frost damage lawn

If you have lived in Florida all of your life, with our typically mild winters, you may not understand why your lawn turns brown. The truth is your lawn is in shock from the infrequent cold weather. It is completely natural for your lawn to go dormant in winter, decreasing the growth rate. If you want your lawn to stay healthy through the colder months and have the best chance of surviving without damage then winterizing is your best option. Proper lawn care for your Florida lawn in winter will speed up your lawn’s recovery in Spring.

As the cold months approach, your lawn begins to go into a state of dormancy. This means the grass will not grow as fast or be as green. With a lower growth rate, your lawn will need less mowing and watering. In our area of Florida and further North, grass is sure to become dormant and turn brown in the winter. If you have ever lived in South Florida, you know the turf may stay green but is not as actively growing as in the warmer seasons.

For optimum health for your lawn in winter, follow these winterization rules:

  • Proper Mow Height
  • Accurate Amount of Watering
  • Proper Amount of Fertilizer

Mowing your lawn correctly year round is crucial to its health. Especially during the winter months, your lawn must be mowed at an adequate height. It is recommended to be left taller than in the summer months to give some protection to the roots from the freezing weather. Typical lawns are of Saint Augustine or Bahia grass; the recommended winter mow heights are 3.5”-4”. Other grasses will require 2”-2.5” mow height. Water is not needed as much in the winter. Due to your grass’s growth rate halting, water is not required for growth. The heat is also not abundant in winter, so you can rule out evaporation or the chance of your grass scorched by the sun. An appropriate irrigation schedule is every 1-2 weeks. Your lawn will let you know when it needs water; look for your footprints in the grass after walking through it as this is a sure sign of a thirsty lawn. Residents in North and Central Florida lawns are not recommended for fertilization in winter. If fertilizer is used, be sure to utilize one with low nitrogen content and a higher potassium content which can be beneficial during the recovery period in spring.

After the freeze period, your lawn may appear as dead. Take into account that the lawn has endured severe cold weather in which almost all plants, grass, or trees react to the same. Many residents are in fear the lawn has died and try to save it by fertilizing. Fertilizing your lawn after a freeze may cause more damage than good. The spring weather will slowly nurture the grass roots activating the natural cycle of coming out of dormancy. Once new growth begins, your lawn will back to normal in no time.

Need help getting your Palm Harbor lawn through the Winter? Give Assure Green a call today at (727) 797-4040 to learn more about our services and to schedule a free consultation.