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WINTER GRASS

​Winter in Florida: What it means for your lawn care

We mentioned dormant grass in our last blog post and thought we'd expand on it. 'Tis the season after all! Dormant grass comes around this time of year. It can start towards the end of November and can last until the beginning of March. If you've noticed that your grass isn't growing as fast as normal, or that it doesn't require as much water, you might be dealing with dormant grass.

So what exactly is dormancy? Dormancy is a mechanism that grasses use to avoid conditions where inadequate moisture is available for growth. The most noticeable aspect of dormancy is the brownish-tan color of the leaf blades. Although we typically experience dormant grass during winter months, this can occur under drought-like conditions as well.

We've put together three tips to help with dormancy and lawn care during winter months.

Proper mowing
The amount of care and attention your lawn needs changes throughout the year. Knowing how to care for your lawn is crucial to its overall health. During the winter months, it is recommended that your grass is left higher than any other time of year. The reasoning behind this is that the height can give some protection to the roots from freezing weather. Typical lawns in Florida are Saint Augustine or Bahia grass. Their recommended heights are 3.5"-4".

Fertilization
Warm climate-grasses (Buffalo, Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine, Blue Grama, Bahia) thrive in areas with mild winters and hot summers. They will go dormant during the winter. Unlike cool climate grasses, fertilization should occur in the late spring to early summer to encourage the active growth phase. Fertilizing in fall or winter will only encourage the growth of weeds. Consider having your soil tested to see what's present and what's lacking. Kits are available at your county Extension Office

Cut back on watering
As we've already discussed, during dormancy periods, grass requires less watering. Try adjusting your timer to water once a week during this period. Not only are you helping your grass, but you're also saving yourself money on your water bill. The only exception to this is if you have recently planted new grass. If so, to prevent desiccation, newly planted lawns or sod should be watered during this period.

For more information on irrigation days and times and water saving ideas please visit our Ways to Conserve and our Water Blog page at www.tohowater.com.