Best Practices in Winter for Your Florida Lawn

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Winterize Your Florida Lawn

frost, damage, grass, st augustine

Not all Florida residents understand why their lawn turns brown in the winter. What is happening is your lawn is going into shock from the infrequent cold weather. Turf in Florida naturally goes dormant in the winter decreasing the growth rate. Winterizing your lawn will be beneficial to its health throughout the cold season helping its chance of survival without damage or disease. Preparing your lawn with the proper lawn care is also recommended to speed up your lawns recovery in spring.

As the cold months approach, your lawn begins to go into a state of dormancy. This means the grass will not grow as fast or be as green. With a lower growth rate, your lawn will need less mowing and watering. In Northern and Central Florida, grass is sure to become dormant and turn brown in the winter. If you’re in South Florida, your turf may stay green but is not as actively growing as in the warmer seasons.

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For optimum health for your lawn in winter, follow the rules for winterizing your lawn: proper mow height, accurate amount of watering, and proper amount of fertilizer.

frost damaged grass, florida

Mowing your lawn correctly year round is crucial to its health. Especially during the winter months, your lawn must be mowed at an adequate height. It is recommended to be left taller than in the summer months to give some protection to the roots from the freezing weather. Typical lawns are of Saint Augustine or Bahia grass; the recommended winter mow heights are 3.5”-4”. Other grasses will require 2”-2.5” mow height. Water is not needed as much in the winter. Due to your grass’s growth rate halting, water is not required for growth. The heat is also not abundant in winter, so you can rule out evaporation or the chance of your grass scorched by the sun. An appropriate irrigation schedule is every 1-2 weeks. Your lawn will let you know when it needs water; look for your footprints in the grass after walking through it as this is a sure sign of a thirsty lawn.  Residents in North and Central Florida lawns are not recommended for fertilization in winter. If fertilizer is used, be sure to utilize one with low nitrogen content and a higher potassium content which can be beneficial during the recovery period in spring.

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frost recovery

After the freeze period, your lawn may appear as dead. Take into account that the lawn has endured severe cold weather in which almost all plants, grass, or trees react to the same. Many residents are in fear the lawn has died and try to save it by fertilizing. Fertilizing your lawn after a freeze may cause more damage than good. The spring weather will slowly nurture the grass roots activating the natural cycle of coming out of dormancy. Once new growth begins, your lawn will back to normal in no time.


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About Brian Reynolds

Hi, I'm Brian, a State Certified Operator at Reynolds Pest Management, Inc., certified in Pest Control, Lawn Care, and Termite Control services in the State of Florida. I love sharing facts and tips on pest control problems we may encounter.

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