Winter lawn care in Florida this year may require some alternative thinking, in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Flooding, debris and damaged sprinkler systems have been experienced by many homeowners, leaving their lawns in a bad way.
Don’t make the mistake of neglecting your lawn this winter, assuming it’ll grow back perfectly alone. Put a bit of effort in and you’ll notice stunning, luscious, green grass come spring and summer.
Remember, Florida is a bit of an outlier to the rest of the U.S., so be careful that you’re not reading advice for regions that will be preparing for snow!
Top Florida Winter Lawn Care Tips After Hurricane Ian!
1. Repair Flooding
Whether your lawn suffered minor or severe flooding, you need to repair the damage. The most common type of lawn flood damage is a deposit of sediment over the surface. In more severe cases, the easiest answer is to lay new sod.
- Wait until the water has drained and the ground is dry before walking on it.
- Remove any debris, leaves and sediment from the surface.
- Review the situation:
- Are there bare areas?
- Have weeds grown?
- Does the lawn look salvageable with seeding, or will it be easier to install new sod?
- Aerate the soil to drain water that isn’t draining away.
- If the ground is dry and the grass is long, mow the lawn to stimulate grass growth and lawn recovery – do not remove more than one-third of the grass height.
2. Repair Ponding
Any ponds that may have formed during the flooding may require a bit more effort to drain. You can either embrace these new features or tackle them head-on by installing drainage and irrigation to avoid these problems again in the future.
Keep Your Lawn Watered
Florida winter lawn care required watering. Rainfall is a bit unusual compared to the rest of the country. We get most of our rain in the summer, so you still need to get the sprinklers working in winter.
Without water, your lawn will quickly turn dormant. Keep it watered and don’t let the soil dry out for long!
Give your lawn 1/2″ of water every 2-3 days or so all winter. That’s around 1-1.15″ of water from your sprinkler system.
Water early in the mornings to prevent mildew growth overnight and evaporation during the afternoon.
Fight of Weeds
Here in Florida, weeds love winter. Applying some pre-emergent herbicides to your lawn can stop weed seeds from germinating.
Ideally, you want to lay this down in October or November but it’s never too late.
Once they start growing, the war is on. Consider a pump sprayer and a dose of weed killer, even if your lawn is dormant. Always be spraying, unless it’s going to be freezing temperatures in the following 2 days.
Cold weather and fertilizer don’t mix well, and can actually damage your grass – so it’s advised to stop when the temperatures drop.
However, if you’re in a warmer region of Florida you can continue as normal and you’ll see the benefits!
- North Florida: Fertilize the lawn every 30 days until it goes dormant. Don’t restart the process until it’s growing again.
- South Florida: Keep it fertilized every 30 days!
Check Your Sprinkler and Irrigation System
Florida winter lawn care is the best time to check over your sprinkler and irrigation system. These parts need to be moving freely and there should be no leaking pipes – for your lawn’s sake and your water bill’s sake!
Secondly, Hurricane Ian may have damaged your sprinkler heads with dirt and debris getting in. That can cause them to spray incorrectly, leading to under and overwatered areas.
Check if they look clogged or damaged and if required, install new sprinkler heads.
Hire the Clearwater Sprinkler Professionals
All Phaze Irrigation is an award-winning Florida sprinkler and irrigation company based in Clearwater.
Our team can check your property and advise you on the best watering schedules and plans based on your particular garden layout. We can also check over your sprinkler and irrigation system to make sure it’s not vulnerable to freeze damage.