When there are no leaves to rake, what do you do?
In Central Florida, caring for your lawn and garden is a little different than most of the country. We do not have to prepare, at least as thoroughly, for deep freezes or heavy snowfall. But, by October, sweltering summer temperatures begin to taper off and we enter the dry season. Your warm-weather plants may need extra care, as we get a break from our subtropical weather. The last thing you want to see come November is a dead lawn because temperatures dipped for three straight days. Florida landscaping ideas for the changing season tend to be a little bit different than most other regions.
So while your friends and family further north can pull from ample resources to treat their lawn, you have to dig a little deeper to find expert advice. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a few tips to help protect your landscape design, not only for the upcoming fall season but for years to come.
What a Florida Lawn Needs in Fall
#1 Start a Vegetable Garden
Did you know that fall is a perfect time to start a vegetable garden? Certain vegetables thrive in the cooler-but-not-actually-cold temperatures found in Florida’s Fall Season. Starting in October, begin planting broccoli, lettuce, carrots, radishes, or onions.
Be cautious, however, as the soil level may not be balanced for these cooler weather plants. Proper fertilization and tilling can help level out the soil making it a prime place to grow your vegetables. Remember to remove any dead or sickly plants from the area, if you used it in prior seasons.
#2 Check for Insect Damage
With summer temperatures waning off, insects are still high in population. Especially in your yard. It is important to keep your eyes on the signs of potential infestation. But be sure to recognize the signs of insect damage. Only a small number of lawn pests are actually catastrophic in nature.
Four of Florida’s ten most damaging pests: Fall Armyworms, Southern Chinch Bugs, Mole Crickets and sod webworms, are still very active at this time. Learn to recognize the signs of their presence, before dousing your lawn in off-the-shelf pest control products. If you notice circular discolored patches, small patches of soil above the grass, or intersecting brown patches, there is cause for concern. Be aware that there are specific products designed for the different sorts of lawn pests. Overdoing your pest control can damage the health of your lawn, often more than the pest themselves.
#3 Check Your Irrigation System
As it rained through most of July and August, perhaps some time has passed since you last watered your lawn. Going into the fall, you will want to make sure that your irrigation system is in working order. Double check that all necessary areas are getting proper coverage, and replace them as needed. You will want to water through October, at the very least.
#4 Watch for Winter Weeds
Cool-season weeds and other unwanted plants can start showing up in your lawn as early as October. Your best defense is to take precautions early. Once the weather drops to 60 degrees or lower for 4 consecutive nights, apply a preemergence herbicide to your lawn. Be sure to read the label of your herbicide carefully, as they are only effective (and safe) when used as directed. This application should protect your lawn for 6-12 weeks, on average.
If you do notice weeds start to pop up through the fall, pull them by hand instead of spraying them with a product. If weeds begin to grow out of control, speak to a lawn service for Florida landscaping ideas that will help cut down on the presence of weeds.
#5 Prepare for your final fertilization
As the days grow shorter and the nights grow cooler, the time draws near for the final application of fertilizer for that calendar year. For this application, use a fertilizer with little to no phosphorous, unless the lawn is in need of it. (You can verify this through a soil test.) For the longest-lasting results, choose a fertilizer with controlled-release nitrogen. For an even application, call a Lake Mary landscaping company for best results.
#6 Lay New Sod
Are some areas of your lawn looking patchy? Fall makes for a great time to fill in those spots with sod, and allow it to take root in calm temperatures with a low chance of drought conditions. Be sure to use high-quality sod, appropriate for our warmer climate. You’ll want it to look dense and healthy come spring time!
#7 Continue to Mow and Water
Florida grass will continue to grow far longer into the fall season than our friends farther North. Keep up with your mowing routine to keep your lawn happy and healthy. In late October to early November, do one final cut at a lower setting than normal. This will help to prevent damage to your lawn from cooler weather and fight lawn diseases.
Be sure to also keep an eye on your lawn’s water levels. You do not want to quit watering, as lawns need around an inch of water per week to stay healthy. However, cooler temperatures may lead to overwatering. Unless conditions are trending toward drier than not, reduce but do not halt your watering routine.
As fall approaches, schedules get busier and often times, lawns become neglected in the chaos that is back-to-school, holidays, and traveling relatives. Let experienced lawn care services Daniel’s Lawn Service ease your stress by handling your Florida landscaping ideas for Fall and beyond.