Skip to content

Southern and Northern Grass Differences

This blog posting is for those of you located in areas that can grow both Northern and Southern Grasses.  Turf experts call these areas the “transition zone”.  You can tell if you are in the transition zone if some lawns in your neighborhood are brown (dormant) this time of year and some remain green in winter (especially if you fed your lawn a couple of times in fall).

Winter dormant Bermuda on the left and a blend of Fescue/Kentucky Bluegrass on the right

February picture of winter dormant Bermuda on the left and a blend of Fescue/Kentucky Bluegrass on the right

Here are some facts about Northern and Southern Lawns:

Northern Grasses (like Bluegrass, Fescue and Ryegrass)

  • Stay green all winter, especially with a couple of fall feedings.
  • Can grow in sunny areas and can tolerate a fair amount of shade.
  • Healthiest growth with 4 or 5 feedings a year during spring and fall when daytime high temps are below the 90’s.
  • Grass height should be around 2-1/2 to 4 inches after mowing.
  • New grass seed can be planted in early spring and early fall.

Southern Grasses (like Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine, Bahia and Centipede)

  • These lawns are brown in the winter when they go dormant (except in very southern areas).
  • Grow best in full sun, however St. Augustine and Zoysia have some tolerance for shade.
  • Feed 4 or 5 times a year.  Spread the first feeding when you are starting to see about 50% green up in early spring from the winter brown color. Then feed every two months through the end of September.  Centipede lawns do best with 2 or 3 feedings a year.
  • Grass height should be (after mowing):  Bermuda ½ to 2 inches, Zoysia ¾ to 2 inches, St. Augustine and Bahia 2 to 4 inches, and Centipede 1 to 3 inches.
  • Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede and Bahia can be seeded in late spring.  St. Augustine needs to be sprigged or sodded.

If you want to figure out what kind of lawn you have, click here to go to Scotts easy to use grass type identifier.  This tool uses your zip code to narrow down the kind of lawns that grow in your area with descriptions and pictures.

Crabgrass Prevention in the South and West

Last year’s crabgrass is dead and gone after any heavy frosts over the past few months.  The seeds those plants left behind practically everywhere are raring to grow as your soil warms up.  The good news is you can stop them from growing by putting down a Scotts Halts barrier that prevents them from geminating.  Even if you live in parts of the deep south and southern California where heavy frosts do not occur, you can prevent new crabgrass plants from growing from seed in your soil.

The big question:  When to apply?  Experts say crabgrass germination starts when your soil temperature reaches 55 degrees for several days.  Here is a link to a soil temperature tracking map that provides you up to date soil temps for your area. You can also look at a 5-day projection of soil temps for your geography by using the pull-down menu at that web site.  It is better to get your preventer down too early than too late.

Crabgrass seedlings about a week after germination.  Crabgrass gets its name because it sprawls from a central root low across the ground. It can become a problem quickly because it is able to grow vigorously in hot, dry conditions choking out your good grass. Before dying in the fall, a single weed can distribute thousands of seeds which will be ready to germinate in spring.

Crabgrass seedlings about a week after germination. Crabgrass gets its name because it sprawls from a central root low across the ground. It can become a problem quickly because it is able to grow vigorously in hot, dry conditions choking out your good grass. Before dying in the fall, a single weed can distribute thousands of seeds which will be ready to germinate in spring.

Here are some timing guidelines for those of you living in areas where it is important to spread your preventer over the next several weeks:

For Florida:  Apply by Mid-February.   If you have dormant (brown-looking) Bermudagrass, Zoysia or Centipede grass you should use Scotts HALTS  without the Turf Builder.  If you have St. Augustinegrass you should use Scotts Halts now and then feed your lawn later with Scotts Bonus S Weed and Feed.

For other Mid-South States:  Apply by March 1.  If you have dormant (brown-looking) Bermudagrass, Zoysia or Centipede grass you should use Scotts HALTS without the Turf Builder.  If you have Fescue, use Scotts Turf Builder with Halts.

For Texas:  Apply by March 1 in South Texas, by March 15 in rest of the state.  If you have dormant (brown-looking) Bermudagrass, Zoysia or Centipede grass you should use Scotts HALTS without the Turf Builder.  If you have St. Augustinegrass you should use Scotts Halts now and then feed your lawn later with Scotts Bonus S Weed and Feed.

For California:  Apply by March 1 in Southern California and by March 15 in Northern California.  Use Scotts Turf Builder with Halts.

Pollinator Plant Ideas

I recently ran across a great website that helps you figure out which plants attract pollinators to your garden.  You enter your zip code to access one of 32 regional guides that detail pollinator tips and plants geared to your area.  Click here to get started.

Not only will Sunflowers be loaded with bees and other pollinators, but as the season draws to an end birds will flock to them to eat the seeds.

Our sunflowers are loaded with bees and other pollinators and as the season draws to an end birds flock to them to eat the seeds. (click photo to enlarge)

Swallowtail Butterfly on our Joe-Pye Weed

Swallowtail Butterfly on our Joe-Pye Weed.  (Click photo to enlarge)

New in 2016 is “The Pollinator Promise,” which is a yearlong effort from ScottsMiracle-Gro to improve consumer education about pollinators and to promote the creation of backyard and urban habitats where they can thrive. The Pollinator Promise will fund the establishment of at least 50 pollinator gardens throughout the United States in 2016, as part of the company’s GRO1000 community garden initiative.

For more information on how to join ScottsMiracle-Gro’s pollinator effort, “The Pollinator Promise,” visit the newly developed website, www.scottsmiraclegro.com/PollinatorPromise. In addition to information on submitting a grant application, visitors can also learn more about how to create their own pollinator garden.

Apply Now for a 2016 Community Garden Grant

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company recently announced the opening of the GRO1000 Grassroots Grants award program, now in its sixth year. The program aids communities and not-for-profit civic organizations looking to improve their neighborhoods through the installation of pollinator habitats and community gardens and green spaces.

GRO1000 is part of ScottMiracle-Gro’s promise to support the creation of more than 1,000 community gardens and green spaces in the U.S., Canada and Europe by 2018, which will align with the company’s 150th anniversary. To date, more than 680 community organizations across the country, as well as dozens of major U.S. cities, have received program funding.

The 2016 GRO1000 Grassroots Grants application is available online at www.GRO1000.com. The deadline for application submission is February 22, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Grants, which range from $500 to $1,500, are awarded based on pollinator habitat creation, community impact, youth involvement, harvest donation and sustainability, among other factors. Winners will be announced following the first day of spring, March 21, 2016.

Frenchtown neighborhood creates urban farming hub and educational pavilion in Tallahassee, Florida

Frenchtown neighborhood creates urban farming hub and educational pavilion in Tallahassee, Florida

My Most Popular Blog Postings in 2015

These three blog postings were read by the most people during 2014.  I am also giving you a link to my favorite blog posting of all time:

Number 1:  Kill Weeds without Killing Your Good Grass

“Help! The weeds are winning!” You dig them… they grow back. You treat them… but you killed your good grass too. You put down a crabgrass preventer, but you still got dandelions now. You ask, “So… what’s the secret to killing weeds?  (Click here to read more)

Number 2:  When Do You Put Down GrubEx?

“If you have ever had grub problems in your lawn, it’s for darn sure you don’t want them again.  So this time of year I get the question:  “When is the best time to spread GrubEx on my lawn?”  (Click here to read more)

Number 3:  How to Kill Your Bad Lawn and Start Over

“If your lawn is troubled by the kind of grassy weeds you can’t kill without killing your good grass, or if you are fighting a constant battle with lawn diseases, or if you have a lawn that is more than 20 years old and is looking tired and old, consider lawn renovation.”  (Click here to read more)

My favorite blog posting of all time:  Lawn Humor

“I am here to dispel the myth that those of us who have built our life’s work around watching grass grow do not have a sense of humor.  We love a good laugh as much as the next person.  In fact, the lawn and garden experts who have staffed our Help Center for more than 50 years have told me numerous stories of callers who made them laugh.  Here are a few that I think will bring a smile to your face:”  (Click here to read more)

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Keep coming back this year for more of my lawn and garden tips.

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 400,000 times in 2015. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 17 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas Idea for an Indoor Kitchen Garden

Here is a great gift idea for that special person on your list who loves to cook AND really appreciates healthy, fresh fixings.  The good thing about this gift is even if that person has never grown anything or even if that person has no place to grow things they can be successful!

Click here to learn how the Miracle-Gro AeroGarden system can grow herbs, salad greens, vegetables, flowers and more 5 times faster than soil. 

This time-lapse video shows cherry tomatoes growing in the Miracle-Gro AeroGarden System.

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 74 other followers