How can I prevent pests from entering my home?
Here are some ways you can help keep pests from disrupting your home.
Keep them homeless:
- Seal cracks and crevices where pests can get into your home.
- Get rid of stacks of newspaper, papers, bags, and cardboard boxes that make good homes for pests.
Keep them hungry:
- Keep a tight lid on trash cans and empty them often.
- Store food in tightly sealed containers.
- Wipe up spills and crumbs right away.
- Clean your dirty dishes right after eating.
- Pests thrive on moisture. Keep them from getting to water by fixing leaks and not leaving dish water in the sink overnight.
How should I water my Florida lawn & landscape?
The most efficient way to irrigate your lawn and landscape is to apply water when signs of stress begin to occur. The following signs are indications of water needs:
- Spots in the lawn that have turned a bluish-gray color.
- Footprints that remain in the grass long after being made.
- Plants and shrubs show signs of wilting.
A simple watering schedule is to apply ¾ inch of water 2 times per week in the summer and once every week during the winter. Because soil and climate conditions are not the same, the amount of water applied must be adjusted. If rainfall occurs, irrigation should be suspended according to the rainfall amount.
Water should never be applied at a rate faster than it can be absorbed by the soil. If the sprinkler applies too much water, it runs off, and potentially could wind up in our wetlands, rivers, and estuaries.
Avoid extremes in watering frequency and amount. Irrigating light and frequent is inefficient. Excessive irrigation keeps the root system saturated and is harmful to the lawn. Both of the above will encourage unhealthy and shallow root systems.
The time of watering is important. Watering during the day can waste water by excessive evaporation and even during very hot periods scald the lawn. Watering in late afternoon or late morning may be detrimental if it extends the time the lawn is naturally wet from dew. The best time for irrigating the lawn is in the early morning hours.
What are the best mowing practices?
The following is a chart for suggested mowing practices for Florida home lawns.
|Turf Grass Species||Rec. Height (inches)||Frequency (Days)||Mower Type|
|Bahia Grass||3.0 - 4.0||7 - 14||Rotary|
|Bermuda Grass||0.5 - 1.0||3 - 5||Reel|
|St. Augustine Grass||2.5 - 3.5||7 - 14||Rotary|
During the hottest months, the higher cut is recommended; grass can be mowed shorter in the cooler months.
Determining when to mow should be based on the growth rate of the grass, not on the calendar. To keep your lawn looking its best, remove only about one-third of the leaf blade each time you mow.
Another good practice is to change direction with each mowing. This keeps the turf growing in an erect, upright position rather than leaning in the direction it was mowed. It also helps reduce turf wear and the possibility of scalping.
Making sure your rotary mower blade is sharp is probably the single most important requirement for proper mowing. A dull blade rips and shreds the grass instead of cutting it. Mowing with a dull edge makes the grass susceptible to several problems - such as brown leaf tips, disease, and insects. A good guideline for blade sharpening is to sharpen your rotary mower blade once each month. Try it! You’ll really notice the difference.
One More Tip
During the hottest months, it’s a good idea to water your lawn the day before you mow and then try to mow during the coolest part of the day. This minimizes the browning effect of summer mowing and decreases the time it takes the turf to heal.
Do I have termites or ants?
On the off chance you do see them, remember that it's easy to confuse termites with ants. Fortunately, there are features that distinguish them.
- narrow waists
- bent antennae
- two sets of wings (one set is longer than the other)
- thick waists
- straight antennae
- two sets of wings (both are the same size)