As we head into the month of May we will continue the application of our Florida Friendly Fertilizer—a custom blended, slow-release, fertilizer for this particular time of year—combined with an insecticide. Additionally, as long as the temperatures permit for it, we will continue to spot treat for weeds.
Weeds have been abundant this spring as a result of this past winter’s cold temps which resulted in several frosts. Most of us received damage to our lawns due to them which in turn left our lawns more susceptible to weeds.
Among the weeds that are most despised are the weed grasses. Crabgrass is one notorious example. This class of weeds is especially hard to eradicate because they reproduce by seed, clippings and stolons. Wind, rain and lawnmowers spread them which unfortunately means if you utilize a lawn maintenance company, or have a neighbor with a weed issue, the problem most often become yours.
Sedge grass is another much despised example. We have had clients who went to the expense of removing their lawn and having it re-sodded, only to have the grassy weeds return. Because the rhyzomes are very deep and extensive in the soil, it is virtually impossible to completely eradicate them once they have been introduced into your lawn.
There are products labeled “safe for use in St. Augustine grass lawns” for the treatment of sedge grass and other grassy weeds, however, we have witnessed it time and time again that simply isn’t the case. We have had clients who purchased those products only to severely weaken, damage, and in some cases kill, their St. Augustine grass. One example is a neighbor of ours who used it throughout his front lawn and ended up killing all of his St. Augustine grass. He then spent a small fortune having it re-sodded only to have it return within a year.
The operative word in our weed applications is control not elimination. How wealthy we would be if we had the formula to completely eliminate weeds! The best approach to dealing with them is a healthy, vigorous lawn which will crowd out would– be weeds.
An example of maintaining a healthy lawn while controlling weeds would be our own lawn. Roughly 30% of our front yard is sedge grass and has been that way since we purchased our home over a decade ago. We often have friends and neighbors compliment us on how healthy, green and lush it is, never noticing the sedge grass until we point it out. Because we adhere to the proper cultural practices, combined with our program applications, we have kept the sedge grass in control. There has been very little increase in our sedge grass, if any at all.
Lastly, severe weed problems in a lawn are often an indication that the turf has been weakened by improper cultural practices or damage from pests which is why we continually remind our clients how important that the proper cultural practices of the correct mowing height and frequency along with the correct amount of irrigation and frequency. While our applications are an integral part of a healthy lawn, for the full benefits to be achieved, those cultural practices are as critical as the applications themselves.
Annuals to plant this month include celosia, coleus, coreopsis, crossandras, exacum, gaillardias, gazanias, hollyhocks, impatiens, kalanchoe, marigolds, nicotianas, ornamental peppers, pentas, portulacas (moss rose), salvia, thunbergia alata, torenias, verbenas, periwinkles and zinnias. Note: Some plants that can take the summer heat include salvia, angelonia, wax begonia, and ornamental pepper. Want more tips and info on gardening with annuals in Florida? Go to: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg319
Southern favorites to plant now are okra, southern pea and sweet potato. Want more tips and info on growing veggies in Florida? Check out the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh021