Gardening Magazine

How to Prepare Your Central Florida Lawn for Fall

By Shurby
How to Prepare Your Central Florida Lawn for Fall

Like most people, you may not realize your lawn care regime might be missing a step that could greatly benefit your lawn's health. The step is aeration. It's okay if you've never heard of it before - since it's not widely necessary with Florida's sandy soil - but the process of loosening up your soil can make a huge difference in the way your yard looks come springtime. There are a couple of reasons your yard could use aeration - such as large lawn equipment, heavy traffic flow or a newly constructed home. These situations are known to compress soil tightly together. Aeration does two things : It helps loosen compacted grassroots and opens up the ground so it is more receptive to moisture, fertilizer and seed. Aerating the soil during your fall landscaping will give it a healthier start for the following spring . You can learn more about aeration by reading our blog post, " Why You Should Aerate Your Lawn ."

  • Start with moist soil (wait 24 hours after a rainstorm or irrigation).
  • Choose a tool or a machine that actually removes "plugs" of soil from the lawn, rather than making a hole in the ground. That causes the surrounding area of the hole to compact roots and grass even more, thus defeating the purpose of aerating your lawn.
  • Since most machines and tools only cover a small percentage of soil surface, multiple passes might be necessary.
  • Once the plugs have dried, they can be broken up and spread over your lawn for a clean appearance (the plugs can be broken up using your lawn mower or by pounding them with the back of a rake).

After aerating your lawn, the next step would be to have your soil tested to determine the kind of nutrients it needs and the balance of the pH level. This will help you to select the proper fertilizer that will support the growth of your plants and flowers.

Florida soil is naturally lacking in nutrients due to its general sandy nature, but that can be fixed with a little fertilizer. October is the last recommended month to fertilize prior to winter. Depending on your plants, you might need to fertilize more often than once a year, so make sure to research the care that your plants need. It's also important to follow the manufacturer's directions for use for the best results. Look for a brand that contains a slow release of nitrogen and potassium, and has a nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium ratio of 16-4-8.

Control Weeds and Insect Pests

After applying your pre-emergent, you may have to pull out a couple of stragglers after the initial application, but if rampant weed growth continues, you will require the help of a lawn service professional . The best time to apply a herbicide or pre-emergent is when the weather reaches 60 degrees Fahrenheit or lower for four consecutive nights, around late September and into October. For more advice about dealing with weeds, read our blog post, " Weeding and Feeding Your Florida Lawn ."

When it comes to recognizing if you have an insect infestation, look for brown patches or any discoloration in your yard. Some of the insects to watch out for during the cooler months include:

Perform Seeding and Overseeding

While overseeding may sound like a bad thing because of its name, it actually refers to the process of spreading seeds the ground - typically over a patch of thinning grass. This process reduces the rate of aging and the decline of the turf itself. Overseeding is used in conjunction with aeration because it allows the seeds to reach closer to the already existing root system, providing the seed-to-soil contact that allows seeds to germinate and sprout.

Homeowners often ask if they can just toss a handful of seeds over a thinning patch, but without aeration, the results won't yield much due to the seeds not being able to germinate properly. Overseeding helps retain the soil's moisture, return nutrients to the grass and prevents weeds from growing due to the thicker grass. It's also very cost-effective while producing amazing results if the process is done correctly.

Seeding occurs when you have an expansive area of bare or fresh soil to work with rather than a thinning, already turfed patch. Whether the soil is fresh or bare, seeding works great to rejuvenate the area with a vibrant area of grass. A good rule of thumb is that the less seeds you use, the longer it will take to knit in and the longer it takes to knit in, the more susceptible to weeds your lawn will be.

Plan Ahead and Plant for Spring

Plants: Herbs/Vegetables:

Ensuring your yard is properly maintained and taken care of is a big job that requires time and commitment, not to mention a lot of time on your knees, to keep your design flowing all year long. If you dream of your own slice of Central Florida paradise, but don't have the time or energy to keep up with it, call our lawn experts at Daniel's Lawn Service & Pressure Washing . We provide professional lawn care and landscaping services throughout Central Florida, including the Seminole County cities of Lake Mary, Longwood and Sanford. We have decades of experience treating Florida lawns for their needs in all seasons, and we would love to treat yours, too! Our full-service company provides landscape design, tree installation, tree trimming, yard maintenance, pressure washing and so much more. today!

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