Six Common Autumn Lawn and Garden Problems in Jacksonville
Six common autumn lawn and garden problems encountered in Jacksonville and surrounding areas include:
1. Fallen Leaves: Along with the changing color of leaves associated with Autumn, these leaves start falling and can accumulate on your lawn. It is important to regularly rake them up or mulch them with your mower to prevent suffocating the grass and creating a breeding ground for pests and diseases.
2. Weeds: There are both summer and winter weed varieties that compete for space in your lawn during the cooler temperatures of Autumn. “Winter annual weeds germinate when ground temperatures dip to around 65 degrees for several days,” according to the Florida Times Union. “In our area, these weeds usually begin to germinate in late October. You typically won’t notice them until late December, when they become a little larger. The life cycle of these plants is unique because they only live for approximately six months of the year during the cooler season. They will flower and seed before they die in the Spring, leaving the seeds to wait all summer for cooler temperatures next year.” It is crucial to identify and remove weeds promptly to prevent them from spreading and competing with your desirable plants. There are both pre and post-emergent herbicides available to sustainably control weeds if you don’t have time for hand-pulling.
3. Fungal Diseases: Many fungal diseases, such as leaf spot, large patch, powdery mildew, and rust, commonly occur in the Autumn due to cool and damp conditions. Autumn fungus in the lawn and garden is often overlooked as the associated plant health decline is masked by dormancy, resulting in worse impacts for the affected plants in Spring. Keep an eye out for discolored or wilting leaves and treat any fungal infections promptly to prevent them from spreading.
4. Dying or dormant plants: As the temperatures drop, some plants may become dormant while others die off completely. It’s essential to understand the seasonal growth patterns and needs of your specific plant varieties to know how best to care for them. Properly pruning and protecting your plants can help ensure their survival heading into the winter months. “The best time to prune live branches may depend on the desired results,” according to the University of Florida. “Growth is maximized and defects are easier to see on deciduous trees if live-branch pruning is done just before growth resumes in early Spring. Pruning when trees are dormant can minimize the risk of pest problems associated with wounding and allows trees to take advantage of the full growing season to begin closing and compartmentalizing wounds.”
5. Moisture Control: Autumn rainfall in Northeast Florida is much lower than Spring and Summer, and less water is required due to lower temperatures and rates of evaporation. Corresponding with Daylight Savings Time, Jacksonville restricts watering to one day a week from the first Sunday in November to the second Sunday in March. Monitoring the daily temperature, wind speed, soil moisture levels, and watering at the right time can help prevent issues like root rot or drought stress.
6. Pests: Autumn can attract various pests, such as aphids, snails, slugs, and caterpillars, as they seek shelter and food before winter. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pest infestation and take appropriate actions that can include everything from hand picking to a variety of treatments targeting the specific pest species.
Remember to conduct regular maintenance, such as mowing, aerating, and mulching, to keep your lawn and garden healthy and prepare it for winter dormancy. Rockaway offers extensive agronomic and landscape maintenance services to address common autumn lawn and garden problems. Learn more HERE.
From our office in Atlantic Beach and satellites throughout Northeast Florida, Rockaway Inc proudly serves both commercial and residential landscape design, maintenance, lawn care, irrigation, and outdoor living carpentry client needs in Jacksonville, St Augustine, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra, Nocatee, St. Johns, and Fernandina Beach.