Patience, warmer soil temperature and correct lawn maintenance will improve spring lawn problems common in North Florida.
Some dead spots in spring lawns arise from something that happened the previous growing season or winter. For example, late application of high-nitrogen fertilizer can decrease chances of winter survival.
Avoid fertilizing after September. If you insist on fertilizing a warm-season grass after September, use low-nitrogen fertilizer.
A late infestation of insects or disease during fall often goes unseen as the grass begins to go dormant.
Poor maintenance the previous growing season may contribute to declining, thinning areas in the lawn during spring. Over-watering, shallow watering — watering frequently for short periods — mowing too low, over-fertilizing and herbicide injury the year before can result in poor lawn performance the following spring.
Regardless of the cause, lawns’ problem areas are slow to recover in spring because of frequent cool night temperatures that keep the soil temperature or root zone cool.
Have patience with your lawn and follow effective maintenance practices this spring.
Consistently warmer nights will allow soil temperatures to warm, which improves turf root growth, nutrient availability and lawn recovery.
If your lawn has not made a comeback by late spring or early summer, replant dead, declining areas.
Whatever you do, do not use lawn maintenance practices that do not work in Florida and contribute to your lawn’s demise.
FIND IT ONLINE:
See http://hort.ufl.edu/yourfloridalawn to learn how to grow a Florida lawn.
•Teach Children to Save: April 22 to July 31. Youths who set a savings goal are eligible for a savings bond drawing. Complete an entry form and make deposits. Contact your bank orcredit union to participate. Details: 689-5850 or www.economiclivingexpo.com.
•Extension representative appearing on "Okaloosa Today": Agriculture Agent Jennifer Bearden is the April guest on "Okaloosa Today," which airs 8 a.m. Sundays, 9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays on Cox channel 6. She talks about local farming, how Okaloosa County’s University of Florida extension can assist residents with gardening and farming, and to access local produce.
•4-H Camp: June 10-14, for ages 8-12. Cost: $220 per person. Contact Haley Worley, 689-5850 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration packets are available at 3098 Airport Road, Crestview.
Larry Williams is an agent at the Okaloosa County Extension office in Crestview.