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Spring Lawn Care for St. Augustine Grass in Florida

Spring is a crucial time for lawn care in Florida, especially for St. Augustine grass, a popular warm-season turfgrass known for its lush, green appearance. Proper fertilization, weed control, and general maintenance during this season are essential for promoting healthy growth and maintaining a vibrant lawn throughout the year. We service all of Volusia, Flagler, Orange, Lake and Orange counties.

What kind of grass do

Central and eastern Florida are characterized by a warm and humid climate, which is conducive to the growth of various warm-season grasses. Some common grass types found in this region include:

  1. St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum): St. Augustinegrass is one of the most popular turfgrass species in Florida due to its ability to thrive in warm, humid conditions and its tolerance of partial shade. It has broad, coarse leaves and forms a dense, lush turf when properly maintained.
  2. Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum): Bahiagrass is a low-maintenance turfgrass commonly found in central and eastern Florida. It has a coarse texture and is well-adapted to sandy soils and drought conditions. Bahiagrass is often used for pastures, roadsides, and low-maintenance lawns.
  3. Zoysiagrass (Zoysia spp.): Zoysiagrass is a warm-season turfgrass that is gaining popularity in central and eastern Florida due to its tolerance of heat, drought, and foot traffic. It has a fine texture and forms a dense, weed-resistant turf when properly cared for.
  4. Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon): Bermudagrass is a warm-season turfgrass commonly used for sports fields, golf courses, and residential lawns in central and eastern Florida. It has a fine texture and excellent wear tolerance but requires regular maintenance, including mowing, watering, and fertilization.
  5. Centipedegrass (Eremochloa ophiuroides): Centipedegrass is a low-maintenance turfgrass that thrives in the acidic, sandy soils of central and eastern Florida. It has a coarse texture and light green color and is well-suited to low-input lawn care programs.
  6. Carpetgrass (Axonopus spp.): Carpetgrass is a low-maintenance turfgrass often found in wet, low-lying areas of central and eastern Florida. It has a coarse texture and spreads by stolons, forming a dense, weed-resistant turf in moist conditions.

These are just a few examples of the common grass types found in central and eastern Florida. Each grass species has its own unique characteristics and maintenance requirements, so homeowners should consider factors such as climate, soil type, and intended use when selecting the best grass for their lawn.

Fertilization: What is it all about ?

Fertilizing St. Augustine grass in the spring is essential for replenishing nutrients lost during the winter months and stimulating vigorous growth. It is recommended to apply a balanced fertilizer with a nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (N-P-K) ratio tailored to the specific needs of St. Augustine grass, such as 16-4-8 or 15-0-15. This should be done early in the spring, typically around late March to early April, when the grass begins its active growth phase.

When fertilizing, it’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding application rates and timing to avoid over-fertilization, which can lead to excessive growth, thatch buildup, and environmental pollution. Additionally, applying a slow-release fertilizer can provide a steady supply of nutrients to the grass over an extended period, promoting balanced growth and minimizing nutrient runoff.

Lawn Fertilizer Numbers

The numbers on a bag of lawn fertilizer represent the nutrient content of the fertilizer, typically expressed as the percentage by weight of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) contained in the product. This is often referred to as the fertilizer’s N-P-K ratio.

  • Nitrogen (N): Nitrogen is essential for promoting lush, green foliage and vigorous growth. It plays a vital role in photosynthesis, chlorophyll production, and overall plant health. A higher percentage of nitrogen in the fertilizer promotes rapid leaf and stem growth.
  • Phosphorus (P): Phosphorus is crucial for root development, flowering, and fruiting. It aids in energy transfer within the plant and is essential for seed formation and overall plant growth and development.
  • Potassium (K): Potassium contributes to overall plant health and vigor by promoting disease resistance, drought tolerance, and stress resilience. It helps regulate water movement within the plant and plays a role in enzyme activation and photosynthesis.

For example, a fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 10-5-5 contains 10% nitrogen, 5% phosphorus, and 5% potassium by weight. This ratio indicates that the fertilizer is higher in nitrogen, which is ideal for promoting lush foliage growth, with moderate levels of phosphorus and potassium to support root development and overall plant health.

Understanding the N-P-K ratio on a bag of lawn fertilizer helps homeowners select the right product for their specific lawn care needs, whether they’re focusing on promoting growth, enhancing root development, or maintaining overall plant health.

Weed Control:

Weeds can quickly invade St. Augustine grass lawns if left unchecked, competing for nutrients, water, and sunlight, and detracting from the overall appearance of the lawn. Spring is an ideal time to implement weed control measures to prevent weed infestations and maintain a pristine lawn.

Selective herbicides formulated specifically for St. Augustine grass can effectively target common weeds while minimizing damage to the turfgrass. It’s important to identify the types of weeds present in the lawn and choose herbicides that target those specific species. Pre-emergent herbicides can be applied early in the spring to prevent weed seeds from germinating, while post-emergent herbicides can be used to target existing weed growth.

However, caution must be exercised when using herbicides to avoid damaging the St. Augustine grass. Carefully read and follow the instructions on the herbicide label, and consider spot-treating weeds rather than applying herbicides uniformly across the entire lawn to minimize the risk of damage.

Common Weeds

Several common weeds can invade St. Augustine grass lawns in Florida. Some of the most prevalent weeds include:

  1. Crabgrass (Digitaria spp.): Crabgrass is an annual grass weed that thrives in warm, sunny conditions. It can quickly spread and compete with St. Augustine grass for resources, forming dense patches in the lawn.
  2. Doveweed (Murdannia nudiflora): Doveweed is a broadleaf perennial weed that can rapidly invade St. Augustine grass lawns, especially in areas with poor drainage or excessive moisture. It produces small, white flowers and spreads through rhizomes and seeds.
  3. Florida Betony (Stachys floridana): Florida Betony, also known as Rattlesnake Weed, is a broadleaf perennial weed with square stems and tuberous roots. It forms dense patches in the lawn and can be challenging to control.
  4. Dollarweed (Hydrocotyle spp.): Dollarweed, also known as Pennywort, is a perennial broadleaf weed that thrives in moist, shady areas. It has round, coin-shaped leaves and spreads through creeping stems and seeds.
  5. Chickweed (Stellaria media): Chickweed is an annual broadleaf weed that can quickly colonize St. Augustine grass lawns, especially in cool, moist conditions. It has small, oval-shaped leaves and produces tiny white flowers.
  6. Spurge (Euphorbia spp.): Spurge is an annual broadleaf weed that forms low-growing mats in the lawn. It has small, oval-shaped leaves and produces milky sap when broken. Spurge can spread rapidly and compete with St. Augustine grass for resources.
  7. Clover (Trifolium spp.): Clover is a broadleaf weed with trifoliate leaves and small white or pink flowers. It thrives in nitrogen-deficient soils and can quickly colonize St. Augustine grass lawns, especially in areas with poor soil fertility.

These are just a few examples of the common weeds that can infest St. Augustine grass lawns in Florida. Proper weed identification and targeted control measures, such as selective herbicide applications and cultural practices, are essential for effectively managing weed infestations and maintaining a healthy lawn.

General Lawn Maintenance:

In addition to fertilization and weed control, several general maintenance practices are essential for the health and vitality of St. Augustine grass lawns during the spring months.

Regular mowing is crucial to promote healthy growth and maintain an attractive appearance. St. Augustine grass should be mowed to a height of 2.5 to 4 inches, with no more than one-third of the grass blade being removed during each mowing session. This helps to encourage deep root growth, improve drought tolerance, and reduce weed infestations.

Proper irrigation is also essential during the spring, especially during periods of dry weather. St. Augustine grass has moderate water requirements and benefits from deep, infrequent watering to encourage deep root growth. Watering early in the morning allows the grass to dry quickly, reducing the risk of disease.

Additionally, regular dethatching, aerating, and overseeding can help maintain soil health, improve nutrient uptake, and promote dense, healthy turfgrass growth.

Spring fertilization, weed control, and general maintenance are critical aspects of lawn care for St. Augustine grass in Florida. By following proper practices and implementing appropriate techniques, homeowners can ensure their lawns remain healthy, vibrant, and weed-free throughout the growing season, enhancing the beauty and value of their outdoor spaces.

What can we do ?

Having a professional lawn fertilizer company like Dave’s Pest Control can provide a range of services to homeowners to help them achieve and maintain a healthy, vibrant lawn. Some of the services we offer include:

  1. Customized Fertilization Programs: Professional lawn fertilizer companies can develop customized fertilization programs tailored to the specific needs of the homeowner’s lawn, taking into account factors such as grass type, soil conditions, climate, and seasonal variations. These programs typically involve regular applications of balanced fertilizers to provide the necessary nutrients for optimal grass growth and health.
  2. Weed Control: In addition to fertilization, lawn fertilizer companies often offer weed control services to help homeowners manage and prevent weed infestations in their lawns. This may include the application of pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides targeted at common weeds found in Florida lawns, such as crabgrass, dollarweed, and clover.
  3. Pest Control: Professional lawn fertilizer companies may also offer pest control services to help homeowners manage common lawn pests, such as chinch bugs, grubs, and armyworms. This may involve the application of insecticides or other pest control products to eliminate pests and prevent damage to the lawn.
  4. Soil Testing and Analysis: Many lawn fertilizer companies offer soil testing and analysis services to assess the nutrient levels, pH, and other characteristics of the soil in the homeowner’s lawn. This information allows them to develop customized fertilization programs and recommend any necessary soil amendments to optimize grass growth and health.
  5. Aeration and Overseeding: Lawn fertilizer companies may offer aeration and overseeding services to help homeowners improve soil compaction, promote root growth, and enhance turf density. Core aeration involves removing small plugs of soil from the lawn to improve air, water, and nutrient penetration, while overseeding helps thicken the turf and fill in bare or thin areas.
  6. Lawn Consultation and Education: Professional lawn fertilizer companies often provide lawn consultation and education services to homeowners, offering advice on proper lawn care practices, watering schedules, mowing techniques, and other aspects of lawn maintenance. They may also offer tips for sustainable lawn care practices to promote environmental stewardship.

Overall, hiring a professional can save homeowners time and effort while ensuring that their lawn receives the proper care and maintenance it needs to thrive in the challenging Florida climate.

Call us today for a free estimate for your home, business or condominium.

If you see one more bug, Call Dave’s !


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