How to Properly Care for Warm Season Grass in Florida

hand touches bermuda grass - learn how to care for warm weather grass in florida

Warm season grasses are a popular choice for lawns in Florida. These turf grasses thrive in the region’s hot and humid climate. The deep root system of warm season grasses helps them access moisture from the soil during dry spells, while their ability to tolerate heat allows them to maintain their vibrant green color.

What Is Warm Season Grass?

Most people don’t realize that there are two main types of grass: cold season grass and warm season grass. As the name implies, warm season grass is grass that thrives in warm or hot temperatures. There are many species of warm weather grass, but the most common varieties you’ll find here in Florida include:

  • Bermuda grass
  • Centipede grass
  • Zoysia grass
  • Bahia grass
  • St. Augustine grass

Warm Season Grass Care Tips 

With proper care, including regular mowing, adequate watering, and appropriate fertilization, warm season grasses can create a beautiful, resilient, drought-tolerant lawn.

  • Watering: Water your warm season grass in the early morning, once or twice a week, to a depth of 6 inches. Use a rain gauge or a screwdriver to measure the water penetration. Avoid overwatering or watering at night, which can lead to fungus and weeds.
  • Mowing: Mow your lawn when it starts to get tall to keep it tidy and healthy. The mowing height varies with the warm season grass type. Generally, cut at most one-third of the blade at once to avoid stressing the grass and inviting pests and diseases. 
  • Fertilizing: Fertilize your lawn to give your grass the nutrients it needs. Fertilize in late spring or early summer. Use a slow-release fertilizer made for warm season grasses and follow the label directions. Do not fertilize in late fall or winter, as this can lead to new growth that will likely freeze. Also, do not use too much fertilizer or nitrogen, which can attract pests and promote thatch buildup.
  • Pest Control: Pest control is crucial for maintaining a healthy lawn. Common pests for warm season grasses are chinch bugs, mole crickets, grubs, armyworms, fire ants, crabgrass, dandelions, and nutsedge. An integrated pest management approach that combines cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical methods is essential to stop or control warm season grass pests. Manual removal of weeds and attracting beneficial insects that prey on harmful pests are helpful.

Trust the Professionals  

Maintaining a healthy lawn can be both rewarding and challenging. Save time and effort by entrusting your lawn care to Florida Pest Control, a reputable professional lawn and pest control provider. Our experts offer comprehensive lawn care solutions, including soil testing and fertilization, weed and insect control, disease prevention, aeration, and grass care. Lawn care professionals ensure your warm season grass receives the best possible care. 

If you seek affordable and dependable lawn care services in Florida, look no further than Florida Pest Control. We have been offering top-notch pest control and lawn care solutions since 1949. We have experienced technicians to care for warm season grasses in your lawn. We provide free estimates and flexible maintenance plans tailored to your requirements and budget. Contact us now to learn more about our lawn care services.

What to Know About Lawn Frost in Florida

Grass coated with a layer of frost as the sun rises.

What to Know About Lawn Frost in Florida

Florida is known for having mild winters that draw so-called ‘snowbirds’ from all over the country. But what people who live elsewhere may not realize is that much of Florida gets at least some cold weather in the winter. Sure, it’s not what you’d deal with in the Midwest. It’s still enough to make you reach for your coat or the dial of your thermostat, and it can have major effects on your lawn.

Lawn frost doesn’t sound like a big deal. It gets cold overnight, your lawn gets some frost on it. It will melt later in the day. What’s the big deal, right? If handled improperly, frost can seriously damage your landscaping. We’ll learn how but first, what is frost? 


How Does Frost Form?

Frost typically occurs overnight when the temperature of the air near the ground drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature gets below freezing, it causes the moisture in and on grass blades to freeze, creating the frosty coating we see when we look out the window first thing in the morning after a freezing night.

Fortunately, Florida usually experiences only light frosts during the winter. A light frost, where the temperature isn’t very far below freezing for very long, will likely only result in mild damage to blades of grass, while the roots are unharmed. This makes it easier for your lawn to recover, compared to a more severe frost, which can harm, or even kill, the roots of the grass. This is especially true for the types of grass that are prevalent in subtropical and tropical areas like much of Florida.


How Does Frost Damage Your Lawn?

Frost might not necessarily damage your lawn by itself but that doesn’t mean that your lawn won’t be damaged during a frost. Impact damage is a common source of damage to lawns in Florida during a frost. If you walk, or for example, drive a golf cart or roll a golf bag, on grass that’s frosted over, it can seriously hurt the turf.

And once the weather warms enough to melt the frost, you should still continue watering and fertilizing your lawn, as usual, to keep it healthy. You may be tempted to mow but you likely won’t need to for a while. When you do, it’s always important to set the blade in the mower to the appropriate height for your type of grass. Cutting the grass too short can damage the lawn even in normal circumstances, it can be even more harmful if it’s recovering from frost damage. If you take these precautions and you still have patches of your lawn that are yellow or brown, you may need help from a professional lawn service.


How Florida Pest Control Can Help

No matter the season or weather, you can trust Florida Pest Control to protect and care for your lawn year-round. We know how important a good-looking yard is and we want to keep your lawn healthy and beautiful. Contact us today to learn how we can help


Tips to Prevent Florida Lawn Pests

dirt mounds in an otherwise healthy lawn hint at a possible lawn pest infestation

Tips and Tricks to Prevent Lawn Pests (in Florida)

Lawn pests are notorious here in Florida. From chewing grass to leaving behind dirt mounds, these tiny critters have a big impact on the overall well-being of your landscape. Knowing how to prevent lawn pests is a crucial step in maintaining a beautiful, well-manicured lawn all year long. To help you out, the experts at Florida Pest Control have put together everything you need to know to help prevent Florida lawn pests.

Watch Out for These Common Florida Lawn Pests

The first step to keeping your yard pest-free is to understand what types of insects and critters will try to invade. Getting familiar with the common lawn pests will help you identify infestations early on:

Best Practices to Prevent Lawn Pests

Getting rid of an infestation is much more challenging than preventing pests from invading in the first place. By spending a little bit of time on preventative maintenance, you could save a lot of time and energy later down the road. Here are a few great ways to prevent lawn pests:

  • Regularly mow: Long, unkempt grass is the perfect environment for pests to hide out and nest. Regularly mowing will keep your lawn tidy and make it more challenging for pests to settle in. 
  • Fix moisture issues: Most pests thrive in damp areas, which is why they are drawn to lawns that are frequently wet. Overflowing gutters, leaky irrigation systems, and overwatering are just a few common causes of moisture issues. 
  • Control weeds: Weeds are more than just a cosmetic issue for your lawn. They can also attract pests, which is another reason why you should keep your grass weed-free as much as possible.
  • Keep your yard clear: Insects and rodents love to live in piles of sticks, twigs, leaves, and other organic matter. Rake and clean your yard regularly to prevent pests from nesting on your property. 

Signs of an Infestation

It can be challenging to spot an infestation before it has the chance to establish itself. However, the sooner you spot pests, the easier they will be to get rid of. Keep an eye out for these warning signs of an infestation to spot pests before they can spread:

  • Burrows or dirt mounds
  • Holes or gnaw marks
  • Patches or strips of dead grass
  • Live pests or eggs

Use “The Drench Test” to Find Pests

Drench tests are an excellent tool for identifying infestations. To perform one, all you need to do is mix 3-4 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid with approximately 2 gallons of water. Once thoroughly mixed, pour the liquid out over a small patch of your lawn and wait for about ten minutes. If any pests rise to the surface, then you are likely dealing with lawn pests.  

Easy Steps to Help Eliminate Lawn Pests

Pests can cause significant damage to your lawn, even in a short amount of time. That’s why you’ll want to take quick action as soon as you notice the signs on your property. To get pests out of your lawn, follow these steps:

Clean Your Yard

Messy yards with lots of spaces to hide make the perfect environment for infestations to thrive. Taking a few minutes to tidy up your yard is one of the best ways to deter pests from invading your space. Here are our top tips for making your yard less appealing to pests:

  • Rake away leaves and debris
  • Regularly trim your grass
  • Clean out your gutters
  • Remove toys, tools, and other clutter
  • Avoid leaving pet bowls out
  • Use lidded trash bins

Use Natural Pest Control Solutions

Now that your yard is clean and tidy, it’s time to drive out any pests that have settled into your lawn. To do so safely, we recommend using natural pest control solutions that minimize your environmental impact. Here are some of the most effective natural pest remedies:

Invite Natural Predators to Your Yard

Beneficial birds and insects will not only fill your yard with life, but also keep the harmful critters at bay. Encouraging natural predators in your yard is a great way to control pest populations while remaining environmentally responsible. Consider encouraging these natural predators to enter your yard:

  • Wrens
  • Bluebirds
  • Lacewings
  • Praying mantises
  • Ladybugs
  • Big-eyed bugs

Use Neem Oil Spray

Neem oil is an excellent natural pest repellent. Derived from the seeds of neem trees, this oil is biodegradable and nontoxic to pets. Additionally, it is antibacterial and antifungal, which can make it effective against more than just pest infestations. 

Most garden stores carry neem oil spray, though you can make your own by mixing a quart of water with two teaspoons of neem oil and one teaspoon of mild soap. You can spray this mixture directly onto the plants to deter pests. 

Aerate and Dethatch Your Lawn

All lawns have a thin layer of thatch near the roots, which is made up of organic matter like dead grass stems or lawn clippings. While a thin layer can be healthy, too much buildup can become the perfect environment for pests to nest. Once your thatch measures over ¾”, it’s time to take action.

Aerating is one of the best ways to break down the thatch layer. To do so, you will use a special tool to poke small holes throughout the surface of your lawn. This helps loosen up thatch while allowing air and nutrients to penetrate deep into the grass roots. In addition to breaking down the thatch, aerating promotes stronger and healthier grass that is more resistant to pests. 

Try a Pesticide

Some infestations are stubborn. If you’ve tried everything and are still dealing with pests in your lawn, then it may be time to try a chemical pesticide. That said, pesticides are serious products that contain intense chemicals that could cause serious damage to your health or the environment if used improperly. It’s crucial to do your research or work with a professional before applying a treatment. 

When to Use a Pesticide

Pesticides contain harsh and potentially dangerous chemicals, which is why you should always use them as a last resort. Improper usage will put your family, pets, and property at an unnecessary risk. You should only use pesticides if:

  • You have researched all risk factors: Households with small children or pets have a higher risk of accidental exposure when using pesticides. Examine your property and household to determine if it is possible to safely apply a treatment. If you are unsure of the risk factors in your space, always consult a professional. 
  • You’ve tried natural methods first: Pesticides contain serious chemicals that should only be used as a last resort. To treat infestations in a safe and responsible manner, try natural pest control methods or get the help of an expert before turning to pesticides. 
  • You are dealing with a dangerous pest: Some pests pose a bigger threat to your health and wellbeing. If you are dealing with a severe infestation or facing a potentially dangerous pest, such as a rat, then pesticides may be the most appropriate course of action.
  • You’ve chosen a safe product: There are thousands of pesticides available on the market, and not all are created equal. It’s crucial to know how to read the label to find a safe and effective option. 
  • You are complying with local regulations: Some cities or HOAs have strict rules surrounding pesticide applications. Be sure to check local guidelines to ensure you are following all rules and regulations. 
  • You are confident in your ability to safely handle the chemicals: If you have any questions about pesticides or have any doubts about your ability to safely apply a treatment, then you should always reach out to a professional. Paying a small amount for an expert’s help is worth preventing a serious accident.

How to Safely Apply Pesticides

When it comes to pesticide application, it is crucial that you take every safety precaution. Mistakes could expose your family or pets to potentially deadly chemicals, which is why you should always handle these chemicals with care. To safely apply a pesticide, remember these guidelines:

  • Always carefully read and follow manufacturer instructions
  • Wear all safety protection gear, such as gloves and glasses
  • Be meticulous and accurate with your measurements
  • Keep all pets and children away from application areas
  • Leave a warning sign indicating that pesticides are on the lawn
  • Have a safety plan in case of accidental chemical exposure

Professional Lawn Pest Control At Your Service

Lawn pest control can be a tricky process, especially if you are dealing with a severe infestation. That’s where the team at Florida Pest Control can help! For over 70 years, our skilled experts have gone the extra mile to ensure peace of mind for you and your family by protecting your property from unwanted pests. Whether you are facing an active infestation or want to set up preventative measures, we’ve got you covered! Just contact us today to get your free inspection.

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.

Fall and Winter 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 our 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. Inspect your irrigation system early in the season. A properly running sprinkler system is one of the most important factors in your lawn’s health, and this applies even in the winter. Making sure your lawn has even coverage while the weather’s warm will prevent sections from being irreversibly damaged.
  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.

Should I Water My Lawn in Fall and Winter?

When it’s cold and wet, the water you use on your lawn doesn’t evaporate as quickly as it does in the summertime. Because of that you don’t need to water your lawn nearly as often as you would in the warmer season. With that in mind, you may wonder – how often do you need to water your lawn in the fall and winter?

In the early fall, depending on the season, you’ll usually want to water twice a week. As temperatures dip, however, you should be able to cut back and only water once a week. It helps to know when your individual lawn needs to be taken care of. If the grass is wilting or changing color, it needs more water. If you walk across the lawn and your footsteps linger behind you, your soil is retaining moisture and does not need any more water for the time being.

What Time Should I Water My Lawn? And How Much Water Do I Use?

One of the benefits of an irrigation system is that you can set the clock to whatever time you want. You can easily water your lawn after the dew forms and before the sun rises, which is usually around 3 AM. Each zone should receive around 3/4″ of water, which allows moisture to reach 8-12 inches down to your lawn’s root system.

When you take the time to make sure your lawn is watered at the right frequency and to the proper depth, you can avoid wasted water and the growth of fungus, which can harm your alwn. It’s a simple precaution you can take to keep your lawn healthy, appealing, and pest-free.

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 grass, 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!