Dormant turf grass in the winter means no need for constant mowing and more time for other landscaping tasks. Clean up dropped leaves, clear out beds, and apply fresh mulch. Plant ryegrass for a green lawn and check your trees for parasitic mistletoe.
Florida’s mild winter weather is perfect for landscaping work. North Florida sees colder days than Central and South Florida, but most afternoons still warm up and make pleasant yardwork weather!
Turfgrass is dormant during the winter season, meaning that homeowners don’t need to dedicate hours to mowing and trimming their lawns as they do during the summer and early fall. Winter is the time to turn your attention to other outdoor tasks.
Collect Fallen Leaves
Sycamores and other deciduous trees have shed their leaves over lawns and beds. Although oaks drop leaves later, it’s a good practice to remove leaves throughout the season so that you don’t face the frustration of cleaning up a carpet of decomposing and soggy organic matter underneath a freshly added layer.
Clear your lawn of fallen leaves with a rake or leaf blower or mow the lawn with a mulching blade engaged. Commit to doing this regularly through the winter. Clearing a built-up layer of soggy leaves is not an easy or enjoyable task.
Attend to Beds
Clear Out Expired Plants
It is now the time of year for warm-season annuals to go. Remove them from pots, containers, and garden beds. Clean up perennials by pruning gangly stems and deadheading. Weed all garden beds.
Plant Cool Weather Annuals
Most parts of the state are ready for cool-season annuals. Check recommendations for your hardiness zone, then add these annuals to your garden beds and containers.
Apply Fresh Mulch
Once you have cleared gardens of warm-season annuals, weeded beds and containers, and planted cool-season annuals, rejuvenate your garden beds with new mulch. A fresh layer of mulch will bring new life to winter beds, and it will help protect the roots of cold-sensitive plants from a freeze (generally not an issue in South Florida, but can happen in Central and North Florida).
Grow Ryegrass Over Your Lawn
Since turf grass turns dormant over the winter, you will not see green grass unless you make it so. Ryegrass is the answer if you’d like to enjoy a green winter lawn. Since ryegrass will grow from seed, it can be easily sown over your existing grass. Water it in and wait for the bright, fine blades of grass to appear. Ryegrass will live through the winter and then die once the warm weather returns.
Remove Mistletoe Plants
Winter is the time to check your trees for mistletoe, especially since many trees have lost their leaves, making this parasitic plant easier to spot. Mistletoe looks like a round, green ball growing from a tree branch. Host trees include hackberries, oaks, sycamores, elms, and wild cherries.
Act right away if you identify or suspect mistletoe; a tree with a serious infestation may be beyond saving. You can remove mistletoe on your own, but make sure to call a professional tree company if the plant is growing too high for you to reach safely.