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Answers to local lawn questions

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There are pros and cons for overseeding. Overseeding a lawn with ryegrass to create a green lawn during winter is mostly done for cosmetic reasons. Personally, I don’t overseed because I’m ready to take a break from routine lawn care. But this is personal preference. You’ll have to make that decision.

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Q. In past years I put out ryegrass seed to keep my yard “green” through winter. Will it harm my new centipedegrass (sodded in October) if I overseed with ryegrass seed?

A. The ryegrass can compete with the permanent grass. I’ve seen a number of centipedegrass lawns that were weakened during spring green up, attempting to out compete the ryegrass. The extra fertilizer used on the ryegrass also can cause problems for centipedegrass, possibly inducing centipedegrass decline.

There are pros and cons for overseeding. Overseeding a lawn with ryegrass to create a green lawn during winter is mostly done for cosmetic reasons. Personally, I don’t overseed because I’m ready to take a break from routine lawn care. But this is personal preference. You’ll have to make that decision.

The optimal time to broadcast ryegrass seed is mid-October through mid-November if you wish to have a winter lawn. But there is the possibility of causing some damage in your centipedegrass as a result of overseeding.

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Q. Should I let the fall leaves stay on the lawn?

A. You should not allow a thick layer of tree leaves to stay on the lawn for long periods of time. A layer of leaves left on the lawn through winter can reduce oxygen and sunlight availability to the lawn. This may result in a weak, thin lawn come spring. Also, a layer of leaves may hold too much water and possibly cause rot problems for your lawn. A few leaves (scattering of leaves) should not be a problem, though.

Q. What’s the best lawn grass for North Florida?

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A. There is no “best” lawn grass. Choosing a lawn grass involves selecting a grass that best fits the site conditions. Is the site shady? Do you have an irrigation system? Is salt spray or saltwater a factor? Means of establishment comes into play? Can the grass be established from seeds or does it require being established from sod, plugs or sprigs? Time and expense involved with maintaining the lawn should be considered. Some lawn grasses require more time and/or money to maintain. Cost of the sod or seed may be a factor. For example, St. Augustinegrass sod usually costs more as compared to centipedegrass sod. Intended use of the lawn may be a factor. Are you trying to prevent erosion on a slope or do you need a play area for children…? Where you expect a lot of foot traffic, you need to consider the wear tolerance of the grass.

The following website should be helpful in choosing a lawn grass that best fits your site and needs. http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/yourfloridalawn

Larry Williams is the Extension horticulture agent with the Okaloosa County Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida. Contact Larry at 689-5850 or email lwilliams@co.okaloosa.fl.us.

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