Hardy Lawn, Happy Lawn
expect their lawn and landscape to experience some sort of dormancy. Following these best
management practices will minimize cold damage.
First, refrain from applying nitrogen-containing fertilizers to grasses and plants that are not
actively growing. Nitrogen fertilizer stimulates tender new growth that is easily damaged by winter
frost and freezes. Additionally, nutrients are not fully absorbed by slow growing plants, resulting
in pollution of the aquifer and local waterways. Citrus County’s fertilizer ordinance restricts
nitrogen fertilizer use from November through March.
Spring and fall are appropriate times to apply Potassium (K). Potassium is a macronutrient that
plays a crucial role in regulating processes that improve cold hardiness, drought tolerance, and
disease resistance. It also helps repair winter injury and summer nutrient depletion.
Reduce irrigation frequency of plants and turf that are not actively growing. As a result of lower
temperatures, there is less evaporation and soils remain wet longer. Extended periods of moisture
can encourage insect infestation and fungus. One rainfall or irrigation about every 14 days is
typically sufficient beginning December until warm temperatures return in spring. Simply turn the
irrigation controller to the ‘off’ position and then turn to ‘on’ after two weeks of no rainfall.
Mow your lawn at the highest setting. The taller your turf canopy the more protection it provides
your lawn. Maintaining about four inches of height year-round is beneficial for most Bahia and St.
Augustine varieties. Four inches provides freeze protection and shades roots in summer. You may be
able to skip mowing all winter to maintain minimum heights.
Adopt these best practices for a more productive Spring recovery.