Isn’t it lovely to live in Florida during the winter? While you’re sitting by the pool or enjoying a nice breeze, your family and friends up north are shivering and shoveling snow.
Living in such a warm area has advantages when it comes to outdoor maintenance, too. Pool coverings are largely unnecessary, and winterization is not a huge process down here because Floridians don’t have to worry about the trouble that comes with ice, snow, and frigid temperatures. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider the temperature when you are doing outdoor maintenance for winter.
Let’s look specifically at the steps that need to be taken to ensure our lawns stay healthy and fresh year-round.
How to Care for a Tampa Bay Lawn in the Winter
Start Winter Maintenance in the Fall – This is one of the most important things to realize: lawn care for the winter should ideally begin in mid-fall. If you have continued your year-round routine throughout the fall and the beginning of the winter, however, you still have time to change your maintenance routine and prevent your lawn from enduring any damage that the change in seasons could cause.
Hold off On Fertilizer – Ideally, you should stop fertilizing your grass in September or October. If you’ve continued through the fall, it’s best to hold off now. Florida lawns typically contain grasses that grow in warm weather and remain dormant in the winter. They are not in ideal growing conditions, so they do not need fertilizer to feed their growth. In fact, adding fertilizer this late in the year could actually have harmful effects on your grass.
Heavy on The Seeding – Grasses that grow well in warm weather will not require too much maintenance in the cold. Once temperatures reach a certain level, the grass will simply stop growing. So if you still want to have a fresh, colorful lawn throughout the winter, it’s best to sow the seeds for a cold-weather grass.
It’s important to overseed the lawn for best results. Before you plant the grass, mow your lawn and remove all debris. You may need to continue overseeding until your lawn has germinated to your liking. Don’t worry about the grass you put in during the cold weather – it will die off before summer time and leave room for your warm-weather grass to grow in again.
Water Your Grass, But Don’t Let It Stand – Florida winters are tricky. You will likely experience dry spells, but also periods that can be fairly damp. Just because your grass’s growth is shunted does not mean that you should stop watering it during dry spells.
When the air has more moisture, it is important to check your grass and make sure the water is spreading and not standing in one area. When water doesn’t move, it creates the possibility for mildew or mold to grow. The presence of these substances can cause a grass fungal disease that has the potential to ruin your lawn.
Check Your Irrigation System –Winterization is not just for your lawn. The moving parts of your irrigation system can also be affected by colder weather. Florida is lucky to stay above freezing temperatures for the most part, but temperatures do sometimes get pretty low overnight. Irrigation systems should be checked on at least once a year anyway, so make it a routine to check each of your moving parts in the winter.
How Sunrise Irrigation & Sprinklers Can Help You This Winter
At Sunrise Irrigation, we know that lawn care is a year-round job, with different responsibilities for each season. After our experts install sprinkler systems or landscape lighting, we know our job is just beginning.
Get in contact with us during the winter season and we will come and check out your sprinkler system for any winterization needs. This process may include blowing out different parts of your sprinkler system in order to protect them from freeze damage. With routine maintenance, you will enjoy a more effective sprinkler system for a longer period of time.
While we are winterizing your sprinkler system, we can also perform other routine maintenance on your lawn and lawn care systems. Our experts can help with sprinkler repair (our maintenance plan comes with four free replacement sprinkler heads), system leaks, and overall checkups on your control panel and water flow.
Former U.S. Coast Guard and Tampa-native Joseph Swett is the owner of Sunrise Irrigation, a Palm Harbor-based company that has been providing sprinkler and irrigation services in the Tampa Bay Area, Florida, for more than 20 years. A RainBird-trained landscape specialist, Mr. Swett is dedicated to helping Florida homes and businesses implement effective irrigation technologies and transition towards smart water conservation. In his spare time, Joe sponsors and plays in two men’s softball leagues, but also enjoys surfing and going fishing with his family.