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1702 Lakeside Avenue, Suite 6 ◦ St. Augustine, FL 32084 ◦ (904) 827-1781

  • Weed Control, Pest Control & Fertilization for Residential & Commercial Turf

  • Quarterly Perimeter Pest Control for Residences

JUNE 2024

In the month of June we will continue our applications of insecticide, Florida Friendly liquid fertilizer and spot treatments of weeds. We want to remind you that while our applications are an integral part in achieving and maintaining a beautiful and healthy lawn, the correct cultural practices of the proper mowing height and frequency, combined with the proper amount of irrigation, are equally as important. 

As we head into what some would call our brutal temperature months (by "some", I mean me), correctly irrigating your lawn is critical to its health and appearance. Your turf needs 3/4" to 1" water applied with each watering. It's very important to remember that a small amount applied, on a more frequent basis, is not good because the water will evaporate before reaching the soil to water the roots. Over time the end result will be the roots coming up to meet the water, creating a shallow, poor root system leaving your lawn susceptible to weeds, insect and disease issues. Take a moment in the morning to go outside and look at your grass, if the blades are folded that means they are wilting from lack of water. If you have areas prone to drying out more rapidly than others, consider supplementing those areas by hand watering them early in the morning or evening. Remember that a "hand held hose equipped with a spray nozzle that can be adjusted so water flows only as needed" is allowed anytime per the St. Johns River Water Management District. 

Even If you use an irrigation company to maintain your system, we strongly urge you to check that your lawn is indeed receiving the correct amount of water by performing a simple test. Place multiple empty tuna cans (or like size containers) throughout your lawn, paying particular attention to areas that are your trouble spots, then run your system as you normally would. When it is finished you should have 3/4" to 1” of water in each can. No irrigation system is 100% perfect, so you will most likely find some areas receive more and some areas less. Have a pen and paper handy so you can note which areas need to be adjusted in your system. I can tell you first hand that the clients I have convinced to perform this test were amazed at the results. If only I had a nickle for every time I heard "but I watched my system run and it looked like it was providing enough water". To sum it up, in order to ensure each head is providing the correct coverage, and the water output is the right amount, it must be measured because it is simply impossible to assess either with the naked eye. 

Now on to the touchy subject of mowing. So many people believe a lawn just isn’t a lawn unless it is cut short like a golf course. Ask yourself if you have you ever seen St. Augustine grass on a golf course and the answer will be no. Why? Because it is decorative/ornamental turf, not a sports turf. St. Augustine grass doesn't like heavy traffic and needs to be mowed high, not exactly practical for a golf course or any sports field for that matter. If you want a green, lush and healthy lawn, forget the idea of a lawn isn’t a lawn unless it's short and instead remember that a lawn is a lawn when it looks lush and green. During the growing season mow it weekly at a height of at least 3.5" --- the higher the better! Mowing it too short stresses the turf, creates thin grass, takes away food production, reduces insulation of the roots and soil and increases weed issues. In a nutshell, improper mowing height leads to poor turf health and a less than green and dense appearance. In contrast, when mowing at the correct height you leave a tall, thick canopy of grass blades which blocks the hot sun and insulates the roots and soil. In turn that promotes the ideal soil humidity and temperature for growing a lush, green and most importantly, healthy lawn. Mowing at the proper height you will also find that watering will be much more effective because the soil will retain the moisure. Additionally, the canopy acts as a weed barrier, aiding in preventing weed seeds from reaching the soil and germinating. While we are on the subject of mowing, always remember that mowing your lawn when it's stressed from lack of water will mostly likely result in yellow to brown lines from the weight of your mower and that not changing your mowing patterns each time will often result in ruts in your lawn. 

Below is an example of a properly irrigated and freshly mowed lawn cut at 4". 
Click on the photos to enlarge.

Another issue I want to quickly touch on is being aware that anything left sitting on your lawn (toys, furniture, items from work performed at your home, etc.) for extended periods of time can lead to yellow/brown areas, especially if your lawn is already stressed high heat, lack of water, etc. Once your lawn is cleared of the items, make sure those areas are watered welll and if you find some spots have become compacted from the weight of the items, consider dressing the areas with organic top soil to help promote growth and spreading of the grass runners. If those areas still struggle, you might consider plugging them. St. Augustine grass plugs are usually readily available during our growing months at most of our local garden centers. 

Whew, that was a lot of info! I know for some it may seem daunting, especially if you are new to our area or perhaps it's your first time caring for a lawn. I promise it isn't all that difficult once you get into the habit. 

And finally, we want to wish all the dad's out there, a very happy Father's Day!