What to do now to keep your lawn and garden happy this spring.
Here in northeast Florida–and even in the rest of the country, or so I’m told–spring is just around the corner. But due to our area’s somewhat unique climate and fauna, getting your lawn and yard ready for spring–and summer–isn’t quite as straightforward as it is for some of our neighbors to the north.
The St. Augustine Lawn
St. Augustine Grass may be the most prevalent lawn in northeast Florida. It’s fairly heat tolerant and can stand up to salty, brackish water. It also does pretty well in the shade.
Some tips for keeping your St. Augustine lawn in top shape, courtesy of the University of Florida:
- Apply a complete fertilizer once you see the lawn starting to regrow, typically around March in these parts
- Preemergence herbicides can be applied around March 1, to help stave off trouble down the line
- Mow to about 3 inches, to encourage deeper rooting & greater drought tolerance
- Make sure your mower blade is sharp – St. Augustine Grass can be hard on blades, and a dull blade will shred, rather than cut, the grass
Zoysia grass has become increasingly popular in Jacksonville and northeast Florida. It may be a bit more cold tolerant than St. Augustine, and it flourishes in sandy soils and direct sunlight. It can also produce a lusher, thicker lawn that has more in common with lawns found up north than the thicker, pricklier St. Augustine.
If you have Zoysia grass, this University of Florida pamphlet is for you.
The first thing many of us do when we move to Florida is plant a palm tree or two in the yard. Having healthy palms is a combination of selecting the right palm for your climate and soil, and proper care and maintenance.
- Fertilization and watering are key, especially with sandy soils, or nutrient deficient soils
- University of Florida suggests an 8-2-12 fertilization mixture, such as Palm Gain, which can be found at many garden or home improvement stores
- Only remove dead fronds, and be sure not to damage the bark of the tree when doing so