow of water during rain that could cause some roof damage, not to mention the extra weight it applies to the gutter fasteners. But, there is a rainbow at the end of the rainstorm; it’s called “Clear Gutter Pest Defense”.