The selection of turfgrass is one of the most important decisions to make when planning a Florida landscape, and maintenance requirements should be considered as you weigh your options. Turfgrass management can be exacting because different grasses have differing management and maintenance needs.
As you might already know, several varieties of turfgrass are well suited for Florida weather and soil conditions, but that doesn’t mean they are all equally “at home” in all regions. Nor does it mean that any particular landscape will support every type of turf.
ASI landscape designers have a variety of suggestions about how to choose and manage a healthy lawn, and a menu of helpful turfgrass maintenance tips that will help you make the correct decision for your landscape needs.
Distinctive Landscapes Require Individualized Turfgrass Management
Landscape installations that are aesthetically pleasing and well maintained throughout the year enhance the value of a property by as much as 20 percent, according to appraisers and real estate professionals. Maintenance needs vary, but one rule is that it must be planned and ongoing.
Turfgrass, no matter whether your lawn is St. Augustine or Zoysia grass, Centipedegrass or another hardy turf, is typically the largest and most visible feature in any landscape. Other unique features complement the field of green that anchors the entire installation. It’s extremely important, therefore, to choose your turfgrass based on your location, your vision, and the specific features that you incorporate into the design.
Turfgrass is a major landscape element that helps nurture trees, shrubs and blooming plants, aerates the soil, retains needed moisture, provides effective drainage and helps minimize flooding. It also offers a home for other living creatures that are part of a healthy environment. Sometimes, it also harbors pests.
Will Your Turf Withstand Weather and Heavy Use?
When choosing a particular turfgrass in Florida, it’s important to consider the characteristics of the turf as well as the areas where it will be installed. Will the turf be primarily a visual treat, or is it meant to be used for sports, or for walking or sitting on? Golf course turf and areas used as dog parks and playgrounds, or even as pedestrian-friendly greens and picnic areas, have very different needs from the broad expanses of grass designed simply to provide pleasing vistas.
Some turf requires frequent watering and loves sun and heat, while other varieties thrive in shade, are highly drought resistant, and do well during the cooler seasons in northern Florida. Our landscape designers can help you choose a specific turfgrass that will meet the distinctive needs of your location. With offices in both Tampa and Orlando, our maintenance and installation personnel are familiar with conditions throughout the state, and will also recommend a year-round landscape plan that will require a minimum of upkeep.
Turfgrass Maintenance Demands Weed and Pest Control
If there is one thing certain about lawns, it’s that weeds will sprout where and whenever possible. There are several ways to combat weeds in the landscape, but there is absolutely no way to totally prevent them. However, healthy turf makes it harder for weeds to gain a foothold, and there are additional ways to minimize weed growth and ensure that a lawn remains as healthy and attractive as possible.
Regular maintenance is the key; it should include consistent mowing, application of pre- and post-emergent chemical herbicides as necessary, and occasional hand-pulling of weeds. By choosing the right turfgrass for your needs when you plan your landscape, you will be better able to plan an effective weed-control routine for your unique installation.
Pests, however, represent another problem. While relatively uncommon in most parts of Florida, there are several kinds of pests that can cause damage to Florida turfgrass. If you suspect that your lawn is plagued by white grubs, scales or mealybugs, mealworms, chinch bugs or other types of pests, it’s best to consult a lawn expert for advice on how to deal with the infestation.
Other pesky insects can live in Florida turfgrass, including ants, chiggers, fleas and ticks. For advice on how to control these uninvited guests, seek professional advice.
All Turfgrass Management Requires Mowing and TLC
Proper mowing practices are a prime requirement for keeping Florida turfgrass in prime condition. While Bahiagrass is highly stress-resistant, it normally requires weekly mowing and is generally a higher-maintenance turf than Bermuda and Zoysia. However, each variety of turfgrass has unique qualities, so it is important to weigh the pros and cons of available turf before installing your landscape.
While St. Augustine, with its thicker blades and textured appearance, is normally maintained at a height of two to three inches to produce a lush appearance, it is a fast-growing turf that prefers regular, deep watering to nourish its root system and maintain a healthy appearance. Zoysia Grass, on the other hand, is finely-textured, requires minimal care, and has low to moderate water needs. It also forms a dense lawn, likes sun but tolerates partial shade, and is extremely forgiving of heavy use. However, it should be maintained at a height of only 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches.
Each variety of turfgrass has its own characteristics, and choosing what is best suited for a particular Florida region and landscape should be done with the help of knowledgeable experts. In addition, proper soil preparation, installation and irrigation are vital for a long-lasting, healthy lawn.
Special Considerations for Florida Turfgrass Maintenance
Lawns are not only oases of greenery in big-city areas with more than their share of concrete and hard surfaces, but they are also good for the environment and pleasing to the eye. Turfgrass can provide for recreational uses, or simply offer a contemplative retreat. An expansive area of lawn and plantings will cool the surrounding landscape, complete plantings of trees and shrubbery, act as a transitional element, and soften the hard lines of walks, walls and fencing.
In tandem with other landscaping features, expanses of green lawn areas meet many needs for health and enjoyment in modern society. For assistance with landscape design, advice about landscape and turfgrass installation, and all your landscape management and maintenance needs, ASI Landscape Management has a proven track record that spans more than two decades.
We invite you to browse our portfolio of completed projects to gain insights into what is possible through landscaping. With our extensive design-build and installation expertise, we assist clients to bring ideas to life. Our staff includes arborists and horticulturists, turf experts, drainage and irrigation specialists, trained maintenance crews, new construction and redevelopment professionals, and award-winning designers.
Whether you’re interested in discussing overall landscaping needs or you simply want to focus on specific turfgrass management and maintenance needs, we invite your questions. Simply contact us in Orlando or Tampa to schedule a consultation.