10 Tips For A Pest-Free Florida Lawn In Spring

10 Tips For A Pest-Free Florida Lawn In Spring by Petri Pest Control in South Florida

Spring has sprung and, unfortunately for residents of South Florida, so has the official start to pest season. Mastering the art of healthy, lush green lawns in South Florida takes a little more attention than just proper mowing and watering techniques. On that note, here at Petri Pest Control Services, we have gathered our top 10 tips for a pest-free Florida lawn in Broward or Palm Beach County this spring.

  1. Spring clean

    More than likely, your lawn needs cleaning up after the winter. Remove twigs, animal droppings, and all other debris in your yard. Decluttering your yard is important for deterring pests from taking up residence in your lawn.

  2. Dethatch your lawn

    Vigorously rake your yard to remove dead leaves and thatch clumps of dried grass, allowing air to circulate through your grass blades. Raking helps prevent fungus and lawn pests during the spring and summer. Dethatching helps discourage mildew growth in dense foliage caused by the high humidity levels in South Florida. Breaking these piles down to the soil will allow new grass to grow and seeds to contact the soil faster to promote new growth.

  3. Weeding

    Get a jump on potential weeds in your lawn by applying a pre-emergent herbicide in the early spring before grass and weeds sprout to inhibit weed germination. This technique is only effective before weeds sprout and shouldn’t be used if you’re reseeding your lawn as it will stop your grass seeds from growing as well. Invasive weeds, such as crabgrass, dollar weed, dove weed, spurge, and chamber bitter can get out of hand quickly in South Florida lawns. Make sure you pull weeds by their roots to prevent regrowth that can ruin the aesthetics of any lawn. A healthy lawn will keep weeds at bay. Several causes contribute to weeds popping up on your lawn, including:

  • Inconsistent or irregular lawn maintenance
  • Over-watering or watering too often
  • Lawn pest infestations
  • Heavy foot traffic 
  1. Inspect your lawn for signs of lawn pests and fungus conditions

    Inspecting your lawn for any fungus conditions or pests in the spring allows you to nip these issues in the bud before they’re super challenging to conquer in the summer. Chinch bugs, sod webworms/armyworms, mole crickets, fire ants, and other pests can wreak havoc on your lawn, as can fungus conditions and lawn diseases such as gray leaf spot and brown patch fungus. Contacting lawn care professionals such as Petri Pest Control Services for preventive pest, weed, and disease control treatments can eliminate the guesswork in identifying pests, weeds, and diseases.

  2. Mowing tips for a healthy lawn

    Before you mow, check your mower for maintenance issues and tune up your mower so it will perform at its best throughout the season. This includes:

  • Checking your mower’s fuel system
  • Changing the air filter
  • Checking the spark plugs
  • Cleaning and sharpening your mower blades

Proper mowing techniques involve:

  • Never remove more than one-third of your grass blades’ total length at a single cutting. This length will vary for different types of turfgrass.
  • Determine the ideal height for your type of grass and mow your lawn when your grass grows one-third longer.
  • Never mow your lawn when the grass is wet, for your safety, and the health of your mower and lawn.
  • Mowing your grass at least once a week.
  • Providing nutrients to your lawn, by attaching a mulch spreader to your mower.
  1. Aerating your yard preps your lawn for the season

    Aerating your yard in the early spring, using either a spike or plug aerator, increases fertilizer absorption, improves drainage, and helps develop your lawn’s tolerance for extreme temperatures with increased nitrogen/oxygen exchange in the soil. Spike aerators loosen up your soil and let more air in by jabbing narrow holes in your yard. Plug aerators work more effectively on densely compacted soil by pulling plugs of your lawn out to let in more moisture and air.

  2. Testing your soil in the spring

    Your local nursery sells soil test kits that measure your soil’s Ph level and the essential nutrients lacking in your soil. Balancing your soil’s Ph levels involves adding gardeners’ lime if your soil is acidic to raise the Ph number or gradually adding fresh compost to your soil if it tests too high in alkaline. South Florida’s soil tends to lean towards the acidic side and takes less time to balance than alkaline soils do. If your soil test brings to light any nutrients that are lacking, you should choose a fertilizer to fit your soil’s needs.

  3. Correct fertilizing

    March is a good time to fertilize your South Florida lawn when your lawn is coming out of its dormant state. Most soil kits will give you readings on the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels and possibly other macronutrients such as calcium and magnesium levels in your soil. For soils that test low in nitrogen, choosing a fertilizer with a high first number in the NPK ratio will work to enrich your soil. Low magnesium levels can be remedied by choosing a magnesium fortified fertilizer.

  4. Proper watering techniques

    According to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), “Over-watering of lawns causes more damage than any other cultural practice.” Excessive watering encourages a shallow root system. In order to lengthen and strengthen your lawn’s root system, train your grass to go deeper to find water. This practice will assist your lawn in surviving stress conditions, such as drought and high traffic conditions. Wait until your grass shows signs of thirst before you water. These signs include:

  • Folded over leaf blades
  • A blue-gray appearance
  • Lawns that leave visible footprints in the grass and don’t spring back when stepped on

Watering less frequently for longer periods to encourage root growth is a good rule of thumb to follow. Of course, how often you water depends on the weather, the type of turf, and the amount of shade in your yard. Your lawn needs about one-half inch of water per session. Be sure not to saturate the soil to the extent that water runs off of your lawn. Doing so will deplete your lawn’s nutrients, in addition to contaminating water sources. 

  1. Contact lawn care professionals to keep your lawn healthy and pest-free

    Watering and mowing your lawn correctly helps maintain a healthy lawn. However, regular nourishment and pest prevention by lawn care professionals, such as Petri Pest Control Services can boost your lawn’s immune system and keep your lawn healthy, lush, and green all year long.

Start your lawn care off right this spring in Broward and Palm Beach Counties by contacting Petri Pest Control Services to learn more about our all-inclusive lawn-spraying treatment plan, the Total Lawn Program (TLP) and General Lawn Program, for customers who just need assistance with insects and diseases in their lawn. Serving South Florida for over 65 years, Petri Pest Control Services is pest control and lawn care you can trust!

10 Tips For A Pest-Free Florida Lawn In Spring in South Florida

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