When it comes to managing your lawn in Southwest Florida, timing is everything. Southwest Florida’s wet/rainy season is in full swing. It’s rare to see a day without the probability of rain and severe thunderstorms in the forecast.
Lasting an average of six months, the wet season in Southwest Florida begins in May and runs through October. During these six months, witnessing 20 inches of rain in the blink of an eye isn’t a surprise. Even thunderstorms and lightning hit parts of Southwest Florida almost every afternoon during the rainy season. Considering all these harsh realities, the dream of watching the grass grow due to continuous rains could take months to come true. Don’t worry! We have come up with the top five tips to maintain the lawn during this rainy season in Southwest Florida. Now you don’t have to spend your entire week fantasizing about having a beautiful, fabulous, and perfect lawn.
Five secrets for achieving a healthy lawn during the rainy season in Southwest Florida:
- Choose slow-release nitrogen fertilizer: All fertilizers are labeled with three bold numbers, with the first number representing nitrogen, the second number representing phosphorus, and the third number representing potassium. Along with these three major nutrients, fertilizers also consist of a variety of other ingredients that a lawn needs to thrive. These will be labeled on the bag.
In general, look for a fertilizer where the nitrogen and potassium (first and third on the label) are in a ratio of 2:1. However, many homeowners consider choosing slow-release nitrogen fertilizer as it not only provides a long-lasting green-up, but also avoids burning your newly planted turf.
- Avoid fertilizing newly planted lawns at least for a month or two. The result is an active root system that easily absorbs the nutrients when you apply a complete slow-release nitrogen fertilizer.
- Most important, don’t overdo the fertilizer. Repeatedly using the fertilizer results in increased environmental and pest problems.
- Avoid using weed products and liquid/soluble nitrogen fertilizer.
- Leave a 10’ strip around the water when fertilizing near water. Also, avoid spreading the fertilizer on the sidewalk or driveway.
- Calculate application rates before applying fertilizer: Nitrogen application rates aren’t the same for every type of turf and location in Southwest Florida. That’s why it is necessary to determine the correct amount of fertilizer before applying it. To calculate nitrogen application rates for a specific location, visit the University of Florida/IFAS.
- One of the most important lawn management practices, mowing is the key to a perfect lawn with a healthy root system. Here are some tips to make your mowing life easier.
- Never consider removing more than 1/3rd of the leaf blade. Raise the mowing height, in case your lawn is under stress (traffic, shade, insect, or weed invasion).
- Avoid mowing the lawn when it’s wet. This action is bad for the grass and tough on the mower.
- Mowing the lawn with dull blades can tear away the grass blades, making the grass prone to insects and diseases.
- Keep vegetative debris, vegetative materials, and grass clippings away from water bodies, drains, ditches, and roadways.
- Grass clippings don’t contribute to thatch and return the organic matter back to the lawn. So consider leaving them on the ground.
Improper irrigation system practices lead to the damage of a beautiful lawn and are the reason why your Florida lawn doesn’t look as good as you’d like. Proper irrigation is important to maintaining the health of your Florida lawn during the rainy season.
- When to water: Overwatering could be just as bad as under-watering. Increased disease susceptibility, shorter root system and reduction in turf’s overall stress tolerance are some of the outcomes of overwatering your lawn. The best thing to do is to wait for your Florida lawn to tell you when to water. If the grass blades are turned into blue-grey color or the grass blades aren’t springing back (footprints are visible), the lawn is ready for watering.
The practice of watering the lawn less frequently encourages grass’ roots to go deep down in the soil. The factors that determine when to water the lawn are the type of soil, season, and the amount of shade in the yard.
- Water the proper amount: South Florida’s sand requires ¾” of water during a single irrigation cycle. Also, if you have an automatic irrigation system installing in your lawn, then take control of it using the following tips:
- Make sure your rain sensor is installed correctly to avoid overriding the system when enough rain has already taken place.
- Misaligned or broken sprinkler heads can waste the water as runoff and can also lead to improper water applications to the lawn.
- Irrigate only when the leaf blades start to fold in half (lengthwise).
Due to the harsh weather condition, we often come across lawn fungus and diseases in Southwest Florida. With the help of coastal irrigation, you can keep your yard healthy and prevent the occurrence of fungal diseases. Call coastal irrigation services today to ensure that overwatering does not become an issue while landscaping.