I recently pulled together three short videos that walk you through the steps required to paint Florida Field before hosting a Gator football game. The entire process takes roughly two days (though it is frequently spread across three due to scheduled walk throughs, etc.). I hope you enjoy!
How many of you can relate to the picture above? Summer has arrived and along with it came warmer temperatures and higher humidity. By now, you are probably losing your ambition to get outside and mow your yard. As a result, your lawn which was once a peaceful oasis has become a jungle that is tall enough to lose your dog.
While it is not alway necessary to mow your lawn weekly, we are in the peak growing season for warm-season grasses. As a result, it may be necessary to mow more frequently to maintain the visual quality and ensure optimum disease and insect resistance. The rule of thumb when it comes to mowing your is to avoid removing more than 1/3 of the leaf tissue with each mowing. For instance, if you prefer to mow your yard at a 4” height (which is ideal for most St. Augustinegrass home lawns), you would need to mow again once the grass is approximately 5.5” tall. Removing more than 1/3 of the tissue stresses the plant and results in reduced root growth due to the loss of photosynthetic capacity. As root growth declines, the plants are unable to use the moisture and nutrient reserves in the soil efficiently. This is particularly important in areas with sporadic rainfall conditions.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have to remove an excessive amount of clippings (like those times when you seem to lose your dog in the yard), be sure to spread the clippings out evenly to avoid piles accumulating in localized areas. This can be achieved by raking or by mowing again to cut the clippings into smaller pieces and spread them out some more. Otherwise, the piles will limit access of the underlying plants to sunlight, which will result in yellowing of the turfgrass tissue that is trying to grow under the pile.
As always, take a few extra minutes to clean off the street, sidewalks, and driveway to limit or prevent the movement of clippings into the storm water drainage system. Turfgrass clippings are an excellent source of nutrients that, when mulched during mowing provide up to 1/3 of the nitrogen requirements of your lawn. However, if the clippings are allowed to reach the storm water system they can contribute significantly to the contamination of water bodies.
There has been an increased interest in replacing natural lawns with artificial or synthetic turf. While there are a number of reasons why this is NOT a good idea, the video above should provide some insight into what to expect the environment to feel like when one of these synthetic systems is installed. Let me know what you think!
Yesterday Hillsborough Count Commissioners voted against approval of a fertilizer ban that would have halted the sale of lawn fertilizers during the summer months. Instead of the ban, the commissioners voted to restrict homeowners from fertilizing their lawns immediately prior to a heavy rainfall event and to prevent fertilizer applications within 10 feet of a water body. I personally feel this is one of the first signs of hope with regard to thwarting the efforts of political activists who have been pushing local governments to put these laws in place. Finally, someone is listening to the SCIENCE.
Beginning April 1, 2010 retailers will no longer be displaying lawn fertilizers containing phosphorus fertilizer in Wisconsin under a new law that is designed “to provide protection to Wisconsin’s lakes, rivers, streams and other water resources from phosphorus run-off.” Phosphorous-containing fertilizers will still be available to individuals establishing/renovating turfgrass areas who are able to demonstrate a phosphorous deficiency in the soil through a soil test report.
It is interesting for me to follow these new developments. Having lived in Wisconsin for nearly three years while working with the commercial horticulture industry in the Winnebago County UW Extension office I had the opportunity to see the early stages of change that lead to this new law. Comparing the changes that occurred in Wisconsin to the movement in Florida I see many similarities. It will be interesting to see where the State of Florida is at in a couple years with regard to local/statewide laws controlling fertilization of turfgrass areas.