Is Your Gainesville Lawn Tired? Here's 1 Way to Restore it This Spring

All lawns look tired after several years of Florida's brutal summer heat under minimal lawn care. By minimal, I mean doing nothing more than the basics - mowing, fertilizing, pest control, and irrigating.

The problem lies below the surface. Minimal care slowly depletes the soil's nutrients and their fertility. Healthy soil is airy, rich with nutrients, and full of microbial activity. Good soil combines sand, silt, clay, organic matter and a host of beneficial insects to form a growing medium that supports vigorous plant roots. Rich soil holds nutrients and water longer, and makes them available to plants. It also allows excess water to drain off. Healthy soil also holds vital air pockets, providing essential oxygen to roots. It is home to millions of microbes, insect larvae, earth worms and other organisms that break down organic matter, aerate, and improve soil structure.

All of these benefits of healthy soil are started by annual aeration of your lawn in the spring...

Why is a pre-emergent lawn application important for Gainesville lawns?

It's not a question of if you need a preemergent weed control in Gainesville, Florida ; for homeowners in North Florida, it’s simply a matter of when. After all, it’s hard to be proud of a lawn that is full of weeds, such as crabgrass, torpedograss, Poa, ground ivy, or dollarweed.

Ideally, you would stop difficult weeds before they even appear, but preemergent weed control is merely one part of a quality lawn weed control program. Your local lawn application specialists know that it takes a mix of proper fertization, watering, and weed control practices in order to help guarantee a weed-free lawn.

Dealing with difficult-to-control weeds

Weeds that we consider difficult to control tend to need ongoing visits or tailored strategies for successful lawn weed control. These sorts of weeds can be either annual or perennial, and cause problems for different reasons. However, a quality pre-emergent weed control program helps eradicate these weed before they get a...

February Lawn Pest of the Month: Azalea Lace Bug

Azaleas are a popular landscaping plant due to their ease of care and their beauty, but for all their ease, they are not without a few common pest problems. One of those is the azalea lace bug, which is a common Gainesville lawn pest that we see.

These azalea insects can cause significant damage to a plant if not controlled. Lace bug damage to azaleas tends to be cosmetic, but they can ruin the look of a healthy azalea very quickly. Identifying Azalea Lace Bug Damage Lace bug damage to azaleas normally occurs on the leaves and will look like silvery, white or yellow spots that make the plant look faded and losing vigor. This is caused by these lace bugs literally sucking small sections of the leaf dry and killing that section of the plant. As these azalea leaf pests move on across the leaf, more and spots will appear causing the greyish coloring.

You will also know if you have these common lawn pests by looking at the underside of the Azalea's leaves, where the lace...

How can I help my Gainesville lawn in winter?

During the cooler winter months in Gainesville, St Augustine and Zoysia turf grass lawns are dormant – which means basically resting for the upcoming spring season. The soil microbes are still busy too, doing what soil microbes do – composting – just at a slower pace than normal.

Many are fooled into thinking the soil and grass doesn’t need fertilizer application and water in the winter just – the St Augustine turf and the soil microbes are living, growing and need food and water to stay healthy. Without an active and healthy soil microbe population in winter, the turf grass will lag in the spring, losing valuable time during it's prime growing season.

5 THINGS TO DO IN THE WINTER FOR ST AUGUSTINE LAWNS

1. Water Your Lawn Correctly
2. Apply Lawn Nutrients
3. Mow as High as the Mower will Go
4. Weed Control
5. Be Patient
Master these five activities during the winter and you’ll be rewarded with a healthy lawn this spring and...

Quick Tip: How to Get Rid of Fall Lawn Weeds

I've been getting a lot of people asking me what can be done about all the dove weed, nutsedge, and other weeds they're seeing in their lawn this fall.

The good news is most are summer weeds that will go away soon. The heavy rains from an active storm season made weeds especially prevalent this past year. The bad news is these Gainesville lawn weeds have already left their seeds in the lawn which means they will be back again next year unless something is done over the next few months to prevent them from germinating.

That's why at The Master's, our annual fertilization and weed control program includes fall and winter visits. These are some of the most important visits we make all year, because we are applying preventatives that will keep those seeds from turning into weeds next year.

On these visits we apply a pre-emergent that prevents winter weeds from coming up along with a post-emergent for any broad-leaf weeds that have already sprouted. In late winter,...

5 Tips to Remember for Your Fall Lawn Fertilization

When it comes to fall lawn fertilization in Gainesville, one size does not fit all. Lawn fertilizer programs and mixes that benefit St. Augustine lawns are wasteful and may even harm Zoysia lawns, even if they're next door neighbors. Also, soils in different areas of town may differ in terms of soil pH and plant-available nutrients such as sand and clay do, which is why we always do a soil analysis through UF's IFAS department here in Gainesville to assure our lawn spraying program is the right mixture for your soil and lawn. 

For our Gainesville DIY'ers, 5 quick tips for your lawn are:

1. Don't guess which fertilizer is best.

Read the label and know your lawn. If you don’t know what’s in the soil or the turfgrass you have, how can you accurately prescribe a fertilizer program that’s most beneficial? When in doubt rely on soil tests to show you the way, especially for new or struggling properties coming under...

VIDEO: Gainesville Lawn Pest of the Month: Crape Myrtle Aphid

Crape myrtles are very popular plants, and you may have them in your Gainesville lawn, due to their beauty and low maintenance requirements. Planting and maintaining crape myrtles according to recommended procedures will give them the best possible chance at warding off lawn pests. A stressed crape myrtle is more susceptible to damage by insects and diseases.

Are moths causing brown spots in my lawn?

When we have extreme weather in Florida, we usually find that a few things really like the conditions.  This summer it has been the moths and the 'Tropical Sod Webworm,' which just love the wet yards we've had.
 
It has been so prolific that our phones have rung with people asking what they are and how to they get rid of them.  Perhaps you've seen some fluttering around in your lawn?
 
How are moths and webworms connected might you ask? Great question! Much like a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, the webworm turns into a moth, and the webworm is what does so much damage to Gainesville lawns. 
 
How do webworms create the brown spots in the lawn? They chew the grass down to the roots as it's primary source of food, causing a similar effect on the lawn as if it were scalped with a weedeater or lawn mower. 
 
The chewed or affected areas typically look...

VIDEO: Why are moths in my Gainesville lawn?

Moths are the parents of a Gainesville lawn pest known as the Tropical Sod Webworm. Do you know how caterpillars go into a cocoon and transform into butterflies? Sod webworms do the same thing, except they become moths. 
 
Webworms eat the tops of St. Augustine and Zoysia grass down to the tougher stolon, which causes a scalped look, typically in wet areas of the lawn. They also leave behind green pellets, which are the remnants of the lawn after the webworm has digested it.
 
Here are some quick notes about webworm damage in lawns:
  • Moths are typically noticed fluttering in the early morning dew of the lawn when you walk through it.
  • They are typically swarming when the heavy rains of summer/fall begin, which in Gainesville is anywhere between late June and October. 
  • The webworms are translucent green, and about 1/2" long. They're easily located in the morning dew, but they stay in the thatch during
  • ...

VIDEO: How can I know Chinch Bugs are in my Gainesville lawn?

Today's Quick Tip on Gainesville lawns is about Chinch bug damage, and how to decipher it from drought stress, webworm damage, fungus, or other common yard issues. There are three main things to look for:

  1. Where is the damage? Typically, chinch bugs attack Gainesville yards close to concrete, asphalt, and in areas that are in full sun. 
  2. What do the damaged areas look like? When chinch bugs attack lawns in Gainesville, they leave a clear trail. The dead grass looks dark brown (compared to a the typical greyish color of dead grass) and is typically very patchy. Also, weeds typically thrive because chinch bugs do not damage weeds - just the grass.
  3. Is there a yellow ring? To be clear, there can also be a yellow ring around fungus, too. However, chinch bugs and fungus attack very different St. Augustine grass. Chinch bugs attck drought-stressed grass, so the yellowed turf would be in typically dry soil (
  4. ...

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