Turfgrass

Freeze damage and drought

Freeze damage and drought

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Hanging Chad – posted 23 January 2001 22:25

I live in Palm Beach County, Florida and we are in a drought with water restrictions. Also, we have had a few days of freezing temperatures. Our grass seems to be in distress. We all have St. Augustine and it’s all brown. Will it come back if and when we have another rain or will we have to replace it? Also, while it’s in this condition should we fertilize? I’d really appreciate your help.

seed – posted 23 January 2001 22:33

Chad, the recent cold in Palm Beach County should not permanently harm your St. Augustine. The threshold for winterkill in St. Augustine is a minimum air temperature of 20 Fahrenheit http://floridaturf.com/problems/twissqu2.htm

Following frost injury to St. Augustinegrass, the brown foliage is normally replaced by green within 3 weeks. While the water use restrictions will slow down the recovery, twice-per-week irrigation is sufficient at this time of year (January) to keep a lawn healthy, if that water is well distributed. By good distribution, I mean that sprinkler heads are spaced closely enough to provide overlap, so when you do water, approximately the same amount of water reaches all spots in the lawn. The spacing of most sprinkler heads should be to give “head-to-head distribution,” that is, the spray or stream from each sprinkler head just barely reaches its neighbors. The vast majority of irrigation systems are very ineffective in covering the lawn, rather they deposit far too much water in some areas, and little or no water in other areas. This is noticeable once we enter our dry season http://c-11.org/restrictions/

The south Florida lawn typically requires only 2 to 2.5 inches of water per month during January and February http://floridaturf.com/staugust/water.htm

Consequently, natural rainfall and even a marginal irrigation system will allow your lawn to limp along for the near term. By April and May the south Florida lawn requires about 5 inches of water per month, and there will be little chance of satisfying that from rain. Therefore you will need to havea precision irrigation system by then, or you will see large brown areas again.

Phil

Weekend Warrior – posted 02 January 2002 20:22

Should I protect my Floratam lawn Thanks, WW in Orlando

Becky – posted 03 January 2002 03:25

I had some cold browning last year and it all came back just fine.

George777 – posted 07 February 2002 18:56

Here in GA I do not fert turf that is stressed by drought. If you can not get water on it I would hold off on fert

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