As our Florida winter comes to an end (sometimes months earlier than the calendar denotes), plans for a good spring cleaning are on most families’ to-do lists. We change out the down and fleece blankets for lightweight cotton coverlets. We make sure that our A/C is in good working order and that our deck and patio furniture are hosed down. We pack away our winter wardrobe (some sweaters, long pants and cute boots), and make room for our Florida spring attire: flip-flops, t-shirts, and shorts. But let’s not forget about what our neighbors and guests first see when they come to call: our lawn.
More than likely, after going through a winter that has been pretty dry with quite a bit of frost, and even a hard freeze in some Florida counties, your lawn, whether it’s St. Augustine, or the heartier, softer EMPIRE® Zoysia grass, looks brown. It is nothing to worry about as the grass is in some phase of dormancy and is waiting for springtime to green up again.
Justin Wallace is the Executive Marketing Manager for Sod Solutions, the company that brought EMPIRE Zoysia from Brazil. While EMPIRE is a breed that is perfect for the Florida climate, Justin wanted to share some (not-so) secrets on how to prepare your EMPIRE Zoysia lawn for the warmer (and wetter) spring season:
1. “Scalp” it! If your EMPIRE lawn is mature and not a new installation, drop the blade on your mower one notch to give your lawn a buzz cut, and make sure to bag the clippings on this first cut going into spring. This will de-thatch the thick, dormant layer of the grass and make room for the new, green grass to push through. WARNING: Do not try this with your St. Augustine lawn, which could be severely damaged by doing so!
2. Water it…but not too much! EMPIRE Zoysia was developed to be drought-tolerant and needs less than 1" of water per week, and that includes the rainfall. As we go into our wetter season, you may not need to run your sprinklers at all!
3. Fertilize. Sod Solutions offers an easy-to-use, water-in fertilizing program that will help you get the best results during the growing seasons with the Lawnifi Box, which is available to purchase directly from their website. Go to www.EMPIREinFlorida.com and click on MAINTAIN.
4. Put down a layer of preventative systemic fungicide. Justin says that a hose-in fungicide is fine to use preventatively if you have not had previous issues with lawn diseases. If you’ve had an issue in the past, he recommends using a stronger product, such as Armada 50 or Heritage. Click on SHOP at EMPIREinFlorida.com to see a list of recommended products. While you’re there, you can also check out “Sod University,” which has informative videos, suggestions and advice to help you have the best lawn on the block.
This easy “Spring Greening” routine on your Empire Zoysia lawn will start the grass growing into the thick, lush, hardy, soft and just simply gorgeous green blanket that your family–and your neighbors–will enjoy throughout our long, hot Florida summer.
By Ilyne Hayes