Winter Lawn Care In South Florida

8 Grass Care Tips for a Healthy Lawn

Cool Season Grass Care For South Florida-grass-mowing
Grass Mowing

A well-maintained lawn is a show stopper and is one of the many high lights of a beautiful garden or landscape, the beauty of maintaining a healthy lawn turf is not only the beauty it provides but a well-maintained lawn can increase your property’s value. I have worked on many lawn care projects and have seen what can happen even when paying attention to the smallest detail.

The time you invest now will pay off in huge ways, we have outlined eight lawn care tips that are simple but effective in helping you to have a well-maintained lawn. These lawn care tips have been implemented on many home lawn care services (residential) and a larger (commercial) scale. Why hire a professional lawn care service when you can implement these same methods that will not only cultivate a healthy lawn but also help you save your hard-earned dollars?

1. Rake the Leaves for Lawn Turf Health

Allowing a build-up of leaves presents two issues, disease, and the harbourage of lawn pests, during the cooler months and with less sunlight there is a build-up of moisture especially during rainfall that will allow grass to become matted with leaves followed by leaf decay. Without proper air circulation will encourage disease so it’s important to remove leaves, once the leaves are removed can be placed in your compost and around flower beds, the trunk of trees, and shrubs.

The leaves can be used as mulch to suppress weeds along with adding nutrients to the soil as it decomposes, during the colder months garden pests will seek shelter (overwinter) under leaf litter. Raking leaves from your lawn will remove their hiding place or harbourage that will discourage them from your turf.

2. Lawn Weed Removal

Weeds will not only distract from your garden by destroying its beauty but will compete with garden plants for water, sunlight, and nutrients. Weeds are also known to encourage the presence of garden pests and diseases. Putting a weeding program in place will lead to a healthy lawn, during the winter months when grass slows down from growing is the perfect opportunity for weeds to grow and take over.

It’s best to keep your garden and lawn area weed-free and stay on top of weeds by being consistent, don’t allow weeds to spread or get too big which can be a tedious job when seeking to remove them. Dandelions (weeds) are known to choke the roots of grass so don’t give these weeds a chance but weed them out as soon as possible.

3. Cutting Your Lawn Turf

Cutting your lawn too often and too short can cause it to get stress, when this happens can lead to disease and the infestation of insects and weeds. Mow your lawn only when needed and at the proper cutting height.

4. The Removal of Thatch

Thatch is a loose intermingled layer of living and dead stems, shoots, and roots that develops between the zone of green vegetation and the soil surface. To simplify it thatch buildup is a brown layer of dead grass below the green blades. When removing thatch there is a special tool or rake that is made for thatch removal, care should be taken because if thatch is removed incorrectly or if the right technique is not used can lead to turf injury.

How to remove thatch?

Because thatch removal can cause grass injury if done incorrectly we have outlined what’s needed for this process. A dethatching rake can be used to dethatch a small lawn but if a large lawn then you may need to rent a dethatcher known as a power rake, verticutter, or vertical cutter. If you don’t know how to use a dethatcher ask the rental company to give directions.

  • Before dethatching your lawn ensure especially if using or renting a dethatcher walk your lawn and mark areas that have shallow buried utility lines, irrigation lines, and or sprinkler heads for your safety to avoid expenses because of damages
  • Don’t fertilize before dethatching, also before dethatching procedure mow your lawn to half its height
  • Use a dethatching rake like a regular rake, dig the tines into the thatch, and pull it upwards. This will help to lose and remove the buildup. As you rake you should be able to feel and see the thatch separating from the soil
  • When using a power rake, verticutter, or vertical cutter the blades should be adjusted to cut no deeper than 1/2 inch into the soil
  • Your lawn will look ragged after the dethatching procedure, the thatch that’s loosened up can be used with a grass or leaf rake
  • Any bare spots that are left because of dethatching can be reseeded
  • Your lawn can now be fertilized and placed on a regular watering program to recover

5. Fretilize at the Right Time

One of the great things about living in South Florida is you can fertilize your lawn year-round, but as you feed your lawn read and follow the manufacturer’s directions on the label for the best results. A fertilizer that’s formulated for lawn turf is ideal

6. Lawn Water Management

Even during the cool season lawn turf still needs water, make sure not to overwater because lawn turf uses less water. If you installed a sprinkler system adjust the run time so as not to overwater or applying water manually can help as well depending on the size of the lawn. Overwatering will lead to disease and root rot.

7. Monitor and Control Lawn Pests

Keep a close eye for lawn pests, these pests if left unchecked can cause serious damage, for example, brown patches, and bare spots, the names of some of these pests are sod webworms, cutworms, armyworms, mole crickets, cinch bugs, grub worms, etc… The key to managing lawn pests is the proper identification of pests, the correct pesticides, and the proper application of pesticides. For the correct use of pesticides, it’s best to read and follow the manufacturer’s directions.

8. Overseeding Your Lawn

Keep your lawn turf healthy looking even during the winter months with the practice of overseeding your lawn with temporary cool season grass seeds.  This method involves spreading cool-season grass seeds over your lawn turf during late fall and early spring. Unlike North and Central Florida, South Florida lawns may not need over-seeding because lawn turf in South Florida typically stays green year-round.

Names of cool season grass are annual ryegrass, perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, creeping bentgrass, creeping red fescue, tall fescue, etc. North Florida lawns should be reseeded from October to November, Central Florida lawns should be reseeded from October to early December and South Florida lawns should only be reseeded in areas that are free of frost.

The final word on winter lawn care In South Florida

Keep your lawn growing healthy with these helpful tips, you will be happy with the results as your lawn turf goes to work for you with its lush green growth. Taking care of a lawn does not have to be difficult it is all a matter of knowing how. You have come to the right place as your lawn becomes the talk of the neighborhood because the grass is greener on the other side of the fence why not let it be yours?


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About the author

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Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.