When to Fertilize Lawn in Florida | Step-by-Step (5 Best Tips)

If you want to know, when to fertilize lawn in Florida, you will love this step-by-step guide.

But first, let me introduce the amazing state of Florida to you.

You should know that Florida is the most populous southeastern state in America. After Texas, it is the second-most populous state in Southern America.

To understand how agriculture takes place in Florida, you have to understand its geography.

We have the Gulf of Mexico to its west, the Atlantic Ocean and Bahamas to its east, and the state of Alabama to its northwest. Now, let’s talk about the climate of Florida.

The climate of Florida:

This is a country that experiences different climates. This makes fertilizing your lawn a complex step.

But first of all, let’s look at the temperature of Florida. Here are all the details that you need to know.

when to fertilize lawn in florida

In summers:

  • The climate of Florida is what we call the “humid subtropical“.

This simply means that summers are hot and humid, while the winters are cool to mild. In other words, there is a relatively high temperature and precipitation throughout the year.

Note: Precipitation refers to rain, snow or hail.

  • The minimum temperature ranges from 32 °C to 35 °C. At night, the temperature ranges from 21℃ to 27℃.

The month of July is the hottest in which the average temperature is 28℃.

On the other hand, the month of January is the coldest. The average temperature is around 16℃. Pretty cool, isn’t it?

  • You should also know that the maximum temperature in Florida can reach 37℃ to 38℃.

This can happen due to humidity. Now, let me introduce humidity to you.

Humidity refers to the amount of water vapour in the air. If there are fewer water vapours in the air, the humidity will be low. Here’s how this affects the temperature.

Note that humid air holds more heat than dry air. So this is the reason why the temperature can go so high.

Quick fact: In 1931 the highest temperature of 42℃ was recorded in Monticello (Florida). Pretty hot, isn’t it?

In winters:

As I said above, winters in Florida are cold to mild.

Note that the temperature can vary in different cities. Here are some examples for you:

  • In the Keys, the average winter temperature is 18℃.

On the other hand, the average temperature in Tallahassee is 5 ℃. But the temperature at night is around 17 ℃.

  • On average, there are 8 to 9 days of rainfall in North Florida.

You should also know that there are 6 to 7 days of rainfall (average) centre-south as well. Note that rain is important for grass as it brings the required moisture to the soil.

when to fertilize lawn in Florida?

Are you still wondering, why are winters mild in Florida? The answer is that the predominant tropical easterly winds keep the temperature warm during the winters.

But, Miami experiences a temperature of below 7℃ every few decades.

Quick fact: In 1899 the coldest temperature of -18℃ was recorded in Florida! It is also known as the Great Arctic Outbreak.

Rainfall:

As I mentioned above, rainfall can be crucial for your lawn.

It allows more nitrogen to be released. Plus, the rainwater helps to flush the roots, allowing them to take up fresh nitrogen.

  • Note that the average precipitation is around 53.7 inches.

There is more precipitation in the warmer months, from June to September.

  • In South Florida and the Keys, September is usually the rainiest month.

In the same way, Orlando has the highest precipitation (generally) in June. So you should consider this when planning to fertilize your lawn.

Sunshine:

Here is what you need to know.

Sunshine is extremely important as it nurtures your plant or turf (the upper layer of soil consisting of grass).

Note: In fact, Florida is also known as the Sunshine state!

The amount of sunshine is great all around the year. Typically, South Florida receives more sunshine than North. In the same way, different cities receive different amounts of sunshine.

For example:

  • The area of Miami receives 70% sunshine.
  • Tampa receives 66%.
  • Pensacola receives 60%

So you have to consider this factor as well before fertilizing your lawn.

Now, let me share a step-by-step strategy on when to fertilize lawns in Florida?

Overview: The first application should take place when the soil temperature reaches 55 °F. You should use slow-release fertilizers. In this way, you will have to fertilize your lawn every six to eight weeks (depending on how you water your lawn as well).

When to Fertilize Lawn in Florida:

Here is a general guide on fertilizing your lawn.

when to fertilize lawn in florida
  1. The BEST time for lawn fertilization is when the soil temperature reaches 55 °F.

In simple words, soil temperature shows the warmth in the soil. This is important as it affects seed germination and plant growth.

This soil temperature is found usually around mid to late April (springs). This means that the first application should take place around this time.

But note that this can vary according to your location.

  1. Over here, you should use slow-release fertilizers.

As the name suggests, these fertilizers release their nutrients over a longer period (steadily). In this way, you will have to fertilize your lawn every six to eight weeks (depending on how you water your lawn as well).

Over here, I recommend you use granular fertilizer. You can spread them evenly with your hand. You can also use a fertilizer spreader for this.

The advantage of granular fertilizer is that it does not “flood” plants with nutrients like liquid fertilizers. It allows nutrients to be released over time.

  1. The second application should take place after four weeks (around mid-May or so). Then you can fertilize every six to eight weeks till October.

Now, let’s talk about watering your lawn.

As you give more water to your lawn, there is more growth. This simply means that you will have to apply greater fertilizer with more water.

Yes, the balance matters.

Make sure that you do not over-apply. A quick tip over here is to always use less than the “recommended” amount on the packaging.

Further reading:

5 Amazing Uses of Urea Fertilizer

Uses of DAP Fertilizer | The Ultimate Guide

So this was a general guide about fertilizing your lawn. If we talk about Florida, we have different types of grasses.

Here are details about some of them.

Types of Grass in Florida Lawns:

Centipede grass:

It is warm-season turf grass. This means that its growing season starts in late spring, and continues throughout summer.

The best time to apply fertilizer is a few weeks after “green up“.

Note: The beginning of the growing season is known as “green up”.

You should know that centipede grass does not need a high amount of fertilizer. You can use a phosphorus-free fertilizer, such as 15-0-15, as phosphorus can deplete iron levels.

Point to remember: 15-0-15 is the NPK ratio. NPK simply shows the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

So this fertilizer does not have phosphorus.

Note that it is a heat-tolerant grass that requires a low amount of nutrients. You will find this grass mostly in South Florida and can be grown in sandy and acidic soils as well.

Bahia grass:

You will notice a lot of people use this attractive grass in Florida.

Before moving on to the advantages and disadvantages of Bahia grass, you should know that it promises a low risk of disease and insect problems.

Note: Argentine, Paraguay 22, and Pensacola are some varieties of Bahia grass.

Here are some advantages of this grass:

  • Low maintenance is required.
  • It is drought tolerant.
  • It requires only sunlight.
  • The plantation is simple.
  • It has a light green pigmentation.

It also has a low water and nutrient requirement. If you prefer light green grass, you will love Bahia grass.

But if you like dark green grass, Bahia grass may not be the right choice.

when to fertilize lawn in florida

Here are some disadvantages of this grass.

  • It does not grow well at high pH.
  • It cannot tolerate shady places.
  • It has an uneven appearance.
  • It has big seedheads.

You should mow your lawn to maintain a height of 2 to 3 inches. Plus, DO NOT apply nitrogen early (in the growing season).

This is because late-season frost can damage the grass.

Bermuda grass:

It is a warm-season grass that is sensitive to cold temperatures.

This grass produces a dense turf that is adapted to the climate and soils of Florida. The best part?

It is drought-resistant as well!

Ormond, Tiflawn, and Tifway are some varieties of Bermuda grass. But here are some points that you should consider about this grass.

  • It requires a high amount of fertilizers for the best growth.
  • It has a bad shade and cold tolerance.
  • It requires high levels of maintenance.

This means that you should try to mow it 2-3 times a week.

  • They have poor tolerance to many insects and diseases.

If you are planning to grow this grass on your lawn, 2-6 fertilizer applications should take place from spring to fall.

If you fertilize too early, there is a danger of late-season frost. In the same way, applying too late is also not recommended.

St. Augustine grass:

This warm-season grass is tolerant to heat and humidity. It is also known as buffalo grass in South Africa.

Before talking about this grass in detail, note that it is famous in tropical and subtropical regions.

If we talk about applying fertilizer to this grass, note that it performs best if fertilized regularly. In general, the first application should take place in spring.

when to fertilize lawn in florida

For central Florida, the first application should take place around early April. In the same way, it should take place around mid-April in North Florida.

Then maintain a schedule where you feed it every 6 to 8 weeks. The best months to feed St. Augustine grass are March, May, July, and September.

To know about the amount of fertilizer, you can check the details on the packaging. But, you can apply 6lbs of fertilizer for every 1000 Square feet of lawn.

The grass should be mowed to 3-4 inches. Now, let me introduce the Zoysia grass to you.

Zoysia grass:

Zoysia is another warm-season grass that is heat and drought-tolerant.

Like all the other warm-season grasses it should be grown in the late spring and summer. This attractive grass is common in Florida.

This grass can turn brown in winter but stays green for more time than the other warm-season grasses. This grass should be moved to 11 inches on average.

This grass needs less nitrogen and NPK 30-0-4 is used for this grass for the best development. This grass can be grown in a soil pH of 5.8 to 7.0.

Now might be wondering, when to fertilize zoysia grass?

Fertilizer should be applied in 3-6 applications, starting from spring “green up”. If you apply Nitrogen early, frost may damage the grass.

If we talk about the types of fertilizers, you can use a 15-0-15, 15-0-10 or 15-0-5 fertilizer. As I mentioned above, these values show the percentage of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium.

Here’s how these contribute to plant growth:

Nitrogen: It promotes healthy leaf growth by increasing chlorophyll (pigment involved in photosynthesis) production.

Phosphorus: It promotes strong root growth that causes the turf to grow thick and lush.

Potassium: It gives grass the strength to fight drought, stress and disease.

Recommendations:

Here are some general recommendations.

The first factor that plays an important role in fertilizing your lawn in Florida is the NPK 16-4-8 fertilizer.

The NPK 16-4-8 fertilizer leads to better growth and a pest-free lawn. The nutrients it contains can increase the greenery of your lawn, and also kill pests to protect your lawn from various diseases.

The second factor that can play an important role is Iron sulfate.

The best feature of iron sulfate is that it maintains the greenery of your lawn without causing excessive growth. The application of the iron sulfate should take place during the hottest months of summer.

Wrapping up:

With this, your question “when to fertilize lawn in Florida?” is answered.

Now it is your turn. Which part of this topic did you enjoy reading the most? Is it about the climate of Florida? Do let me know in the comments below.

To recap, we covered the types of grass in Florida lawns as well.

Thank you for reading and staying with me till the end. Stay tuned for more.

When to Fertilize Lawn in Florida | Step-by-Step (5 Best Tips)

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