Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring Lawn Prep: Fertilizing

It's March, and normally most homeowners are thinking about their lawn, although this recent cold snap may have delayed thoughts of springtime!  Lawns are growing very slowly, if at all, in the winter months, so fertilizer is not recommended. 

So when should you do a spring lawn fertilization? 

Do you need to apply fertilizer to your lawn in the spring?  

What should a homeowner in Polk County do with their lawn to prep it for spring and summer weather?  

 1. You may have a bag of lawn fertilizer ready to go, but hold on!  Your grass is still dormant or very slowly growing.  Wait until your grass is actively growing before you dust off the fertilizer spreader.  April is a good time to fertilize.  University of Florida research has shown that the greatest amount of nitrate leaching occurs January through March, so wait until April to make your application.

2.  Fertilizer contains nutrients to help with plant growth and/or correct a nutrient deficiency.  You don't need to apply fertilizer if those issues don't pertain to your lawn. 

3.  Select a fertilizer for lawns that contains slow-release and low or no phosphorus.  You can find this information on the fertilizer bag. Make sure you read the label and follow application instructions.  Apply no more than one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, no matter what type of grass you have.  Follow UF/IFAS recommendations for application rates.  

4.  Too much fertilizer can cause increased disease and insect problems as well as increased pollution.  

5.  Water in your fertilizer with 1/4 inch of water.  You do not need to water the 1/2 inch that you normally apply during your watering days as this application is just to move the fertilizer granules down into the lawn.  

6.  After you apply fertilizer, it's important to follow other home lawn best management practices so that your grass remains healthy during the growing season.  Mow at the highest recommended height for your grass type, apply 1/2 inch of water per irrigation application, keep mower blades sharp and leave grass clippings on the lawn.  

Here's to a happy, healthy lawn this spring!  For more information contact us!  

Follow the best management practices for your lawn to reduce pollution and maintain a healthy lawn.  For more information contact us, or learn more here.  

Monday, March 13, 2017

It's spring, and the Chickasaw Plum is in bloom!

It always feels like spring is here when the Chickasaw Plum at UF/IFAS Extension Polk County is in bloom.  This lovely small tree makes itself known in early spring when it is covered with hundreds of small white blooms.  This low-maintenance native is a good choice for home landscapes.  If you are looking for a tree to plant this spring, choose a Chicksaw Plum!