Gainesville Grass Care Tips for Each Turf Type

It’s already been a pretty unique year in our Gainesvile, Florida lawn and landscapes, and there’s still time left for more unusual activity from Mother Nature. But, homeowners and business owners across North Central Florida need to start looking ahead to the fast-approaching dawn of the summer growing season and giving some thought to how to best handle your lawn service in the coming months.

There are four major types of Gainesville grass types that most commonly are seen in our market: 

  • Zoysia
  • Centipese
  • Bermuda
  • St. Augustine (we saved the most common for last)

They’re each different, and have their own set of best practices for yearly lawn care. Here’s a brief primer for caring for each of these four grass types as we look forward to the spring thaw:

Caring for Gainesville Zoysia Lawns
Zoysia grass requires a little extra attention, but it can make for a beautiful, lush lawn if it’s properly cared for. Some points to keep in mind about this turf variety:

To give your zoysia grass lawn the best chance to thrive, follow these simple care instructions:

  1. Mow the grass short (between 2-3”)
  2. Mow at least weekly (this grass grows quickly and needs to stay short to thrive)
  3. Keep your mower blade very sharp (it gets tougher as it grows, so it’s more prone to tearing when hit with a dull blade than other varieties)
  4. Maintain about an inch of watering per week (including natural rainfall), don’t overwater.
  5. Small, frequent lawn applications of fertilizer during the growing season works best (don’t fertilize too late in the year or your lawn won’t properly go dormant)
  6. Keep an eye out for signs of pests or disease (this grass can be prone to some common Gainesville lawn pests and diseases)

Caring for Gainesville Bermuda lawns
Bermuda grass is a tough, durable, and aggressive variety that has a lot of strengths adapted to hot Florida summers. These same qualities can also present challenges if it starts taking over areas where you don’t want grass, like your ornamental hedges, flower gardens, or other turfgrass. Some general highlights of this variety include:

  • Highly weed resistant
  • Excellent drought resistance
  • Prefers direct sun, not nearly as successful in shade
  • Handles salt well
  • Great traffic tolerance for sports fields and dog parks

Here are some important tips for caring for bermuda lawns in the Gainesville area:

  1. Mow the grass very short (1” in most cases)
  2. Mow every few days (you never want to cut more than ⅓ of the length of each blade of grass)
  3. Recycle the clippings (grass clippings are the very best mulch source for bermudagrass)
  4. Maintain about 1” to 1¼” of water per week (including natural rainfall), a little more in very sandy soil.
  5. Standard fertilizing works well (just be sure to have your soil tested to verify pH balance prior to treatment)
  6. Keep an eye out for signs of pests or disease (while this grass fights off weeds very well, and doesn’t provide an optimal environment for some lawn pests, burrowing insects are still a danger such as mole crickets)
  7. Needs to be aerated early in the year

Caring for Gainesville Centipede lawns
Centipede grass is probably the best choice if you’re looking for a low-maintenance Gainesville lawn. It’s tough and durable, and does very well resisting weeds and pests without a lot of lawn applications. Its one Achilles Heel though, is that it doesn’t do well with heavy foot traffic, so it may not be the best choice for yards where kids and pets regularly romp.

This variety is known for:

  • Excellent weed and pest resistance due to its rough texture
  • Does well in shade, but can handle moderate sun too
  • Can thrive in acidic soil
  • Not very drought resistant, so watering is important

Here are some key tips for caring for a centipede grass in Gainesville, Florida lawns:

  1. Mow the grass at a moderate height (between 1½” and 2” is best)
  2. Mow less often (biweekly mowing is enough unless you have tall weeds)
  3. *Very Important* Maintain up to 1½” of water per week (including natural rainfall), and keep an eye out for signs it needs more.
  4. Recognize that centipede grass is naturally a much lighter color (yellow-green) than other varieties. (This doesn’t mean it needs more water or fertilizer — a common misconception.)
  5. A minimal fertilizing schedule is best (it easily burns from excess lawn fertilizer applications)
  6. Stay vigilant against white grubs and nematodes (these are the only pests that routinely harm centipedegrass, but a bad infestation can cause a lot of damage)

Caring for Gainesville St. Augustine grass lawns
St. Augustine grass is very popular in the North Florida area because it can thrive in sandy soil and hot temperatures. However, it tends to be higher maintenance, has a low tolerance to cold, and can be more susceptible to diseases than other varieties. Some points to keep in mind about St. Augustine turfgrass:

  • Not as hardy as other varieties
  • Does very well in sun, but can also handle shade (with certain varieties)
  • Can thrive in sandy soil, so it can thrive right on the coast
  • Not very drought resistant, so it needs to stay well-watered

Here are the best practices for caring for St. Augustine lawns in Gainesville, Florida -

  1. Mow the grass higher than other varieties (preferably between 4-5”)
  2. Adjust the mowing schedule to avoid “shocking” the grass or creating too much thatch. (1/3rd leaf rule)
  3. Water regularly, and extra when it begins to fold.
  4. Do regular lawn applications based on specific soil needs and pest prevention
  5. Stay on the lookout for any signs of chinch bugs (these lawn pests are very common in our area, and they love St. Augustine grass)

If you’d like more tips for caring for whatever grass your Gainesville lawn is made of, or if you’d like to explore outsourcing your lawn care this year to professionals, contact The Master's Lawn Care and we’d be happy to help. (352) 378-5296