Part of having a great landscape is not letting the grass grow under your feet. Regular mowing and watering can mean the difference between a thick, green lawn and one riddled with brown spots and disease. This seasonal lawn care guide for Jacksonville will help you get started with the essentials.
Spring-Fall Lawn Maintenance
Edging the Lawn
While some homeowners edge their lawn with every mow, many prefer to edge the yard once a month. Edging removes taller grass in hard-to-reach places where the mower can’t fit. This monthly lawn task also cuts down on weeds that could be trying to move into your lawn from bordering landscaped areas. Always wear protective clothing, including long pants as well as eye protection when edging a lawn. Dispose of larger weeds and either sweep or blow away smaller trimmings.
Check for Weeds
Weeds will look for bare spots in your lawn and creep in. Walk around the yard and check for weeds once a month. It’s easier to pull one or two up before the weeds have a chance to take over. Once you know what weeds are trying to edge their way into the grass, you can determine the best way to remove them once and for all.
Identify Bare Spots
One of the prime areas where weeds will grow includes any bare or thin spots in the lawn. Make sure to check for areas of thinning grass to proactively combat these areas. Bare spots not only disrupt the look of your yard, but they can also damage the curb appeal of your home. If you do find bare spots, make sure to rake out the area and apply new grass seeds in an even layer. Blend the grass seeds into the bordering grass for a smooth transition. Water these areas daily until the grass sprouts and establishes in the yard.
The city of Jacksonville has established fertilizer limitations and guidelines to protect the St. Johns River, which has suffered from fertilizer runoff damage. It sets no limits on the frequency of fertilization but does encourage the use of slow-release fertilizers and bans wasteful use, especially near waterways. To reduce the need for chemical fertilizers, consider other forms of natural fertilizer that can help the grass grow. For example, instead of bagging lawn clippings after a mow, allow them to return to the soil to boost the nitrogen levels. Mulching the fallen leaves is also be a good source of natural nutrients for the grass.
Follow Watering Restrictions
The St. Johns River is the source of drinking water for Jacksonville and Duval County — and much of the rest of Northeast Florida. It is a finite resource, so the 18 counties covered by the St Johns Water Management District are under lawn watering restrictions.
No lawn watering is allowed between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to reduce the volume of water lost to evaporation. Outside those hours, watering is allowed twice weekly during Daylight Saving Time, and once per per week during Standard Time. See “Watering Restrictions in Jacksonville” for details.
Trim Overgrown Plants
Overgrown trees and bushes can affect the growth of a healthy lawn underneath. Make sure to check the surrounding landscaping to see if it’s causing any issues with the grass. Trimming trees and overgrown bushes will not only create a better look for the yard but also keep those plants healthy.
Fall Dethatching and Aerating
The end of autumn is the time to prepare your lawn for the cooler temperatures of winter. Remove the thatch that has accumulated from fallen leaves and make sure to remove those leaves. Allowing them to sit on your lawn and get wet over the winter will suffocate your lawn and invite fungus and disease.
Aerate (poke holes into the lawn) to break up compacted soil and allow nutrients to reach the roots. Your lawn will come back healthier in the spring.
This seasonal lawn care guide for Jacksonville gives you a checklist to begin. Once you have the lawn of your dreams, it’s time to accent it with the native flowers and plants of Jacksonville.
Have more questions about lawn care and the right grass types for Jacksonville? Make sure to check our Jacksonville, FL lawn care page.