Welcome to Your Florida Lawn! The environmentally friendly way to grow
and sustain a Florida-Friendly landscape. Your host is Dr. Laurie Trenholm,
Residential Turfgrass specialist with the University of Florida’s
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Join Laurie and her special guests
as they offer tips and solutions to maintaining a Florida-Friendly Lawn! Homeowners often battle weeds in their lawns and weeds can be a major source of annoyance. In general, weeds appear and thrive
because the conditions in your lawn allow the weeds to out-compete the turf grass
that’s supposed to be growing there. How we do our cultural practices,
how we mow, how we irrigate and how we fertilize can help the turf
to grow better than the weeds and that can help to reduce your weed pressure. In other cases, though, you may need to
use chemicals called herbicides for weed control. Most lawns are not going to be completely weed free and sometimes we will have to take steps
to manage the weeds in our lawn. With me here today is Dr. Phil Busey from
the Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center. Dr. Busey does quite a bit of the research
on weed control here in South Florida. So Phil, what are some of the steps that homeowners can take
to reduce weed pressure in their lawns? Dr. Busey: Homeowners can do several things,
involving irrigation, mowing, fertilization properly. Occasionally, they may need to use
some chemical weed controls, but most of our weeds can be controlled adequately
through proper cultural management. Laurie: And for instance,
what should they do with mowing? Mowing should be done evenly
and regularly at the same height, at approximately three to three and one half inches
on a sufficient schedule so that no more than one third of the
leaf clippings is removed at any one time. Laurie: And what about irrigation? I know some weeds are very prone to wet areas
such as dollar weeds, sedges? Dr. Busey: Well most people do tend to over water and particularly those that have a lot of dollar weed
need to turn their sprinkler systems back to watering perhaps twice a week with
about three quarters of an inch per application. Our research at the University of Florida has shown
that between watering every four days and every two days
makes all the difference between not having a lot of dollar weed
versus having a lot of dollar weed. Laurie: So the increased amount of irrigation favors the dollar weed
instead of the St. Augustine grass in some cases? You have research that shows that. Dr. Busey: Exactly, dollar weed really loves the water and most people
could reduce their dollar weed problem by reducing their irrigation or their sprinkling
to that which the grass really needs, Laurie: by irrigating properly.
Dr. Busey: which is about twice a week. Laurie: So Phil, what type of products
would a homeowner who is taking care of their own lawn use
to control a weed like dollar weed? Dr. Busey: Well there are products available
to the homeowner through the retail outlets, but I would caution the homeowner to consider
using a professional whenever possible, because the professional turf products
that are not available to the homeowner have a wider spectrum in the weeds that they control. Laurie: Now let’s talk for a moment
about the professional lawn care services. Do they have chemicals that can control
all of the weeds in the lawn? Dr. Busey: No, as a matter of fact,
we have some very difficult weeds including crab grasses and tropical signal grasses that no longer have products that are legal
and safe to apply on those weeds. And so there are no commercial products
for controlling crab grasses and tropical signal grass in St. Augustine grass lawns. Laurie: So what are some of the alternatives that homeowners can use
to reduce weed pressure in their lawns? Dr. Busey: With some of the more difficult weeds, there are really no good alternatives. I think that one can deal with most of the weeds
through proper mowing, watering, fertilization, but for some weeds, however,
we do need to use chemical controls, either the types that homeowners
can obtain at the retail outlet, or better yet, in most cases, to hire a professional. Laurie: And perhaps it’s good to mention, too,
with all of the emphasis on the fertilizers and the pesticides in the water
that are going on lawns these days, maybe homeowners need to change
their expectations for their lawns and maybe not expect
to have a completely weed free lawn because, perhaps, we are not able
to achieve that anymore, but we can still have a nice healthy lawn
in many cases. Dr. Busey: Laurie, that’s a great idea,
because that focuses on the positive. Which is the healthy lawn is resistant to weeds and it provides us the benefits
that we expect from a good lawn. So there’s an occasional weed,
maybe it’s time to hire a professional. Laurie: So thank you, Dr. Busey,
for being here today and sharing your expertise with us
for homeowner weed control. Dr. Busey: Thank you, Laurie,
it’s a pleasure to be here. Laurie: For the University of Florida IFAS
Extension service and Florida-Friendly Landscaping, I’m Dr. Laurie Trenholm with Your Florida Lawn. Thank you for joining us
for this segment of Your Florida Lawn. For more information on
how to maintain your Florida-Friendly Landscape, please visit our website or contact
your local University of Florida County Extension office.