The Q&A Archives: Grass In Florida Sand

Question: My lawn is mostly void of grass and scattered with weeds. Wha is the best way to grow a lush green lawn, in May, in the sandy soils of Florida beach towns?

Answer: Grass will grow where it gets sunlight, water and nutrition.
If you can rototill a couple of inches of compost into the soil prior to planting it would really help it hold moisture and nutrients, and would supply some needed nutrition.

You can waste alot of fertilizer by putting too much at one time on a sandy soil. Select a product with a 3-1-2 ratio and apply it at a rate of 1/2 pound of nitrogen (the first number) per 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn. So, if for example you purchased a 15-5-10 product, you would apply about 3 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft., if you purchased 21-7-14 you would apply 2 1/2 lbs., if you purchased 6-2-4 (an organic fertilizer sold in my area) you would apply 9 lbs.

Make your first application on April 15 (guess how to remember that day?!). Repeat application in early June and early to mid October.

Sandy soils must be watered a bit more often to keep them adequately moist. Avoid the daily sprinkling though as it promotes disease and a shallow rooted drought prone turf. I'd suggest applying 1/2 inch of water every 4 days as a good starting place. Use a coffee can as a sprinkler gauge to find out how long to run the sprinkler to catch 1/2 inch. Replace the blade on your mower with a mulching blade, which will finely mince clippings and leave them in place a couple of times per year is another way to increase the moisture- and nutrient-holding capacity of your soil. Also, make sure your turfgrass is a good one for your area. Good luck!

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