I am obsessed with my lawn. I love it when it’s green, manicured and in perfect condition. A teeny brown patch can drive me mad and when it turned yellow, YES YELLOW, recently, I nearly freaked out.
I had done everything right with my Florida lawn. I water religiously, I keep it manicured, I talk to it. I mow more often than others, I fertilize my lawn and I remove weeds in good time.
So maybe I hadn’t done everything right. I started reading about lawns in Florida and you know, a bit of reading goes a long way. The weather plays a big part in gardening and too much heat, too much cold, and too much water can turn a lawn yellow. But I was making a few mistakes that were not weather related.
The good news is they could easily be rectified and get my grass back to bright green. Here are 7 things you can do so your lawn doesn’t go yellow.
1. Always maintain your garden.
Look you can work really hard at maintaining your garden and stuff still goes wrong. But, it is of vital importance that you maintain. Trim, cut, mow and water. It is often during the maintenance that you see a problem at the early stages. You might notice a small rusty patch of the lawn while you’re mowing. Luckily you’ve seen it early so you can take action early.
2. Do not overwater.
It’s very therapeutic standing outside in the garden with a hosepipe or moving the sprinkler from spot to spot. Many of us have irrigation systems that are automatic and it’s pleasurable to hear the sound of the water gushing and turning.
Be aware of how much you water your garden and don’t overwater. This can cause a lawn to go yellow. Water early in the morning and again in the cooler evening; never water in the heat of a sun or you will burn your plants. And you will turn your lawn yellow!
3. Be wary of chemicals and herbicides.
I only started using chemicals when my lawn turned yellow but then I used the wrong ones and it went even more yellow. I presumed I had a fungal disease but it wasn’t that. The chemicals I used to treat the fungus damaged my lawn even more.
If you don’t know what’s going on, rather get an expert to help you, or use the internet. And always, always try and use green products. Not always easy, I do know that.
4. Oops, fertilizer.
Do not be too liberal with that fertilizer. Follow the instructions very carefully, don’t just chuck it out onto your grass and hope for the best. Too much fertilizer will damage your grass and all the plants around it too.
We can be a bit obsessed with our lawns in Florida, caring for them in a way that is not always healthy. Try and use organic products wherever possible and if you have to use a fertilizer, don’t be too liberal with it.
5. Be on the lookout.
Keep an eye out. Look at your lawn with new appreciation! If the weather has been exceptionally hot, know that you will get dry patches or an entire dry lawn. If it has been very wet, the exact same thing may happen. Look at the color of the patches. If it is brown with somewhat orange edges, you probably have a fungus. If it grows quickly, it will need treatment.
Ask your landscaper if you have one, take a photograph and show the gardening shop, and treat it as quickly as you can. For starters, mow at the correct height. For most St. Augustine lawns that means the highest possible setting on the mower. Remove only one-third of the leaf blade every time you mow.
6. Disease starts at the roots.
Lawn disease always starts at the roots. There are various kinds, including all-root rot. Sometimes the best way to reduce this is to take all stress away from the grass. Water-light, water just enough and mow carefully.
You don’t want to shave your grass all the way down to the ground. And mow in a different direction each time. The length of the grass, by the way, depends on the type of grass you have.
7. Always use your lawn clippings.
People mow their lawn and then throw the cuttings away. Don’t! Leave them to mulch your entire garden and to put nutrients back into the soil. It’s the same with plants. If you’re clipping your vegetables, don’t throw away the cuttings.
Leave them to go back into the soil. You don’t need to dig them in, that is a lot of work, but leave them lying on top. They’ll work their own way under.
There is not too much we can do about the weather in Florida. It is often very very hot and for excessive amounts of time. Make sure your irrigation system is set for early am or for the evening when the watering actually makes a difference. If there are water restrictions, I am afraid we have to listen to them.
Use grey water whenever possible – water from the bath, the sink or the dishwasher to water your lawn. This is actually my next step. I want to install a grey water system so that I am not just smart economically but so that I can water my lawn even during a drought.
And if it rains a lot, there is not much we can do about that either. Have rain tanks in your garden though, they’re incredibly useful.
Shall we chat about Lawns in Florida? I would love to. Send me your tips and I will send you mine.