January thru the early part of March is typically the coldest months of our year here in North Florida. These cold temperatures cause the grass, some plants, and palms to lose their color and turn a pale yellow or brown in color. Deciduous trees lose their leaves temporarily. This is a sign that your warm season grasses and plantings are moving into semi dormancy and is no cause for alarm. Both the lawn and plantings feed and grow much slower during this time. That does not mean they do not require our attention. In fact, this is one of the most important periods to set the tone for the growing season ahead. Pre-emergent weed controls are used to help control weeds in the upcoming months, potash fertilization to regulate water intake & build strong healthy root systems, and insect controls to prevent ants, mole crickets, along with other turf damaging or nuisance pests. Consider a farmer who grows corn and wants the highest yield possible from his crop during the harvest, he doesn’t wait until Spring to get started. Planning ahead is critical to successful gardening; it’s the things he does in the Fall and Winter that really set in motion a positive result.
Some areas of your lawn may remain green while others turn yellow or brown. This is often a result of cold air flow across your property or “LDS”…a term often used in the golf course industry meaning “localized dry spot”. Variations in your soil profile, surface slope, soil compaction, traffic, shade, and organic matter accumulations have been cited as contributors to LDS. Variations in irrigation distribution also plays a huge part in localized dry spot. Systems need to be updated and adjusted as your landscape matures and changes. This is often neglected. Those 1-3 gallon shrubs installed when your home was built and the irrigation system was originally installed, grow and often obstruct uniform water distribution to turf areas as they have matured over the years. Nozzles get clogged, rotors don’t rotate as freely, and sometimes even though a head may be spraying, it may be leaking at the bottom causing inefficient wasteful watering and loss of pressure.
While your turf grass may be semi dormant, winter annual weeds like asiatic hawksbeard (often thought of as dandelion with tall yellow flowers), poa annua (annual bluegrass), mouse ear chickweed, and oxalis may thrive in the cold months. Dollarweed also typically surges in the transition months and winter as the turf grass in not actively working against it as it does during the growing season. Do not be alarmed by these temporary winter weeds. We are diligently working hard to prevent and eliminate as many as humanly and chemically possible, but you can help us by not over watering, and keeping the lawn maintained during these months as necessary to retain curb appeal. Your irrigation should NOT be set on auto at this time. We recommend you turn it on manually only as needed if you are not out of town. If it must be set to auto, once a week for 20-30 minutes is generally enough, 15-20 minutes in shaded areas. Lawn cutting services often slow at this time or do not come around at all, but keeping those tall, unsightly weeds from going to seed is still advantageous and necessary to keeping a nice lawn. Leaves can be mulched or removed if they are excessive and smothering the turf grass.
We look forward to a fantastic growing season and beautiful lawns and landscapes in the year ahead! We hope you have found these winter lawn tips helpful. You can also visit our website at www.gesest.com.
We sincerely Thank you for your business and let’s and keep it growing!
The Staff@ Green Earth Solutions