5 Gainesville Landscape Tips for this Summer
With temperatures beginning to rise, it’s important to start preparing your Gainesville landscape for success in the months ahead. Does your curb appeal need some added color? Is your lawn ready for the warm weather and adjusted irrigation times?
We have compiled a few tips that will keep your lawn in great shape during the summer months.
1. Don’t Butcher the Grass
It’s tempting to lower your mower blades to cut the grass as short as possible. After all, you reason, it’s sort of like your hair—the shorter you cut it now, the longer you can go between trims. Grass doesn’t work like that, especially when it comes to St. Augustine and Zoysia grass.
Chopping the grass is more likely to leave it brown and dead. For the warm season, not only should you sharpen the blades, but you should also position them to never cut more than 1/3rd of the leaf blade off for an optimal lawn. Leaving the grass slightly taller won’t interfere with the groomed appearance of your lawn, but the blades remain long enough to bathe in the sunlight, which creates nutrient-rich roots and soil.
Learn more about caring for your specific Gainesville turfgrass here.
2. Trust your Smart Controller or Weather Sensor
Watering the lawn is a necessity in Florida, but our area is also humid, and we get a good amount of rainfall in summer. That eases a bit of the burden of irrigating, but it depends on the weather. A week of scorching weather can torch the yard if you aren’t watchful, which is why many summer lawn care tips focus on hydration and irrigation techniques.
As tempting as it is, we do not recommend “turning the sprinklers on manually when it’s dry,” because inevitably life happens. Once the lawn is stressed, you are already negatively impacting your curb appeal - and inviting pests and weeds in. A scheduled watering plan, that is paused automatically when rain is in the area, is the best way to ensure top-notch health in your summer landscape.
Learn more about Smart Irrigation Controllers here.
3. Put Away the Nitrogen
This summer lawn care tip doesn’t apply to garden beds and edible landscaping, but for your lawn - don’t fertilize your lawn with any nitrogen (first number of the N-P-K content on fertilizer) after June, per Alachua County regulations. This is why our lawn and ornamental health programs include slow-release nutrients applied at the end of spring that will feed the landscape through summer and fall.
You can still apply micronutrients and topdressings that will help feed your roots and soil to improve your landscape’s health through the summer, but avoid nitrogen if you don’t want on the County’s 'naughty list.'
Learn more about the Alachua County Fertilizer Restrictions here.
4. Prune back your azaleas
Most landscape professionals go by the July 4th rule, which is to make sure all Azaleas (Specifically larger varieties) are pruned back heavily and shaped by Independence Day. This will allow them to start budding in late Summer for next Spring’s bloom season. July to next Spring is an extended growing period - so starting from a tight shape is important to not looking overgrown and unkept.
Some homeowners prefer a manicured shaped Azalea at the expense of the blooms, so if that's you please ignore this tip and continue to shape after budding season - but most love the flowers and so this is an important task to get checked off.
Learn more about Azalea care here.
5. Plant some Summer Color
After your Hydrangeas, Irises, Agapanthus, Azaleas, and Camellias are done blooming - Summer color can be hard to go without. If your landscape needs a little color throughout the dog days of summer - consider adding these heat-loving plants into your design:
- Drift Roses
- Salvia (Perennial and Annual)
- Cardinal Firespike (late Summer)
- Golden Cassia
- Vitex Tree
- Coleus (Annual)
Find more Summer Color Landscape Inspiration here.
If we can be of help with any of your Gainesville Landscape needs - please don't hesitate to reach out to us give our team a call or text at (352) 378-5296. We're local and have been serving Gainesville for over 15 years. We look forward to working with you!