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Longboat Key Wednesday, Mar. 10, 2010 7 years ago

Grass will be greener in coming months

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Apparently tourists and residents aren’t the only ones who have been affected by the recent cold weather.

Gary Campbell, owner of Landscapes in Paradise, said lawns throughout Longboat Key are looking browner than usual, because the cold snap has meant that lawns are growing approximately 30 days behind schedule.

“Ever since we’ve been here, this is the longest period of cold we’ve experienced,” Campbell said. “There’s no question that the lawns were very stressed by this.”

At temperatures below 65, grasses tend to go dormant in a hibernation-like period, Campbell said. Lawns that aren’t surrounded by trees can be even more damaged because they don’t have protection from the cold.

But the low temperatures aren’t the only factors affecting lawns.

“We also have a lot of salt wind this winter from the bay,” said Christine Wasley, co-owner of Gardening South Inc., who said that heavy winds can also be damaging to grass.

Glenn Souza, partner at Grant’s Gardens Inc., said that an increase in insect activity has also played a factor. White grubs, which are the larvae of scarab beetles, feed on the roots of St. Augustine grass, the most common type of grass on Longboat Key.

“For unknown reasons, grubs are increasing,” Souza said. “There are a lot of insect issues in landscaping.”
But there is good news: The grass should be greener in the coming months. But the key word, according to Campbell, will be “patience.” Sod farms, which are located inland, experienced frost, so quick replacements won’t be available. But, for most properties, replacements won’t be necessary. Although homeowners may see lots of dead blades of grass on their lawns, the turf isn’t necessarily dead.

“We just have to accept the fact that this happened,” Campbell said. “We’ll start feeding (grass) again once temperatures reach 70 degrees and they should have time to start taking in nutrients.”

Wasley also advises homeowners to be patient. The forecast for March is rainy, which could bode well for lawns.

“What I would advise is for the homeowner not to panic if their lawn is not green at this point,” Wasley said.

“If they want to replace the grass, they should wait until after the first application of fertilizer in the spring.”

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].

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