Brown grass can be deceiving during wintertime in Florida. After that first frost, your lawn will turn brown, but it doesn’t mean you need to water it more. Your grass is in dormancy, meaning it needs less water instead of more.
So, avoid the temptation to increase watering to three times a week. Bahia grass only needs to be watered once a week, while St. Augustine requires watering twice a week.
Overwatering may do more harm than good. According to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension Service, overwatering can damage — or even kill – your lawn. And it’s a common problem. L.E. Trenholm and J. Bryan Unruh, in the article “Let Your Lawn Tell You When to Water,” published online by IFAS, suggests turning off your automatic sprinklers and watering when your grass shows signs of “drought stress.” The signs include folding leaf blades, a blue-gray color, and footprints or tire tracks that remain visible for a long period of time.
These days, we need to be concerned about runoff as well. If you give your grass more water than it needs, fertilizers and pesticides from your lawn may be washed into nearby lakes, polluting our water supply.
Watering less frequently actually makes your grass healthier by training your roots to grow deep, protecting your turf from drought.
column by EVAN QUINN
BIO: Evan Quinn is a native Floridian who went to high school at Winter Haven High. He learned hard work and customer service from his labor on the family’s poultry operation while growing up. He has operated Quinn and Company Land Services, Citrus Nursery Management, and Central Florida Pest Management for the past 11 years.