Updated Dec 2, 2022
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Growing a healthy lawn in the south can be quite a project. Sometimes it takes years of experience to get the proper watering schedule, weed control, aerification timing, and more. In our guide to southern lawn care, we provide:
Spring is the time of year that grass is going to start growing. Most of the south deals with a relatively warm summer, and it’s really important to jump on some things in the spring before the growth rates get out of control. Here are a few things that need to be addressed in the spring months.
The summer months can be rough in the south. When your air conditioning runs all day, and your sprinkler system can’t seem to catch up, you know that it must be tough for your grass to stay healthy and disease free. Here are some of the most important steps to follow for summer southern lawn care.
The fall can be a great time to get your lawn in excellent condition for the following year. However, you must pay close attention to the maintenance procedures to avoid the hassle of winter and spring problems.
The winter southern lawn care is a bit more low-key than the rest of the year; you should not have as many issues with weeds coming up, or turf getting stressed out. Here are the things to keep an eye on during the winter months.
One of the most critical steps in having a perfect southern lawn is to choose the proper type of grass. We know that the perennial ryegrass looks great all winter, but as soon as the temperatures heat up, expect it to die off completely. Warm season grasses are what most of your lawn should be made up of.
A warm season grass will grow best in temperatures that are more than 75 degrees. Typically speaking, warm season grasses will only work in the south, parts of the southwest, and sometimes in the southwest. A long summer can be impossible for a cool season grass to survive, but warm season grasses will thrive and continue to grow.
Bermuda grass is a warm season grass that loves the sun. One of the great things about Bermuda is that it is very drought tolerant and can handle lawn traffic. Always ensure your Bermuda grass has excellent drainage, as you can run into some nutrient issues if the water lingers too long.
A well-established St. Augustine lawn not only looks good, but it can also be relatively lower maintenance. The St. Augustine grass creates a really thick surface and will hold up well against weeds; it is also somewhat shade tolerant. Most of the grass you see in Florida is St. Augustine grass.
Zoysia grass is another warm season grass that does well in the cold; in fact, it won’t turn nearly as brown as Bermuda or St. Augustine. In addition to working well in the deep south, Zoysia grass also performs well in the southern transition zones. The Zoysia grass needs very little water to look great.
If you are not ready to take on the project of taking care of your turf, hiring a landscaping company to do this for you can also be an option. When looking into what a professional lawn care company can do for your home, you may want to see how much help you need. Sometimes hiring out for certain services is a better option than having everything completed by one company.
Most warm season grasses are sold as sod pieces and not in seed. However, during the spring and fall, when overseeding occurs, the process of seeding needs to be completed with the proper equipment and tools.
Fertilization occurs quite often on southern lawns. Choosing the proper fertilizer, as well as certain weed and feed products, can make or break the health of your lawn through the summer months. Warm season grasses do quite well with slow release fertilizers because of the length of their growing season.
Aerating and dethatching can make way for air, nutrients, water, and seed to get down to the soil. Certain grasses like St. Augustine can grow thick, and sometimes a bit of dethatching allows for a healthier and deeper green.
Irrigation requirements change from one season to the next. To keep a southern lawn healthy, you must water in the early morning hours to ensure that fungus and pests stay out of the turf.
Typically speaking, a hard cut back is done in the spring to ensure that the tree or shrub has a jump start on the growing season. Cutting back too much in the fall can weaken your trees and shrubs before the frosts come through.
Leaf removal tends to be a major problem in southern states. Although there are not as many deciduous trees in the tropical areas in Florida, leaf removal tends to be a major project throughout the rest of the south. Leaving the leaf debris on your turf can result in color changes, as well as fungus; this is something to stay on top of all year.
Southern lawns need to be mowed throughout the majority of the year. Increased mowing height is necessary for the summer months when the temperatures get high. There should be a few months in the summer where the mowing frequently decreases considerably.
Pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides are the best solution for weed control of southern lawns. Always ensure that you are using a product that will work for the type of turf that you have. Keep in mind that herbicides can impact perennial ryegrass, and this is something to keep in mind if you have just overseeded.
Lawn pest control will include getting rid of grubs and other creatures that are tearing away at the roots of your turf. The pest control products on the market can either be pet and kid-friendly or a more chemical solution that is likely faster acting. Looking for professionals to handle this part of your landscaping is quite common.
There are a few products that all southern homeowners should have on hand to keep their grass looking great all year long. As you get to know the landscaping needs in your area, you can determine what the best practices might be, but here are a few products that you should consider.
A great weed and feed product will fertilize and kill weeds at the same time. If you are smart about your timing of application on this product, you can save yourself both time and money.
A spreader is necessary for fertilization, lawn pest control, weed control as well as overseeding. Setting the spreader to the proper dispersion rate and using it in a methodical matter will help make your turf look that much better.
Water needs will change throughout the year, and having a great sprinkler timer to help make the watering process easier can help. If you have a sprinkler system, it also makes sense to look into a rain gauge to help with the concern of overwatering.
Grubs can come in quickly and start to take over your southern lawn. Sometimes if you see burrowing animals making their way through your turf, you know that grubs have already done some damage. If you treat the grubs, the burrowing animals like moles and even armadillos will leave your turf alone.
Perennial ryegrass works quite well for overseeing southern lawns; use this ryegrass each year to keep things green and lush when the southern warm season grasses turn brown.
If you want to keep your southern lawn from spreading into the landscaping beds, be sure to put up a barrier and then cover it with pine straw or mulch. These products will also give your yard a much more clean and updated look.
Now that you know all that is involved in keeping a southern lawn looking great throughout the year, it’s time to determine whether or not this is something you can do on your own. The important things to remember are that the overall process of maintaining a southern lawn is likely most complicated in the summer, and that’s when temperatures are hotter.
DIY lawn care helps to save money, but you will end up having to put in the time yourself. The bottom line is that you can learn to maintain a southern lawn with time, patience, and attention to detail. For those that fear this is not an option, a professional lawn care service can help.
The best professional southern lawn care service is TruGreen. TruGreen has locations all over the south and has been in the industry for more than 15 years. With TruGreen, you can customize the plan to work for your needs and ensure you get the exact services you need. TruGreen professionals are highly trained individuals that can address issues, help you with landscaping projects, and even work with you to maintain a healthy and lush southern lawn.
One of the best things about TruGreen is that they have various plans for homeowners to choose from. Everything from basic low-cost options to full service where you will never have to touch a thing.
Southern lawns can grow fast, and they can look fantastic from the fall to the spring. The key is to be maintaining your southern lawn throughout the entire season. Unfortunately, there is no true downtime as you will always have to look for weeds, soil needs, and fertilization issues. If taking care of a southern lawn is more than you can handle, a company like TruGreen can make things much more manageable.
When caring for a lawn, the first step is to do a soil test. Find out exactly where the health of the soil is and how this impacts the lawn. Once you have done this, you can start to make decisions about nutrients, watering, fertilization, and more.
Some of the benefits of having a lush and green lawn include:
Water is essential for all living things to grow, including your lawn. Although rainwater can help to reduce the amount of water you need to give your lawn, there are still watering requirements that are expected, especially in the south. Always water in the early morning hours to increase the efficiency of the watering and decrease the chance of fungus developing in the turf.
The southern lawn should be fertilized five to six times per year. This is typically done to help improve the turf’s overall growth rates and health, even when the lawn is in its slower growing periods.
A southern lawn should always be watered in the early morning hours. Watering in the middle of the day will cause evaporation that will not give the turf enough water. Watering at night allows the grass to sit wet all night, and you could end up with a fungus.
At House Method, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each lawn company/service according to our methodology.
Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated all of each lawn care service’s services, costs, and products. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all of the lawn care companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.
We developed a formula to objectively determine the best lawn care companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:
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