Early spring is a great time to start reviving your lawn from its dormant winter. It’s also a great time to start preparing it for the summer heat in Orlando. A lawn care routine is essential if you want your lawn to thrive through the hottest season in Florida. The lawn care experts of Active Environmental have put together this guide to help you jump-start the growth of your lawn and help it thrive through the rest of the year. Whether you recently moved to Florida or are a seasoned Floridian, these tips will add value to your current lawn routine!
Clean Up Your Lawn in Early Spring
The first step is to declutter the top of your lawn. You want to start working from top to bottom (or grass to soil) to help your lawn thrive. Make sure to rake up leaves, remove fallen branches and twigs, dog feces, and other winter debris laying around your landscape.
Create a Lawn Mowing Schedule
Every lawn is different, so it’s best to consult a professional when creating your lawn’s mowing schedule. As a general rule, you will likely only need to mow once a week in early spring. During this time, you can cut your grass shorter than usual. Once April and May come around, you may have to start mowing twice a week. Late spring is the growing season for warm-season grasses. You’ll want to keep your grass longer during these months. You can cut warm-season grasses, like St. Augustine, to about 2-4 inches. Remember to keep your mower’s blades sharp. Dull blades will tear up your grass leaves and leave your lawn looking ragged.
Aerate Your Lawn
Aeration benefits your lawn in more ways than one. Aerating helps in creating a stronger root system for your grass. It can also reduce your lawn’s disease risk and make it more tolerant of excessive heat during the Florida summers.
Aeration is a process that relieves soil compaction. Core aeration is the most popular aeration practice. During core aeration, nickel-sized plugs of soil get removed throughout your lawn. This leaves a direct path for nutrients to access the grassroots.
The best time to aerate in Orlando is when the temperature is cooler. Around March 15th, and then again around October 15th. These times are when the warm-season grasses are in their rapid growth period.
Overseed After Aeration
In central Florida, you should overseed during the winter to prevent cold weather from damaging your lawn. Overseed again in the spring after aerating. Overseeding two or three times a year consistently will help you achieve the lush, green yard you’ve been striving for.
Fertilize Your Lawn
After you’ve aerated your lawn, it’s the perfect time to fertilize. Before applying fertilizer, consider having your soil tested. Soil tests are easy to use and inexpensive. They determine your soil’s pH and the number of nutrients available in the ground for the plant to use.
If you aerate your lawn, apply fertilizer 48 hours after aeration for optimal results. The loosened soil gives the fertilizer’s nutrients easy access to deeper grassroots. If you have recently overseeded, make sure your fertilizer doesn’t contain weed control. Weed control will stop your seeds from germinating.
If you choose not to aerate, you can usually wait until the second or third mowing to apply the first fertilizer. Since Central Florida doesn’t get very cold in the winter, there is usually enough residual nitrogen in the soil for your grass in early spring. Apply your early spring fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 2-1-1 ratio. Apply at a rate of 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. If your lawn seems thriving and healthy, hold off your first application until May.
When to Mow After Aerating, Fertilizing, and Overseeding
Once you’ve aerated, fertilized, and overseeded your lawn, hold off on mowing for two to four weeks. Cutting your grass too soon can disrupt the fertilizer. You’ll want to allow the new seedlings to take hold and grow into a healthy lawn. If you mow too early, the mower’s wheels and blades can pull grass sprouts out of the ground rather than cut them.
The Lawn Care Specialist of Central Florida
Consider hiring a professional if you feel like you have tried everything, but your lawn isn’t thriving the way you had hoped. Active Environmental is the lawn maintenance specialist in the Orlando area. We can keep your property healthy and thriving all year round. From commercial and residential mowing to fertilization, we take care of all your lawn’s needs. Contact us for your quote today!