How Your Lawn Can Survive Florida Heat

How Your Lawn Can Survive Florida Heat
By Marissa

We are getting close to summertime here in Florida and it is HOT outside.  When you are trying to keep your lawn green, the rising temperatures can make it harder and harder to keep that lush look and feel.

We feel your pain. You and your lawn can get through the summer together! We have some good practices and products that we know can help you keep your lawn happy and vibrant during the hot days to come!
Here’s a few tips to help you along.

Tip #1: Regular Watering

Healthy plants need the right resources to grow! For your lawn, the right moisture and nutrients are essential to keep things green and growing. Your lawn will adjust to pretty much any amount of water or schedule you set for it, but the key is you have to be consistent.  Whether you’ve got an automatic system, hand water, or anything in between, consistency is more important than anything. While you’re planning to give your lawn ample moisture during the hot season, still keep in mind any local watering restrictions your area might have!

If you’re watering and you still have brown spots, sometimes the problem is that soil isn’t holding enough moisture.  We have a solution for that – it’s called Hydretain!  Available in a liquid that you apply with a sprayer (which we also have if you need one), Hydretain contains helpful, safe compounds that allow your grass and landscape retain water for longer.

All the effort to water your lawn actually gets the moisture where it needs to be.  Your grass stays green and you save water and time, too! Apply when needed, and those patches that are starting to look a little dry (despite watering regularly) will be rescued, easy peasy. Here’s a diagram of how Hydretain works.

Tip #2: Nutrition

Starving grass won’t grow.  If it has nothing to fuel it, it’ll just sit there, and eventually shrivel up, and turn brown.  It sounds bad, but for a little while after the blades turn brown, the roots are still alive. There’s still some hope for sad, brown grass, as it’s just waiting for the right time to send up new shoots. But you can avoid the brown, dead grass situation altogether by making sure that you are giving your lawn what it needs to grow! Your grass will need consistent watering, but also the nutrients to keep growing.  We have a couple favorite products that are a great solution for any lawn:

Shell’s 16-0-8* Lawn Fertilizer – The great thing here is, no phosphorus. The 16% nitrogen is 50% available now, 50% slow release, for a season-long feeding that doesn’t burn your grass.  The potassium is in an active form that is ready to be utilized, and we have also added minor elements to ensure the health and vitality of your grass by supporting all of its biochemical process.  You won’t be sorry you put this on your lawn this spring! It provides all the basics for healthy lawns. 

*For City of Tampa and Pinellas County residents, your local governments have a yearly ban on fertilizers containing Nitrogen and Phosphorus spanning June 1 – September 30.  Therefore you would need to substitute a lawn fertilizer that has a rating of 0-0-X where X is Potash/Potassium levels.  In City of Tampa, you ARE allowed to use Organic fertilizer on your lawn, such as Shell’s Organic 3-3-3 which we highly recommend.  In Pinellas County, you are not allowed to use anything with Nitrogen or Phosphorus.  If you have further questions, please contact us at Shell’s Feed & Garden Supply and we’ll be happy to help you.

Milorganite – Milorganite is an organic fertilizer that is high in iron, micro- and macro-nutrients, and other organic matter. This product is actually made from microbes that have processed waste water in Milwaukee, WI. After they have done their job, they are kiln-dried and packaged into fertilizer!!  Milwaukee Organic Nitrogen is how it got its name.  Talk about Made in the USA!!  It will make grass turn very green when applied properly, and is excellent for shoring up a slightly-fading lawn during hot times.  It has to be watered in, of course. Rake it in a little bit, and if you can, try to apply it before you know it’s going to rain. A word of caution: Milorganite can have a bit of an odor. This is how Milorganite works:

We’ve heard that you can apply more than it recommends on the package, either more volume or more often.  We advise that you start slowly and observe for the results to experiment and see how your lawn responds. #ProTip: When experimenting with caring for your lawn, take pictures of the same areas of your lawn week to week and compare them.  If you’re serious about the DIY Lawn game, do your homework!

Tip #3: Adjust Your Mower Deck Height

During the hottest part of the year, (which for us is about half the year) raise your mower’s deck height to the maximum height.  Leaving your grass long will shade the roots and soil from the sun, which helps keep water from evaporating as quickly as it does when grass is short.

Leaving your cut grass on the ground (distributing out clumps, of course) is a great way to mulch your yard. It’ll give your lawn’s soil some shade while providing nutrients as the clippings decompose.  Some mowers have a feature called “mulching” that cut the grass into finer pieces specifically for this purpose.

Another #ProTip: Keep your blades sharp! This keeps your mower operating smoothly, and keeps your grass even healthier.

Having to mow your grass more often is a side-effect of a higher deck height, but this will help you avoid the grass clumps that are created when the grass gets too long. Plus, don’t we all need a regular exercise regimen and some sunshine? Of course we do.

Bonus Tip: Know Your Grass

Only you know your grass. Parts of your lawn that are on an incline may become drier than flat areas because gravity pulls the water down hill too fast for it to soak into the soil. Or maybe you have an area where water pools and your ground is too wet and your grass is overtaken by weeds that are water-friendly.  It’s good to know where your lawn pitfalls are so you can start to strategize solutions.

Feeding your lawn the right nutrients starts with knowing what it needs! We’ve suggested some great one-size-fits-all products, but you can really step up your lawn care once you know what type of grass you have. Fitting your routine to what your specific lawn needs will make it easier to have that lush, cool-under-the-foot feeling, even during hot summers.

So, watch your lawn through the seasons and see how it acts. Have you seen something unusual lately? Are there dry patches appearing? Does it have areas that are wet, slimy and smell bad? It is yellow, or spotted, or uprooted?  You might need some other kinds of intervention. Whatever you’re facing, we have a solution. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff can help. Bring us a sample, or a picture. We’re happy to take a look.

Thanks for reading!
Marissa

Marissa – Writer for Shell’s Feed & Garden Supply

I’m an over-educated, passionate, gardening and pet enthusiast, and I have found the perfect job! My writing is based on my studies in Biology and Health, and my experiences from gardening with my family as a child. 

The great thing about gardening is that it is a life-long learning process. The many blunders and successes of my own gardening projects over the years have been invaluable to me.  The late, great, J.C. Raulston once said, “If you’re not killing plants, you’re not stretching yourself as a gardener.” Learn by doing, gain knowledge from the failures, but more importantly, relish the successes, (because they’re delicious!)  Thanks for reading!

Special thank you to Abby’s Farms, where the photo on the left was taken. Shell’s Feed & Garden Supply sponsors the chickens and chicken coops there. Visit their website here.