Even though we’re blessed with a supremely temperate climate in the winter, you’ll still need lawn care in Orlando. Warm weather grass plants, such as St. Augustine’s or Bahia, will go dormant during cooler weather. This will turn it yellow or brown, so you need to do something to prevent that. You’ll also want to prepare your lawn for prime growing conditions for the next Spring. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do!
Overseeding might be the best thing you can do to immediately remedy your dying lawn. In essence, because your current turf is going dormant, you need to temporarily seed it with cool weather grass seeds that can handle the different climate. This process is called overseeding. Ryegrass is probably the most popular type to overseed with in Central Florida, mainly due to its low cost and quick growth. Overseeding is most effective directly after core aeration.
2. Core Aeration
Core aeration is the process of relieving compaction in a lawn. Ever seen those little pellets of dirt on a soccer or football field? That’s the byproduct of aeration. Over time, your lawn becomes compacted due to foot traffic and damage. This is a problem, because it is harder to nourish the roots of your lawn. Core aeration will allow your lawn to breathe and will increase the efficacy of things like fertilization and overseeding. Doing this is highly recommended in late Autumn or early Winter.
Thatch build up happens when organic debris is produced faster than it can be broken down. The largest part of thatch is made up of parts that don’t break down easily, like stem nodes, crowns, roots, and fibers of vascular tissues. This layer should be no more than a half inch, and you should really look into dethatching if it is larger than 3/4 of an inch (a thin layer can actually be good for your lawn). Too thick a layer of thatch is bad because it is subject to desiccation and reduced oxygen flow to grass roots. No bueno. If your lawn falls into the “too much thatch” camp, early winter is the perfect time to grab a dethatcher (or a verticutter), and reduce the amount of thatch in your lawn.
Most types of turfgrass in Florida should be fertilized 4-5 times per year (some types excluded). This means that late fall or early winter is another crucial window in which you can feed your lawn, prepping it for colder conditions as well as keeping it healthy for the following spring. Make sure, however, you do so early. If your grass is already dormant, fertilizing will be a waste of time, money, and effort.