Now that the rainy season of summer has passed us, it’s time to prepare your Florida lawn for the drier months ahead. Fall in Central Florida means less rain, more sun even with shorter days and sustained warm temperatures with less humidity — a perfect mix for quickly drying out your lawn if you aren’t careful. Prevent potential lawn disasters by reading our tips on how to prepare your Florida lawn for fall!
When Temperatures Drop
It’s very likely that St. Augustine grass makes up your Florida lawn. This grass grows especially well year-round in subtropical climates. However, it still needs special care and attention in order to stay that luscious green throughout all seasons. October in Florida still sees many warm days on average, but soon the cool fronts will start really bringing a sense of autumn. Prepare your lawn in the fall so it will last through winter.
Maintain your lawn in the fall by keeping up your regular mowing practices as long as your grass continues growing. Cooler temperatures will inevitably begin to slow down the growth rate of your grass until it becomes dormant for the winter, which is when you can start mowing less frequently. You can learn more about proper mowing techniques in our previous blog, “Weeding and Feeding Your Florida Lawn.”
Despite a decrease in the frequency in which you need to mow your lawn, it’s still important to make sure it is watered periodically, especially when the weather has been dry, warm, and/or windy. Prepare for weeds by applying pre-emergent herbicides to your lawn once the average soil temperature of your area drops to about 70 ºF. Afterward, you can apply post-emergent herbicides as the need arises. Thankfully, a lawn with St. Augustine grass is not likely to experience any threatening insect activity during the cooler seasons.
Should You Seed in Colder Temperatures?
Overseeding is the practice of planting a type of temporary grass over your current lawn in order to help it maintain its lush appearance year-round. For Florida lawns, ryegrass is especially common for overseeding due to its cost-efficiency and quick growth rate.
Prepare your lawn for overseeding by first raking and mowing your lawn. Afterward, you can sow it once high daytime temperatures have reached the mid- to low-70s. If you choose to overseed your Central Florida lawn, you will need to water and mow it with the same frequency as if it were spring. The warm temperatures of actual spring will naturally make the grass used for overseeding die, thus allowing your primary grass to regain its thickness once again.
Testing Soil is Necessary
Fertilizing is the last important step to ensuring your Florida lawn stays healthy in the fall and winter. However, you can’t put just any fertilizer down on your grass and hope it will do the trick. Every lawn has specific needs depending on your soil, location and lawn care practices. This is why it is necessary to first test your soil before purchasing a grass fertilizer. Testing your soil will reveal the specific nutrients it needs, as well as how much of those nutrients are needed to stay healthy.
October is recommended as the latest time of year you should fertilize your lawn in Central Florida, as waiting too late into the fall or winter could make your grass too sensitive to cold temperatures. The only time you should fertilize your St. Augustine grass later than October is if you choose to overseed your lawn, generally once in December and once in February before spring returns.
A fertilizer high in potassium is likely to best for October, and excess nitrogen in fertilizers should be avoided when possible in order to keep large patch fungi at bay. However, every lawn’s soil will be different and will require some variation to these generalizations. Testing your soil will help you save money and cultivate a healthier lawn at the same time.
Your Central Florida Lawn Experts
Our Central Florida lawn care experts with Daniel’s Lawn Service and Pressure Washing Inc. can help prepare your lawn for the fall and winter months ahead. See our full list of lawn care services that will keep your lawn beautiful and healthy all year long, and call us to schedule your lawn care appointment!