Home' Nonahood News : NONA 040116 Contents This Month in the Garden
Well, here we are
bringing in another Spring
season, and it is time to
wake up those sleeping
lawns. But first, before you
rush out to your local gar-
den center or nursery, let’s
talk about a few things
you need to know.
If you’re new to Florida
and the Lake Nona area,
welcome! If you are from one of the Northern states
and enjoy gardening, you’re in for a real treat. Orlan-
do has a subtropical climate, zoned 9b. That means
you can garden throughout the entire year!
Let’s begin by talking about lawns and their care.
Here in Orlando, we have several grass varieties – St.
Augustine, Bahia, Bermuda and Zoysia. There are a
few more varieties, but these four are the most popu-
lar and most of you will have one of these grasses.
You will need to know which you have before you go
out to buy any products. Each of these grasses comes
with its own advantages and disadvantages.
This is the time to check for weeds, insect damage
and irrigation problems. If your weed problem is small,
I prefer spot treatment using a pump-up sprayer. Ap-
plying a weed-and-feed product on the entire lawn can
cause undue stress to your lawn, especially if the tem-
perature is hot. Otherwise apply just fertilizer.
Spring is an excellent time to apply fertilizer. When
choosing a fertilizer, decide which one will work best
for your grass type. You also need to know the size
of your lawn. Most fertilizers and pesticides come in
either 5000- and 10,000-square foot bags, but you can
buy the size you need. Always follow label directions
on the bag before you apply any products. Notice that
the bags list their formulation with the letters NPK.
Those initials stand for Nitrogen (for strong growth),
Phosphorus (for healthy roots) and Potassium (for all
around general health). Some of the more expensive
fertilizers come in time-release formulas that will
feed your lawn over a long period of time. Last, you
will need a drop or broadcast spreader to apply your
fertilizer. There is one for almost every size yard and
budget, and they can either be pushed manually or
pulled behind a lawn tractor.
Next up, you need to check (calibrate) your irriga-
tion system. Check each irrigation zone one at a time
and make sure that the sprinkler heads are rotating
properly and that you are getting a full coverage of
water on your lawn. Also, check if an irrigation head
might be stuck with grass growing over the top. If you
see dry areas, it’s a good idea to place some small
empty cans on the lawn and run your system. When
it’s done, you should have collected about 3⁄4 of inch
of water in each can. If not, adjust accordingly so you
are getting the most out of each watering session. This
process is called “auditing” in case someone asks you
why you may be running your irrigation system on
an off day. In Orlando, we have water restrictions for
how much water you can use on your landscape. You are
allowed to water twice a week from Daylight Saving Time
through the 4th Sunday in November. Homes with ad-
dresses that end in odd numbers get to water on Wednes-
days and Saturdays while homes with even numbers
water on Thursdays and Sundays. You should only water
when needed and only before 10 AM or after 4 PM.
One other very important matter is mowing. De-
pending on your grass type, adjust your mower blade
height and make sure your blades are sharp for opti-
mum cut. Cutting too low or having dull blades will
rip at the grass, weakening the lawn and making it
more susceptible to insects and disease.
If at any time you have questions regarding your
garden or lawn, there is a wonderful resource avail-
able in our area called the Orange County/UF-IFAS
Extension Office. It is located at 6021 S. Conway Rd.
You can take a sample of your plant material and
have Master Gardeners identify, diagnose and pre-
scribe a treatment for any problems that you may
have. They can also test the PH of your soil, and it’s
absolutely free! While there, you may want to take a
stroll through the Exploration Garden, which is locat-
ed right behind the clinic. There you will see a large
variety of plants and trees that have been tested at
this learning institute for their viability to grow in
our area. They have a large assortment of vegetables,
herbs and flowers growing all year round. Walk along
the butterfly or cactus garden and don’t forget your
camera. They even have aquaponics and hydroponic
gardens, if those interest you. All landscape plants
are labeled with their species, so take your camera
or a pen and paper with you so you can make note of
the name of any plant you may like - maybe you’ll be
lucky and be able to find one at your local nursery or
at Home Depot’s garden center!
I hope with these basic lawn maintenance tips,
your lawn will grow green and thrive this spring and
throughout the season!
Master Gardener Frank Jasiewicz
10 APRIL 2016
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