Worm mounds in bermudagrass. Photo credit Mary Salinas, UF IFAS Extension.

The April 8 program of Gardening in the Panhandle LIVE! was focused on turfgrass, quite a popular topic in the springtime as the weather warms and turf comes out of winter dormancy. Here are some of the questions asked of our University of Florida experts and the links to resources they shared.

To start with, two sites that have comprehensive information are Your Florida Lawn: http://hort.ufl.edu/yourfloridalawn/ and Gardening Solutions: https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/

Turfgrass Selection

Q. What’s the answer to “I want a lawn like I had up north”? Remotely possible?

A. You can have a nice lawn, but it is going to be different in the panhandle. Don’t expect the same grass species or maintenance.

Q. What grass species is recommended for winter overseeding, and when should the grass be sown?

A. Overseeding has its problems and generally not recommended as it shades out the warm season turf as it is coming out of dormancy in the spring. Overseeding Florida Lawns for Winter Color: https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/archive/hot_topics/lawn_and_garden/overseeding_winter_lawns.shtml

Q. How well do new turfgrass varieties thrive against weeds?

A. A healthy and properly maintained lawn is your best defense against weeds and other pests. Additionally, ProVista is a new cultivar of St Augustinegrass that can tolerate glyphosate so it makes it much easier to kill weeds in the lawn. ProVista is not yet widely available in the panhandle.

Q. How do I get a lawn started?

A. Preparing to Plant a Florida Lawn: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh012

Establishing a Florida Lawn: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_lawn_establishment

Q. Can I have a native lawn? What are some recommended alternatives to a turf lawn?

A. Opinions are divided as to whether St. Augustinegrass is native. See these links for lawn Alternatives:  https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/lawns/turf-types/alternatives-to-turfgrass.html


Fertilizing & Weed Control

Q. How long should I wait before fertilizing new sod?

A. Wait 30-60 days before applying fertilizer. See: Homeowner Best Management Practices for the Home Lawn: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep236

Q. Basic fertilizer for most lawns if no other information is available.

A. 15-0-15

Q. Are weed and feed products effective? Can you use a Weed & Feed like Scott’s Bonus S this late in the year?

A. Weed and feed products are not recommended.

Weed & Feed, Not Foolproof: https://ocmga.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/weed-and-feed-not-foolproof-by-larry-williams-ufifas-extension-agent/

Weed Management Guide for Florida Lawns: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep141

Lawn Maintenance & Renovation

Q. My husband overwaters the lawn. Remind everyone about correct watering.

A. Homeowner Best Management Practices for the Home Lawn: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep236

Watering Your Florida Lawn: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh025

Sprinkler calibration: https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/care/irrigation/calibrating-your-irrigation-system.html

Q. What to do about bare spots in St Augustine turf in shade?

A. Rough up the ground and put ½ to 1” compost and let the grass fill in or plant plugs. St. Augustinegrass for Florida Lawns: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh010

Q. When is the best time to overseed? I have a centipede lawn that’s 15-16 years old and I’m trying to bring it back to health.

A. Be sure to be following good practices and centipedegrass should not fail. Overseeding may not be the best option. Centipedegrass for Florida Lawns: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh009

Q. How do I repair lawn areas ruined by piled up Hurricane Sally debris?

A. Homeowner Best Management Practices for the Home Lawn: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep236

Q. How do I care for a zoysiagrass lawn?

A. Zoysiagrass for Florida Lawns: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh011

Q. Should I mulch or bag clippings?

A. Unless you have disease or weed seeds, mulch the clippings onto the turf so you can return the nutrients and water into the soil. Mowing Your Florida Lawn: https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/lawns/lawn-care/mowing-your-florida-lawn.html

Pest Management

Q. When is the best time to put out a pre-emergence treatment to control and prevent weeds in your lawn (warm and cool season)?

A. Summer Annual Weed Control Timeline: https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/media/sfylifasufledu/escambia/horticulture/Summer-Annual-Lawn-Weed-Control-Timeline.pdf

Winter Annual Weed Control Timeline: https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/media/sfylifasufledu/escambia/horticulture/Winter-Annual-Lawn-Weed-Control-Timeline.pdf

Q. How do I manage chamberbitter in lawns?

A. Chamberbitter: https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/chamberbitter/

Gallery, with the active ingredient isoxoben, has always been the best product to control chamberbitter. Another product, Gemini, adds prodiamine with isoxoben and also provides good control.

Q. How do you get dollar weed under control?

A. Control irrigation. Dollarweed loves lots of water so make sure you are not overwatering. See: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep389

Q. I used Image to help control Bahia in Centipede. Anything else that we can use?

A. Metsulfuron methyl, 3 applications every 21 days

Q. Which postemergence herbicide is safe and effective for reducing oxalis in a lawn?

A. Yellow Woodsorrel (Oxalis) Biology and Management in Turf: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep385

Q. What is the best non-poison weed killer?

A. If a product is a weed killer, whether it is organic or synthetic, it is a poison. Alternatives to Synthetic Herbicides for Container Plants & Homeowner Herbicide Guide: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep464 & https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep575

Q. How do I treat lawn fungus?

A. First you need to determine which fungus, if any, is responsible. Key to Identification of Landscape Turfgrass Disease: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh064

Then turn your attention to Turfgrass Disease Management: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh040

Q. How do I diagnose and control mole crickets?

A. Look at this UF guide: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1021

This video shows how to do the soap flush to scout for mole crickets https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx_o4EMXsCo



Mary Salinas
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