- 1. Lawn turning brown and dying
- 2. Lawn watering
- 3. Grass for shade
6. How do I get rid of crabgrass?
7. How do I select and
care for lawn grass in Florida?
1. Areas of my lawn are turning brown and dying.
What could be causing this?
It depends upon what kind of grass do
If St. Augustine —
possibly chinch bugs.
If Bahia or
Bermuda — possibly mole crickets.
St. Augustine or Bermuda — possibly nematodes.
If it's been dry — possibly poor
If it's been
raining a lot — possibly brown patch, take-all or other root disease.
If it's mid-late fall — may be grassy
weeds dying out, not the lawn!
2. How often should I water my
grass? When is the best time of day to do this?
It is nearly
impossible to say how many times a week a lawn should be watered since so
many factors will influence this. Thus, it is best to water on an
as-needed basis or when the grass shows signs of stress from a lack of
water. Some of those signs are:
1. The grass color will be
a bluish-gray rather than a clear green.
will remain for a long time when the grass is walked on.
3. Grass blades will fold in half.
4. Soil samples from the
root zone feel dry.
A general rule for watering is to apply
1/2 to 3/4 inch of water two times per week in the summer and once every
ten to fourteen days in the winter (in the event of no rain). The best
time for lawn irrigation is in the early morning hours to avoid prolonging
the dew period which can encourage disease problems.
type of grass will grow in the shady areas of my yard?
All of the
turfgrasses that are grown in Florida require full sun except two
varieties of St. Augustine: Seville and Bitter Blue. Seville is more shade
tolerant than Bitter Blue, however, neither will take dense shade. In
densely shady areas, planting a shade loving ground cover instead of
turfgrass is recommended.
4. I have read
about this wonderful miracle grass called Zoysia. Is it as good as the
Due to over-enthusiastic newspaper
advertisements, the public has been misinformed on the merits of
zoysiagrasses. Zoysias have advantages and disadvantages like all Florida
lawn grasses. The improved Zoysias have to be propagated vegetatively and
are extremely slow in becoming established. An entire growing season may
be required for coverage of the lawn when propagated by plugging or
sprigging. All Zoysias produce a heavy thatch which required periodic
renovation. Other disadvantages include: slow recovery from damage; high
fertility requirement; need for frequent irrigations; can be
severely damaged by nematodes, hunting billbugs, and several diseases. If
you are interested in having a Zoysia lawn, locate a variety developed for
Florida (such as Cashmere); the varieties usually advertised will not grow
5. Should I leave my grass clippings on the lawn
or should I have a catch bag on my mower?
If you are mowing
frequently enough, it is best to leave the clippings on the grass to
recycle the nitrogen in them (as much as 1-2 pounds per year - the
equivalent of 1 to 2 fertilizations per year). Mow often enough so that no
more than 1/3 of the grass blades are removed. The small amount of
clippings generated from frequent mowings will not
contribute to thatch.
6. How do I get rid of crabgrass?
The best defense against weeds is a healthy lawn, so try to
keep your lawn happy by watering, mowing, and fertilizing appropriately.
(For more information, read
the Lawn Care topics.) However, some degree of weed control is often
needed despite your best efforts.
Pre-emergent herbicides containing pendimethalin are typically the most
effective way to control crabgrass, and the best time to apply these
herbicides is in the spring (early February for South Florida,
mid-February for Central Florida, and early March for North Florida). Be
sure to follow all directions and safety precautions whenever you apply
The University of California's
Crabgrass publication describes cultural practices that can help
control crabgrass, including hand pulling and solarization, which will
kill living crabgrass but not seeds.
To learn more about controlling crabgrass and applying herbicides, visit
your County Extension Office, where you can talk to horticulturists and
master gardeners who have specialized knowledge of your local area.
7. How do
I select and care for lawn grass in Florida?
Visit the UF/IFAS
Residential Landscapes Website to get research-based information about
home lawn care. If you still have specific questions, contact your County
Extension Office and ask for a volunteer Master Gardener or County