Every lawn is different. What grows well in one yard may not do so good next door. Sometimes a few miles or even a few hundred feet can make a significant difference in the type of grass that does well.
Growing a lawn using a particular type of grass, especially those commonly found in Florida, have different requirements from one variety to another. Soils can vary greatly, as can drainage, and light levels. It is therefore important for the casual reader to understand that just because a certain type of grass is recommended for Florida, it should be taken with a bit a speculation. Understanding your geology, topography, and degree of involvement in maintaining a healthy lawn is critical to your success.
According to an extensive 8 year study conducted by the University of Florida and funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on whether or not lawn fertilizers actually cause pollution to water sources.
According to their study which conducted at 3 different locations throughout the state, if fertilizer is applied according to manufacturer's directions to a healthy lawn, and over spread of fertilizer to hard surfaces is cleaned up, AND, fertilizer is not applied before April nor after late September.
When all of the guidelines were followed (and they should be) there is no noticeable pollution of nitrogen or phosphorus to the water supplies. This includes rivers and streams, or underground water aquifers.
The reason for this in a healthy lawn, there first exists a thick strand of turf grass roots that effectively filters and absorbs those nutrients as the water percolates through the soil.
Common turfgrasses used on Florida homes:
Every turfgrass has some major pest problem that could limit its use in certain areas or locations. There are several different types of pest problems on turfgrasses in Florida, including diseases, insects, nematodes, and weeds. Proper turfgrass management practices will keep most pest problems to a minimum.
Mole crickets have been found in Bermuda grasses and has become a problem in St. Augustine lawns along the coast.
Florida Problem Insects
Florida Lawn Diseases
Promoting healthy growth and avoiding conditions that cause stress to your turfgrass is the best way to prevent a severe disease outbreak. Stressed lawns are an open invitation for a lawn disease to gain a foothold. Optimal maintenance practices are the best way of avoiding stressed turfgrass.
Even if a pathogen is present in the soil, infection will not occur unless the environmental conditions are conducive to disease development. Once turf diseases have become active, they can cause heavy damage if not treated properly. Here is a list of common diseases to Florida lawns:
Burrweed / Spurweed is a low-growing winter annual weed commonly found in turfgrasses in Florida. It is easily identified by its low ferny foliage and sharp, spiny seed pods, which ripen in late spring. It is best treated for in late winter and early spring. Once temperatures warm, it will be too late to control the plant from setting out seeds that will emerge again next winter.
Crabgrass is extremely difficult to control in St. Augustine lawns. Currently there are no chemical controls that can be used to control this pest in St. Augustine.
Professional lawn care organizations: Florida Turfgrass Association was created to improve members expertise through continuing education. Also of interest might be the University of Florida Extension.
Florida Climate Zones: 8 - 11