Florida Winter Lawn Tips
This winter season, Citrus County will experience cold and freezing temperatures.
Hardy Lawn, Happy Lawn
Residents should expect their lawn and landscape to experience some sort of dormancy. Following these best management practices will minimize cold damage.
First, refrain from applying nitrogen-containing fertilizers to grasses and plants that are not actively growing. Nitrogen fertilizer stimulates tender new growth that is easily damaged by winter frost and freezes. Additionally, nutrients are not fully absorbed by slow growing plants, resulting in pollution of the aquifer and local waterways.
Citrus County’s fertilizer ordinance restricts nitrogen fertilizer use from November through March.
Spring and fall are appropriate times to apply Potassium (K). Potassium is a macronutrient that plays a crucial role in regulating processes that improve cold hardiness, drought tolerance, and disease resistance. It also helps repair winter injury and summer nutrient depletion.
Reduce irrigation frequency of plants and turf that are not actively growing. As a result of lower temperatures, there is less evaporation and soils remain wet longer. Extended periods of moisture can encourage insect infestation and fungus. One rainfall or irrigation about every 14 days is typically sufficient beginning December until warm temperatures return in spring.
Simply turn the irrigation controller to the ‘off’ position and then turn to ‘on’ after two weeks of no rainfall.
Mow your lawn at the highest setting. The taller your turf canopy the more protection it provides your lawn. Maintaining about four inches of height year-round is beneficial for most Bahia and St. Augustine varieties. Four inches provides freeze protection and shades roots in summer.
You may be able to skip mowing all winter to maintain minimum heights.
Adopt these best practices for a more productive Spring recovery.