Managing Your Small Lawn

Managing Your Small Lawn

Having a healthy and clean lawn is important for urban landscapes. Lawns increase the property value of your home and filters storm water runoff, cools the air, reduces soil erosion, and reduces glare and noise. Healthy lawns effectively trap and filter pollutants and sediments that might contaminate surface water and groundwater.

Effectively managing lawns is not always well understood by residents, and this way of thinking can have negative effects on the turf health. Having a weak turf health means that your lawn is less likely to protect itself from soil erosion and filter which leads to nonpoint soil pollution.

Lawn That has Not been Taken Care off

This is a guide to help homeowners manage their lawn following the Best Management Practices (BMP) techniques. BMP follows Florida-Friendly Landscaping Principles that are made for developing a landscape that doesn't create nonpoint soil pollution. Keep reading to learn how to manage your lawn so that it can survive throughout the seasons and grow into a beautiful garden.

Selecting Fertilizer

When searching for fertilizer for your garden, make sure to get a fertilizer that's made for urban turfs. Don't use a fertilizer that's meant for vegetable or flower gardens on your lawns. These fertilizers contain both little to no phosphorous and nitrogen that releases slowly.

The slow nitrogen takes a longer time for the grass to respond and reduces the potential for it to burn due to an excessive application. While the lack of phosphorous isn't an issue in some areas such as Florida, there has been an increase in phosphorous deficiencies.

Lawn Fertilisation With A Tool

Some of the symptoms are a reduction in growth, and dark green leaves while the lower leaves start to have a purple appearance. Start a soil test to identify if there's a phosphorous deficiency and allow for extra phosphorous to be used when the deficiency exists.

How Much Fertilizer Should I Apply?

Apply 1lb of nitrogen for each 1000 sq feet of lawn every time you apply fertilizer. Applying fertilizer at a higher rate will cause increased insect infestation and exposes your garden to diseases.

One important part in determining the amount of fertilizer needed is knowing the size of your lawn. The best way to determine the size is by breaking it into the front, sides, and the back of your house then adding those amounts of fertilizer to your spreader.

Here is a table that will help you apply the correct amount of fertilizer according to your region:

Yearly Nitrogen Application Rates




St. Augustinegrass

















Other Tips

Fertilization And Weather

Don't fertilize your lawn when the National Weather Service issues a hurricane watch, flood, or tropical storm warning. This prevents your lawn from getting destroyed and wasting fertilizer.

Watering The Fertilizer

After adding the fertilizer, you'll have to irrigate the lawn long enough to remove the granules of the leaf blades and place them into the soil. This is where the granules will be taken up to be used by the plant. You only need to apply ¼ of your water on the two top soil inches, where it can be utilized the most.

Watering The Lawn Fertilizer

Adding an excessive amount of water will lead to the nutrients leaching through the root zone. As a result, your lawn might get exposed to groundwater contamination.


Mowing your lawn can be a difficult chore especially during the summer. However, it's an essential practice that directly impacts the overall health and appearance of your lawn. Read these tips to keep your lawn remaining healthy:

  • Don't mow your lawn when it's wet. This is dangerous for you, the grass, and the mower.
  • Keep the mowing blades sharp. Dull blades have a tendency of tearing the leaf blades. This destroys the appearance of the lawn and leaves it exposed to insects, and is bad for the grass.
  • Don't remove more than 1/3 of a leaf blade once at a time. Removing an excessive amount will cause the lawn to become vulnerable to disease or insect invasion. If you accidentally miss a mowing event, bring up your mower's height and set the grass down to an acceptable level gradually for the next mowing events.
  • You have to mow your grass species at its highest recommended height. For St. Augustine grass, the best height is 3.5-4 inches. If you have a ‘Captiva,' ‘Selville,' or a St. Augustine dwarf grass, mow at about 2-2.5 inches.
  • Make sure to mow bahiagrass at 3-4 inches and Bermudagrass and centipedegrass at 1-2 inches. Mowing your grass at the correct length ensures that your grass will become more stress tolerant.
  • Always wear eye protection and heavy closed-toe shoes when mowing your lawn.

Urban Lawns Vs. Suburban Lawns

Lawns in urban areas differ from suburban lawns because of size, but that difference changes how small lawns are maintained and managed. Urban neighborhoods are overwhelmed with asphalt or concrete, which creates micro-climates and conditions that need special care that's different than suburban lawns.

You need to choose the appropriate grass species for the location and conditions of the lawn, like drought tolerance and shade. Large trees can provide a substantial amount of shade in urban environments but also restrict movement, compete with the lawn for moisture, and provide too much shade that makes growing under impossible.

Suburban Lawn With House

So, you'll need to take care of your lawn with the correct amount of shade. Too much shade will make it harder for your plants to grow. On the other hand, a lack of shade prevents your plants from being protected by the sun. Thus, use a medium sized tree (4 feet) to give your plants the optimal amount of shade.

Closing Thoughts

Conclusively, taking care of your home lawn doesn't just require water and a shovel. You need to plan and schedule times when you're going to water the plants and remove unnecessary weeds from the grass. Following this guide will ensure that your garden can survive and create high-quality food from your plants during harvest season.

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