Taking care of your King Ranch turf grass is important. But that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated or take huge amounts of time. As the old saying goes, “work smarter, not harder.” With that in mind, let’s look at a few lawn care practices to help your grass look like you want it to look.
When it comes to fertilizing your turf, there are a few key points to remember. The first is to fertilize correctly. Improper fertilization can not only damage your grass, but it can also damage the environment. The University of Florida has some excellent guidance for property owners here.
Another point is to know your soil. Having it tested by your county extension services can help you get the correct amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous or potassium. Once again, using the improper amounts will not only damage the lawn you are trying to protect but can damage our fragile Florida ecosystem.
Lastly, timing is important when it comes to fertilizing. Residents of South Florida can apply fertilizer pretty much year-round, but those in Central and North Florida should only do it during spring, summer, and fall. The last fertilizer application should be around the end of September in North Florida and mid-October in Central Florida. We’ve discussed other points about fertilizing in another blog.
Mowing is more than just a way to keep your lawn looking neat and cared for. Good mowing practices help your lawn thrive. Conversely, bad mowing practices will damage your lawn and make it susceptible to pests or diseases.
Mowing height is one of the most common issues. Mowing too low, often called scalping, can cause stress to your turfgrass. For our zoysia grasses, we recommend cutting to 1.5” to 2” in height. St. Augustine grass can range between 2” to 4” depending on the variety, while Bermudagrass can range between ½” and 2” depending on the variety and application. Bahia is best between 3” to 4”. As a general rule, avoid removing more than 1/3 of the blade length. So if you miss a mowing or two, reduce the length gradually.
Most lawn care can be done with a rotary mower, although some varieties respond best to a reel mower. Click here for a discussion about the differences. In either case, keeping the blades sharp helps your cuts be less stressful to your lawn. Related to that, avoid mowing when it’s wet. Not only is slippery grass more dangerous to you, but wet clippings can prevent the blades from making the cleanest cuts.
Proper irrigation practices are more important than ever now. Restrictions on watering are common in Florida, so not only picking the right days, but the right times of the day are best practices. New turf has special considerations. You can read about those here.
Over-watering is a consideration. Too much water damages the grass by keeping the roots shallow. In the soils of North Florida, ½” of water per session is usually appropriate, while the sandy soils of South Florida require ¾” of water. During seasons of active growth, 2-3 sessions a week are the suggestion. When figuring out the amount of water, don’t forget to factor in rainfall.
Timing can be a factor too. Early morning hours are the best time in most cases. Too late in the morning and the water evaporates too quickly. Too late in the afternoon and the water may stay on the blades overnight, increasing the susceptibility to some diseases.
For more information on lawn care best practices from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Science, visit here.
King Ranch Florida Turfgrass is a full-cycle operation. We not only grow and harvest our different varieties of grass, but we will deliver and install your new grass as well. King Ranch Florida Turfgrass is proud of the environmentally-conscious “best management practices” farming policies it has implemented throughout its Florida operations. Contact us if you have questions about which variety of turfgrass will meet your needs and our experts will be happy to help you out.