Sunday, June 3, 2012

Fertilizer Ban

Martin County’s fertilizer ban takes effect June 1

An ordinance regulating the use of fertilizer in unincorporated Martin County will be in effect from June 1-September 30. It aims to reduce the amount of harmful nutrients entering local water bodies, a crucial step towards improving and maintaining water and habitat quality. Fertilizers containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus cannot be used on turf, sod, lawns or landscape plants during the period of the ban, which extends during the four-month rainy season.

The ordinance was approved last year by the Martin County Board of County Commissioners as part of their ongoing effort to improve water quality in Martin County’s coastal areas. Martin County is among a growing number of local governments with similar regulations.

The ordinance applies to anyone - personal or professional - landscaping in unincorporated Martin County. It does provide exemptions for agriculture, golf courses, and specialized turf, such as athletic fields.

The ordinance requires the registration and training of both professional landscapers and institutional landscapers, and sets best-management landscape and fertilizer practices. 

For the remainder of the year, fertilizer containing phosphorus and nitrogen is limited. Fertilizer use is also prohibited within 10 feet of water bodies, including wetlands, and seawalls. And, if you use a fertilizer spreader, you are required to have a deflector shield to prevent nutrient spread into water body buffers and impervious surfaces. Vegetative material, including grass clippings, cannot be washed, swept, or blown into stormwater flow-ways, waterbodies or impervious areas.

By January 1, 2013, all commercial and institutional applicators within the unincorporated area of Martin County are required to successfully complete training and continuing education requirements.

Questions regarding the adopted ordinance and any other concerns with your lawn care contact us at or email us at or call us at 772-215-7132. Have a great week and keep it green.  Lee & Veronica

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Return of the Chinch Bug

Well the summer is coming fast and so are Chinch Bugs, stop them before they attack your lawn.

Cultural Practices

Cultural practices can influence the susceptibility of lawn grasses to chinch bugs and turf caterpillars. Attention to the following practices can reduce the need for pesticide use, leading to energy conservation within the plant and less potential contamination of the urban environment.
Early detection of insects is vital to any management program. Inspect the lawn weekly during spring, summer, and fall months and biweekly during winter months to determine if damage is beginning to occur and if insects are the problem.


Rapid succulent growth, resulting from frequent or high applications of water-soluble inorganic nitrogen fertilizers, acts as an attractant and substantially increases the chances of insect attack. Incidence of damage from these pests can be greatly reduced with applications of minimum amounts of slow-release nitrogen fertilizers in combination with other macro-and micronutrients. Contact us for recommendations and sources of slow-release nitrogen fertilizer for each of the turfgrass species in your particular area of the state.


Improper mowing, coupled with excessive watering and improper fertilization can cause lawn grasses to develop a thick, spongy mat of live, dead, and dying shoots, stems and roots which accumulate in a layer above the soil surface. This spongy mat, referred to as thatch, is an excellent habitat for chinch bugs and turf caterpillars, and chemically ties up insecticides, therefore reducing their effectiveness. When a serious thatch problem exists, it may be necessary to remove the thatch mechanically (vertical mowing, power raking, etc.). Proper mowing practices can make the grass more tolerant to pests and greatly improve the appearance of a lawn. The best recommendation on mowing is to mow often enough so that no more than one-third of the leaf blade is removed at each mowing.

Please contact us with any questions or help you may need to keep your yard free of chinch bugs as well as other problems you may come across at . Thank you and have a great week.
Lee & Veronica

Monday, April 2, 2012

The proper way to water your lawn

When you understand your lawn's environmental needs and tailor your lawn care practices to suit local conditions, you get a healthy, environmentally friendly lawn. Design your yard so it thrives on rainwater alone, without additional irrigation. Have you checked your rain sensor lately? Does your automatic lawn sprinkler system even have a rain sensor? Since 1991 there has been a mandatory law here in Florida that states that all automatic lawn sprinkler systems installed after that date must have a rain sensor device installed.

Tips to Get You Started

Mulch your garden and landscape beds.

Mulch helps keep the soil moist and reduces erosion and weeds. Avoid piling mulch against plant stems and tree trunks to prevent rot. For more info, go to our Web page on Mulches. Unsure how much mulch is needed? Check here to find out.
Image courtesy of St. John's River Water Management District

Water at the right time.

Watering in the early morning or late evening when temperatures and wind speeds are the lowest will reduce water loss through evaporation.  Tighter watering restrictions may be in order for different counties ranging from one day per week to two days per week and as restrictive as from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm for no watering.

Set your timers.

To keep your yard healthy with just enough water, it is important to set your timer with a watering schedule that suits your area considering the amount of rainfall you usually get. For example, in central Florida, a suggested watering schedule is two days a week (such as Monday and Thursday) with an irrigation run time that varies by month, as described in the table below.
January--12 minutesJuly--49 minutes
February--10 minutesAugust--60 minutes
March--17 minutesSeptember--48 minutes
April--40 minutesOctober--43 minutes
May--64 minutesNovember--32 minutes
June--50 minutesDecember--16 minutes
By following a similar type of schedule in your area, you can save about 10 - 20% on your water bill. However, keep a close eye for signs of excessive wilting if rainfall is not typical. The amount of watering needed can vary by the types of plants you have in your yard. Planting native plants can also help conserve water in your landscape.

Calibrate your irrigation system.

Be sure to calibrate your irrigation system to determine how long to run the system so that it delivers the amount of water recommended for your area. Irrigation systems can be very different and could be delivering too much, not enough, or just the right amount of water, depending on the type of irrigation system and the zone being watered.

Position sprinklers properly.

Make sure the water lands on your plants and grass and not on paved areas.
tuna canLawns only need about ¾ inch of water in one watering session. Place empty tuna cans or measuring cups around the yard (all within range of the sprinkler, some close, some farther away). Turn on the sprinkler for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, measure the amount of water collected in each can/cup. Check to see if there was even distribution of water in all the cans/cups. If the cans/cups collected ¾ inch of water, then you know you need to water for 30 minutes. If the cans/cups collected more or less than ¾ inch of water, then calculate approximately how long you need to water your landscape so that it receives ¾ inch of water in each watering session.

Use micro-irrigation hoses.

These hoses can lie above ground or slightly buried and allow for water to seep through to a plant's roots.

Make the most out of rainwater.

Turn downspouts from rain gutters towards areas with planting. Rainwater can also be collected and stored in a rain barrel for dry spells.

Til next week  Lee & Veronica

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why do we cut our lawns ?

Mowing is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a good quality lawn. Mowing increases turfgrass density, producing a tighter lawn that is resistant to weeds. Proper mowing practices, along with fertilization and irrigation, can largely determine the success or failure of a lawn.
The two main components of mowing are cutting height and frequency. Both of these factors depend on the turfgrass species, cultivar, and the level of lawn quality desired. Several other practices involving the use of mowers are also important in creating a quality lawn.

Height of Mowing

The optimum cutting height is determined by the growth habit and leaf width of the turfgrass species. A grass that spreads horizontally can usually be mowed shorter than an upright-growing, bunch-type grass. Grasses with narrow blades can generally be mowed closer than grasses with wide blades. Bermudagrass is mowed at very low heights because of its numerous narrow leaf blades and low growth habit. On the other hand, bahiagrass needs to be mowed at higher heights because of its open, upright growth habit.

Figure 1. Bermudagrass

Figure 2. Bahiagrass

Turfgrass undergoes physiological stress with each mowing event, particularly if too much leaf tissue is removed. Effects of “scalping,” or removal of too much shoot tissue at one time, can produce long-term damage to the turf. This can leave turf susceptible to other stresses such as insects, disease, drought, and sunscald. Mowing also greatly influences rooting depth, with development of a deeper root system in response to higher mowing heights. Advantages of the deeper root system are greater tolerances to drought, insects, disease, nematodes, temperature stress, poor soil conditions, nutrient deficiencies, and traffic. Mowing below the recommended heights for each species is a primary cause of turf death and should be avoided.

Frequency of Mowing

The growth rate of the lawn determines how frequently it needs to be mowed. The growth rate is influenced by grass species, weather conditions, time of year, and level of management. Slowest growth rates occur in the winter or under low fertility and irrigation, while fastest growth rates occur in the summer or under high fertility and watering practices. Bermudagrass is a rapidly growing grass compared to zoysiagrass. Low-maintenance grasses like bahiagrass and centipedegrass are frequently mowed just to remove seedheads, rather than to cut leaf blades. Mow often enough so that no more than 1/3 of the blade height is removed per mowing. For example, if your St. Augustinegrass lawn is mowed at a height of 4 inches, it should be mowed when it grows to a height of 6 inches. Stress to the grass caused by mowing can be minimized by removing only 1/3 of the leaf blade at each mowing. It is important to always leave as much leaf surface as possible so that photosynthesis can occur.

Figure 3. Zoysiagrass

Figure 4. Centipedegrass

Figure 5. One-Third the Blade Height

Clipping Removal

On most lawns, grass clippings should be returned to help recycle nutrients to the soil. If the lawn is mowed frequently enough, clippings cause few problems. Although many people believe that clippings contribute to thatch, research has shown that clippings are readily decomposed by microbial action. Thatch is the intermingled layer of already dead and decomposing organic matter on top of the soil and below the leaf blades. Excessive thatch can cause many problems for lawns, including poor water infiltration, increased insect and disease infestation, and poor turf quality. The tougher shoot components such as stems, rhizomes, and stolons are not easily degraded and may contribute to thatch. Problems may also arise when turf is mowed infrequently and excess clippings (e.g., clumping) result. When this happens, clippings can be raked to distribute them more evenly.

Figure 6. Excess Clippings

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Big Drink of Water

Many homeowners irrigate their lawns incorrectly. Overwatering is the most common mistake; it can damage or even kill the lawn. Overwatering leads to a shallow root system; increases a lawn's vulnerability to weeds, insects, and diseases; reduces drought tolerance; increases thatch; encourages excessive growth; and reduces tolerance for environmental stress.
Letting your lawn “tell you when to water” means turning your irrigation system to “off” and operating it only when your lawn shows signs of drought stress.

How much water does grass need?

Water requirements vary based on grass species, time of year, geographic location, soil conditions, amount of shade, and overall maintenance of a lawn. Because these varied factors each affect a lawn, rigid guidelines for your lawn’s irrigation frequency may not be accurate. Consult with us at http://www.KellerKuts .com or call us 772-215-7132 for recommendations on irrigation frequencies for your area.
In many parts of Florida, irrigation frequency is regulated by Water Management Districts. You may not lawfully irrigate more frequently than Water Management District regulations for your area allow.  Be aware, as well, that you do not necessarily need to irrigate as frequently as these regulations allow. Instead, let your lawn tell you when to water.

Figure 1. Zoysiagrass lawn under drought stress.

Credits: Dr. J. Bryan Unruth, UF/IFAS

How will I know when to water?

Look for the following signs and consider watering when you see at least one of them:
  1. Folding leaf blades. Drought-stressed lawns will curl up their leaf blades lengthwise in an attempt to minimize leaf area (Figure 1). Wilting is best seen on the older leaves of the grass plant, as the younger leaves are not fully developed and may appear wilted even when they are not.
  2. Blue-gray color. Drought-stressed lawns turn from green to bluish-gray.
  3. Footprints remaining visible. When footprints or tire tracks remain visible on your lawn long after being made, your lawn is experiencing drought stress.

How much wilt is O.K.?

The answer to this question is “it depends.” Warm-season turfgrasses can easily survive extended periods of drought by entering dormancy. It is okay to allow your grass to enter dormancy, provided you are prepared to see some wilt signs and browning of leaf blades.
If a period of limited or no rainfall or irrigation is prolonged, you can expect your lawn to thin out and possibly experience increased weed pressure. If your desire is to maintain a uniformly green lawn during drought, you will need to apply supplemental irrigation. However, the supplemental irrigation must be carefully monitored. Unless rain is forecast in the next 24 hours, lawns should be irrigated when 30 - 50 percent of the lawn shows signs of wilt. How long it will take your lawn to exhibit wilt to this extent will depend upon the climate of your area and the soil conditions in your yard. Caution should be exercised when applying weed-control products, as they may harm an already-stressed turf.

Train your lawn's roots to grow deep.

One way to help your lawn endure drought is to encourage deeper rooting. Irrigate only when the grass begins to show one of the three signs of lawn thirst listed above. When you do water, apply the proper amount of water. These practices will increase rooting depth and overall turf-stress tolerance.

 Thank you for stopping by and till next week.

                                        Lee & Veronica


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bon Appetit

I hope everyone has had a great week. I think that the cold weather is behind us (keep your fingers crossed) and its time to feed our hungry yards,and replenish some of the nutrients needed going into spring time. It is very important to apply the right Fertilizer and the proper amount to maintain a healthy and beautiful lawn while keeping our environment safe. Please contact us and our professional staff will help get that hungry yard back in shape. Bon Appetit !!!!

                                                                  Lee & Veronica

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bahia Grass

Hope everyone has had a good week and enjoyed this beautiful weather. While we are still discussing grass let talk on one everyone is familiar on:


Warm season grass, resistant to drought, disease and insect attacks. Will survive in a variety of soils from sandy to clay and other infertile, dry soils. Requires some maintenance. The grass will thin out over time and has a low tolerance to many weed control herbicides. Used extensively in lawns along coastal areas in Florida. Vigorous growing habit requires frequent mowing during hot weather. It has a coarse blade and is not suitable for soils with high a pH.
Bahiagrass is drought resistant turf. It does well in lawns and along highways, and its best used in sunny areas in warm humid regions. Its roots can extend up to 8' deep.
In Florida, Bahiagrass survives in level areas with no irrigation, but often fails on sandy embankments. It can also be ruined by excess watering, when none is required, and by excess fertilization. Bahia grass normally goes semi-dormant during winter, yet people sometimes fertilize and water it to keep it green in winter, and thereby encourage weed populations.
There are no post-emergence herbicides for grassy weeds in Bahiagrass, which is a problem. Most weed problems in Bahiagrass could be avoided by proper seed establishment and timely mowing. The large state agencies responsible for maintenance of utility turf struggle to find funds to keep Bahiagrass mown properly. In summer its rapid vertical growth and exuberant seed head production are remarkable.
Introduced to the US in the 30s from South America as a feed grass for cattle.

Til next week when we will start discussing fertilizer, see you soon.

                                                                                                       Lee & Veronica

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

St Augustinegrass "Sapphire"

'Sapphire' has a blue-green leaf color, purple stolon color, and long leaf blades that remain folded, giving the grass a fine leaf appearance. It spreads rapidly and grows aggressively during the growing season. It is susceptible to most major pests associated with St. Augustinegrass. 'Sapphire' should be mowed to a height of 2–2.5 inches. Sapphire is a hardy variety of St. Augustine grass. Sapphire was introduced in 2007 and although it has a soft texture, it’s a good choice for lawns that receive a lot of foot traffic. Sapphire St. Augustine grass is tolerant of salt, shade and drought and does not require as much maintenance or fertilization as some other St. Augustine varieties. Next week we will discuss bahiagrass and its pros and cons. Talk to you soon and don't forget to visit us at or contact us on google and twitter.

                                                                                                         Lee & Veronica

From plugs you can see that the Sapphire (right) did much better spreading than the Raleigh (Left) both are a variaty of St. Augustine grasses.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

South Florida Grasses

Did you know there are five different types of St Augustinegrasses ? There is Common and Rosewood, Bitterblue, Floratine, Floratam and Palmetto. The most popular and the one you most would relate to is Floratam, its green to blue-green dense turf is well adapted to most soils and climatic regions in Florida as well as it possesses good shade tolerance and relatively good salt tolerance, even though chinch bugs affect Floratam it is highly resistant to them. Floratam was introduced in 1973 by the University of Florida and is the most widely produced and used St Augustinegrass in Florida. Stay tuned next week when we go over a few other grasses popular in the southern region and how to maintain and when to fertilize, and be sure to check us out at http://www.kellerkuts .com. See you soon.