EXTENSION CONNECTION: Grow a happy, healthy, environmentally friendly lawn

Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 10:57 PM.

Lawns are greening up all over Northwest Florida, and you can practice some simple techniques to ensure yours is healthy and environmentally friendly.

Applying the proper amount of fertilizer will help promote a vigorous lawn that can out-compete weeds and serve as a filter to protect Florida’s ground and surface waters.

Applying a half-pound of water-soluble nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn will get your lawn off to a good start. Use a low phosphorus (second number on the bag) and high potassium (third number on the bag) fertilizer such as 8-0-8, 10-0-10 or 15-2-15. 

Mowing is one of the most important management practices. However:

•Never remove more than one third of the leaf blade at any one time. Removing more can stress your lawn, making it susceptible to other problems.

•Mow at the highest height for your grass species. For St. Augustinegrass and Bahiagrass, this is 3.5 to 4 inches. If you have St. Augustinegrass cultivars Delmar or Seville, mow at 2 to 2.5 inches. Mow Centipedegrass at 1 to 2 inches.

•Leave grass clippings — they don’t contribute to thatch and return a small amount of fertility back to the lawn.

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