Preparing Your Lawn for a Freeze

Freeze PictureThe forecast calls for freezing temperatures in northern Florida, through 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, which can result in severe and sometimes permanent damage to lawns, trees and shrubs. The following information will be helpful to you for the pending freezing temperatures.

  • Irrigate before the frost or freeze to ensure there is proper moisture in the soil root zone, however make sure irrigation is stopped early enough to allow time for leaves to dry in order to avoid ice forming on them.
    •  Please Note: Do not irrigate during a freeze. This practice is beneficial in nurseries and citrus groves only because they are equipped to water non-stop until the ice is melted. If not done properly, this practice can prolong the amount of time that plants are subjected to the harsh, cold temperatures.
  • Cover cold-sensitive plants with blankets or boxes but NOT plastic. Be sure to remove the covering as soon as the temperatures begin to warm up.
  • Do not mow turf that is frozen, and keep the lawn mowed high. This can reduce cold injury in a number of ways. First, it will promote a deeper root system, which will provide greater stress tolerance. In addition, higher mowing heights can create a warmer micro-environment due to the extra canopy cover provided by the longer leaf tissue.
  •  Avoid foot traffic or vehicular traffic on frozen turf as this can increase damage.

For more tips and information, click here or contact us at 1-888-2MASSEY (262-7739).

What To Do During A Freeze

You may have noticed that the temperatures in Florida have been dropping. Everyone is bundling up in their warmest light weight jackets and drinking hot cocoa to stay warm. A few layers and a hot beverage might be the answer to warming us up – but what about our lawns and plants? There are a few simple things you can do to help minimize the effects of the cold temperatures.

  • First, enjoy the cold! Think about temperatures in May, June, July, August, September…I think you get the idea.
  • Then, BEFORE freezing temps hit, run your sprinklers for 15 minutes per zone (rotor heads) or 5 minutes per zone (spray heads). Repeat this the following day  if temperatures warm up above freezing.
  • Cover your cold-sensitive shrubs and ornamentals with old sheets or blankets (NOT PLASTIC!).
  • If you see frost on your lawn – don’t mow or walk across it.

Just so you know, the weatherman IS predicting freezing temperatures tonight – so grab your ski cap, head outside and turn on those sprinklers!

Tips To Avoid Freeze Damage

There is a Freeze Warning tonight through Friday in Central and Northern Florida. The current forecast is predicting overnight freezing temperatures for extended hours which will likely result in some amount of damage or death to lawns and landscape plants. Here are some tips that will help minimize the harmful effects of low temperatures:

  • Run your irrigation system for 15 minutes per zone for rotor heads and 5 minutes per zone for spray heads tonight and again in the morning once temperatures rise above freezing.
  • Cover your cold-sensitive shrubs and ornamentals (see list below) with sheets or blankets, but not plastic.
  • Don’t mow or walk across your lawn if it is frozen or if there is frost present.

If you have any questions, whether you’re a Massey Customer or not, please call us at 1-888-2MASSEY (262-7739).

Most Common Cold-sensitive plants*:

  • Gold Mount Duranta
  • Queen Sago
  • Australian Tree Fern
  • Palm trees
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Variegated Schefflera
  • Cardboard Palms
  • Hibiscus
  • Tibouchina
  • Firebush
  • Plumbago
  • Cardinal Plant
  • Roebellini Palm
  • Bougainvillea
  • Staghorn Fern
  • Fire Spike
  • Lantana
  • Croton
  • Ixora
  • Allamanda
  • Philodendron
  • Mandevilla
  • Heather
  • Oleander
  • Butterfly bush

*This is just a list of the most common plants. If you have plants not on this list that are fruit bearing or annuals, it is recommended you cover them.

Frost Warning in Northern Florida Counties

Frost and freeze warnings come few and far between in Florida and generally happen in the northern part of the state. However, when they do come, homeowners need to be prepared to protect their landscape from potentially damaging temperatures.

There is a frost warning in and around the following counties for tonight thru Thursday: Leon, Flagler, Volusia, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, Lake, Marion, Sumter, Duval and Clay.

If you live in and around these counties, here are some things you can do to protect your landscape:

  • Run your irrigation system for one cycle tonight before going to sleep – 15minutes per zone for rotary heads and 5 minutes per zone for spray heads
  • Cover your cold sensitive shrubs and ornamentals with sheets or blankets
  • Do not walk across or mow your lawn if there is frost present

If you have questions, whether you’re a Massey customer or not, please call us at 1-888-2MASSEY (262-7739) and we can help.

Bundle up and keep warm!