The cold temperatures have begun to slow down the growth of many lawns. In an effort to provide the proper nutrient level in your lawn and to help reduce the stress caused by low temperatures, we will be making an application of Liquid K (liquid potassium) on this final Turf Quality Management (TQM) treatment for 2014. This application will also include spot treating for weeds and disease as needed. The term “winterizer” means different things to different people. However, potassium is the nutrient needed by the lawn at this time of year and this is our “winterizer” fertilizer application.
Potassium fertilization at this time of year promotes root growth and thicker cell walls without promoting plant growth. This strengthening of the root system will improve your lawn’s ability to handle the stress of cold temperatures during the winter and provide the proper foundation for a healthier lawn in the spring. Please water in this application.
Winter shrub treatment
We have had many calls regarding scale insects on shrubs in the past few weeks. Due to the amount of active scale we are now beginning our Winter Pro Shrub treatment. This application contains Horticultural oil to help control many shrub damaging insects. If you are planning to do any landscaping at this time please consider the change in weather. Some of our commonly used ornamentals are not able to tolerate freezing temperatures. With colder temperatures the plants may require extra care such as protecting from frost with frost cloths or blankets.
Minimizing Winter Damage in Our Lawns
Most warm season grasses, such as St. Augustine Grass, have poor cold tolerance ratings. In North Florida lawns will go dormant or semi-dormant during the winter depending on the temperature. If we have several cold nights and cooler temperatures during the day followed by light frost, the lawn will be conditioned to survive. However, when sudden or extended periods of low temperatures and heavy frost occur, the damage to St. Augustine lawns can be severe.
Cultural conditions that favor cold injury to turf include: poor drainage, compacted soil, excessive thatch, excessive nitrogen fertilization, and mowing to closely.
To help in minimizing winter damage to your lawn we recommend the following:
1. Winter Watering – lawns require less water in the winter than during summer. DON’T STOP WATERING however because the root systems still need adequate moisture. One application of 3/4 inch every 7 to 14 days should be sufficient if we do not receive adequate rainfall. If the lawn receives more than this amount of water, diseases such as a Large Patch may develop.
2. Mowing – mow at a height of 3 to 4 inches to create longer leaf tissue and heavier canopy for a warmer microenvironment for the roots. This will encourage root growth.
3. Thatch – lightly rake out heavily thatched areas and add 1/4 to ½ inch of topsoil before winter cold arrives. Doing so helps to prevent the roots/runners in this area from freezing.
4. Soil Compaction – Call and arrange for our Lawn Aeration Service. To learn more go to our YouTube channel.
5. Fall Lawn Renovations – any sod or plugs that were put down in the last several months will require extra TLC as their root systems will be shallow and more susceptible to cold injury. If possible wait until Spring to repair any damaged areas as the money and time you spend now will be wasted by damage from the cold.
6. During a Freeze – Don’t water the lawn during a freeze this may do more damage and cause ice to form on sidewalks creating hazards. Keep off any turf that has Frost or is frozen, traffic from people, pets, or equipment like lawnmowers can cause severe damage. Wait until the sun thaws out the grass.
Aeration and Lime Service
we are currently providing our annual lawn aeration service to help with nutrient uptake and compaction issues along with many other benefits. We will begin to provider annual lime application in January. This application helps to adjust the pH of the soil to maximize usage of nutrients within the grass plants.