Horticulturalist: Best thing for brown lawns and dead plants from recent cold snap is patience

If you’re wondering why your lawn isn’t looking as green and vibrant as usual, the cold snaps we’ve had recently are to blame.

It's probably safe to say that your lawn is looking pretty brown right now and your plants are probably looking pretty dead, but experts say don’t touch them, at least not yet. 

Brown is not the prettiest color when we think of Florida landscape, and because of a couple mild winters its something we haven’t seen in a while. But the recent freezing temps changed all that making grass and plants go dormant.

Jim Davis is a Horticulturalist from the University of Florida and also the Extension Office Director for Hernando County. He says right now there are things people need to know about caring for their lawns. 

"One of the many mistakes people make is they’ll see a brown grass and they want to immediately add fertilizer," Davis said. "If you fertilize right now you may actually cause some more problems down the road especially with diseases." 

Davis also says do not over water.

"The grass isn’t growing so it’s watering needs decrease and if you over water this time of year you greatly increase the chances of getting large patch of all root rot down the road." 

As for plants, do not prune them, yet. 

"When the weather warms up like this people want to get out and start pruning, that’s what they’re doing in my neighborhood and that’s really what you don’t want to do. That dead foliage, if we get another freeze that can help protect that plant even more," Davis said.

He says the best thing you can do right now about your plants is, nothing. 

"You want to wait until about March to start pruning your plants."

For those who want their Florida lawns green and lush all year long, Davis said, "that’s not realistic. Be patient. Wait until the weather warms up and the grass will start to green out again." 

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