Don’t worry: holiday cheer doesn’t have to lead to lawn decay and tears.
During Pensacola winters, turf grass enters a natural state of dormancy as a way to rest and eventually flourish in the spring. Herein lies a great deal of confusion regarding Florida lawn health: if your grass looks extra brown or dry this time of year, don’t worry — that just means the grass is dormant.
Many Pensacola residents read dormancy as a lawn’s cry for help, and respond with super-soaking their grass. But, providing extra water to offset grass dormancy can actually do more harm than good. Instead, consider the following ways winter weather affects Pensacola grass, learn how to fend off damage, and ensure a happy, healthy, Pensacola lawn come springtime.
1. Extra Moisture
Pensacola winters come with extra moisture, so grass doesn’t need nearly as much watering this time of year. In the summer, Northwest Florida grass requires between ½ - ¾ of an inch of water every 2-3 days. In the winter, the same lawn can go 2-3 weeks without water. Be mindful of weather — especially rainfall — and adjust watering as needed to preserve your lawn in the winter months.
If you’re prepping the lawn for a visit from Rudolph, the automatic sprinklers should be off. In the rare event of a Florida freeze you are exposing your sprinkler system to damage. But, even more importantly, automatic sprinklers will give your lawn too much water and prevent it from going dormant during the winter.
2. Increased vulnerability
While in dormancy, panhandle grass is especially susceptible to damage. The winter is an important time for grass to rehydrate and prepare for a springtime bloom, so added stress from foot traffic, over-fertilization, and even mowing too often can upset the dormancy balance.
Consider walking around the lawn to get to your front door next time, or maybe take the dogs to a dog park instead of the backyard. In order to preserve your lawn, you might need to be extra gentle during the winter and be mindful that disrupting dormancy will negatively affect growth later in the year.
3. Winter Lawn Diseases
In Pensacola, there are three primary turfgrass diseases which can wreak havoc on your lawn:
- Pythium Blight
- Harmful Nematodes
- Brown Patch/Large Patch
Don’t panic — these lawn ailments are not guaranteed to strike your Pensacola grass, and a little preventative care and the right chemical treatment can help fend them off. Here are a few ways to stave off winter lawn diseases:
- Taper off fertilization to allow grass to go dormant naturally
- Overseed with treated ryegrass seeds to maintain green color in the winter
- Avoid mowing too short, because short grass is more susceptible to these diseases
If you’re worried that winter conditions will compromise the health of your Pensacola grass, contact Lawn Master. Lawn Master is a local, family-owned lawn care service that specializes in maintaining beautiful lawns in Northwest Florida weather.