Do you live in the Tampa area? If you do, you know how hard it can be to maintain a beautiful lawn here on the Gulf side of the Sunshine State. If you're not dealing with drought, you're dealing with oversaturation. If you're not dealing with bugs, you're dealing with an improper PH level. And proper lawn care in fall can have the most dramatic effect. This is when your lawn begins to transition from summer growth to winter growth, and when it needs proper fall fertilization, core aeration, and overseeding for cool-season grasses. Fall is when it is essential to establish healthy roots that will sustain your grass through the winter. If it doesn't get what it needs, it won't thrive when summer comes.
Let's talk shoot and root growth. If you want healthy roots that will sustain your grass through winter, you need to give them what they need. Of the 16 essential elements required for strong lawn turfgrass, nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus are the ones most commonly used in fertilizers, and, of these three, nitrogen is the nutrient your turfgrass needs most. That is why it should be the largest number on your fertilizer bag.
When you look at those numbers, they should be in a ratio of 1-0-1 or 2-0-1. What does this mean? If your numbers are 16-0-8 you will have 16 pounds of nitrogen, zero pounds of phosphorus and 4 pounds of potassium. The nitrogen will help your shoot and root growth, so in fall a 2-0-1 ratio is most beneficial. Nitrogen is also needed for greener color and the recuperative potential of your turfgrass. Potassium is essential for root establishment and reproduction of turfgrass. It is extremely important, but most yards in Florida have what they need. So this number should be 0, unless you've had a soil analysis that indicates otherwise. The last number, phosphorus, is great for keeping your turfgrass resistant to disease and drought stress. In winter, you will have less of a need for this element because there is a good chance your lawn will get all the water it needs.
A lot of people put an emphasis on weed control products, but do you know that a healthy, dense lawn resists weeds? This is especially true through winter when growth slows down and less mowing is needed. If you do have weed issues, it is a good idea to get a professional opinion.
Most of your lawn pest troubles will occur during the summer months, but there are still a few that may give you some trouble in the fall. Chinch bugs and mole crickets are two of them. If you're dealing with lawn-destroying bugs, this is another area where it is important to get professional assistance. You need to properly identify which pests you have and make sure you're using the right product and application method to eradicate them.
For help with your Florida lawn care, call McCall. We're happy to give you the advice you need. And, if you'd like, we can take care of all that hard work for you. Fall is a crucial time for your lawn. Make sure your lawn has what it needs to recuperate through the winter.