By team@halsteadm…,

Maintaining a lush, vibrant landscape in Sawgrass, FL, especially during the warmer months, requires an efficient irrigation strategy. Your lawn and landscape's health significantly depends on how effectively you manage your watering practices. This guide offers insights into optimizing your landscape with the right irrigation solutions, ensuring your outdoor space remains beautiful and healthy all year round.


Related: Trust the Experts in Lawn Care to Achieve Healthy and Lush Grass in the Newberry and High Springs, FL Areas

Understanding Your Landscape's Water Needs

Every landscape has unique water requirements based on various factors like soil type, grass species, and the diversity of plantings. Begin by assessing your landscape's specific needs. Consider the type of soil – sandy soils drain quickly and need more frequent watering, while clay soils retain moisture longer. Additionally, understand the watering needs of your lawn and plantings. Some species are drought-tolerant and require minimal watering, whereas others might need a consistent moisture level to thrive.

Choosing the Right Irrigation System

Selecting an appropriate irrigation system is crucial for efficient water management. Drip irrigation systems are ideal for landscape beds, delivering water directly to the roots of plantings, minimizing evaporation, and reducing water waste. For lawns, consider sprinkler systems that can cover large areas evenly. Automated sprinkler systems equipped with timers can ensure that your lawn receives the right amount of water at the most beneficial times, often early in the morning or late in the evening to reduce water loss through evaporation.

Incorporating Smart Irrigation Controllers

Advancements in technology have introduced smart irrigation controllers, a game-changer in lawn care. These devices can adjust watering schedules based on real-time weather data, soil conditions, and plant water requirements. They can detect rain, humidity levels, and soil moisture, ensuring your landscape is not overwatered or underwatered. By installing a smart irrigation controller, you can maintain an optimal watering schedule without the guesswork. 


Related: Sawgrass or High Springs, FL Outdoor Areas Looking Dull? Could Be Time for a New Landscape Design

Balancing Water Conservation With Landscape Health

Water conservation is as crucial as maintaining a healthy landscape. Striking the right balance is key. Mulching around plantings can help retain soil moisture, reducing the frequency of watering. Consider native plantings that are adapted to the local climate and require less water. Additionally, understanding and adhering to local water conservation regulations and guidelines is important for sustainable landscape management.

Implementing Efficient Watering Techniques

Efficient watering techniques go beyond just having the right equipment; they involve understanding the best practices for watering your landscape. It's essential to water deeply but infrequently, which encourages deeper root growth and increases drought tolerance. The goal is to moisten the soil to a depth of about six inches. 

The frequency of watering should be adjusted according to the weather conditions – less in cooler, rainy periods and more in the heat of summer. It's also crucial to water early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation. Utilizing these techniques ensures that every drop of water is used effectively, contributing to a healthier and more resilient landscape.

Landscape Design for Optimal Irrigation

The design of your landscape significantly influences its irrigation needs. Thoughtful landscape design, which considers the placement and choice of plants according to their water needs, can optimize irrigation efficiency. Grouping plantings with similar watering requirements together, known as hydrozoning, ensures that each zone receives the right amount of water, reducing waste.


Related: Enhance the Appeal of a Gainesville, FL Paver Patio with Solutions from a Lawn Care Service Near Me

Optimize Your Sawgrass, FL Landscape With Efficient Irrigation Solutions.jpg
By Rusty,

Irrigation can be a critical part of maintaining a lovely, healthy High Springs, FL Area lawn. Living in a hot climate can be hard on grass and landscape plants so proper irrigation is necessary to ensure they get the water they need to thrive. An irrigation system can not only keep your lawn watered but can maximize water efficiency. Consider the reasons to include professional irrigation in your landscape design.

Related: When Might a Lawn Service Near Me Recommend an Irrigation System in the St. Augustine, FL Area

Irrigation for a Thriving Lawn and Landscape

Since it is not possible to rely on rain alone in the hot High Springs climate, choosing the right professional irrigation design can be important in many ways. The good news is that these irrigation methods offer several ways to water plants, trees, shrubs, and grass for the most effective coverage. 

Sprinkler Irrigation 

Sprinkler irrigation is perfect for throwing water over a large area. These mechanisms can project irrigation the farthest to reach a large expanse of grass and landscape plants. 

They allow for the most even water distribution and can be programmed to run for the right amount of time for sunny and shady areas. The water comes from overhead to land on the lawn where it can be absorbed by the roots. This can be the most efficient way to deliver water to the soil and ultimately the roots of the grass where it can travel throughout the plants. 

Drip Irrigation

Most homeowners love to have pots of colorful flowers, planted perennials, and seasonal annuals to add visual interest to the landscape. These types of plants can be watered best through drip irrigation which delivers slow, steady water to the roots.

Drip irrigation can be the best way to water plants and flowers with the least amount of waste or evaporation. Plus, there are some plants that should not have wet leaves and drip irrigation can eliminate moisture on the wrong areas. 

Subsurface Irrigation 

Subsurface irrigation can be ideal for your prized rose garden or the fresh vegetables you want to grow from seedlings. This irrigation method is buried beneath the plants to hydrate them at the roots. 

It operates at low pressure and a slow flow rate so the plants have time to absorb the moisture. It can operate automatically or manually depending on your needs. 

Surface Irrigation 

Surface irrigation can be like flooding a small area to let the water absorb on its own. This is the least common irrigation method but it can be very beneficial for certain areas of the landscape. 

Irrigation Benefits 

Providing water to a lawn can be most effective and beneficial when it comes very early in the morning before the sun comes up. The air temperatures are still warm but the hot sun cannot burn away the excess water before it has a chance to filter to the roots of the plants and grass. 

When the irrigation system automatically waters your property before you wake up, there can be ample time for it to filter deeply into the soil. There, the water can reach the roots and travel throughout the plants for the best results. 

Since an irrigation system should run often in a hot climate, your lawn and landscape can utilize the least amount of water for maximum results. 

Related: Enjoy a Healthy, Lush Landscape with Professional Lawn Fertilization in the Nocatee and Ponte Vedra Beach, FL Areas

Maximize Your Water Efficiency by Including Irrigation in Your Landscape Design Plans in the High Springs, FL Area.jpeg
By Rusty,

A very popular question we get asked is “should I shut off my irrigation controller when it rains?” To be honest, you shouldn’t have to worry about remembering at all if you have a properly installed system with a weather sensor or smart controller. If you have one of those two things, it does that for you automatically - and so much more. Let us break it down for you…

First, what is a rain sensor?

As you might have guessed, it senses rain.

It’s a device that communicates with your sprinkler controller about the recent rainfall. If enough rain has fallen, then the sensors inform the timer to skip the next irrigation cycle and not run. It’s a convenient piece of technology. If you’re out of town or just unaware of the weather forecast, the rain sensor will make sure your lawn isn’t overwatered.

The sensor would save you the mental anguish and money from not running your sprinklers during a thunderstorm. You’ll conserve water while still maintaining your lawn if you let a rain sensor manage your sprinklers.

Without a rain sensor, overwatering can occur. Not only is this a problem as it can damage the health of your lawn, waste water, and run your utility bills up - but it can also create run off from your property. Once the soil in your lawn absorbs all the water it can at one time, the ground will become saturated.

Second, what is a smart controller?

Smart irrigation technology uses your WiFi signal to read the forecast and soil moisture data to determine if your lawn needs additional watering. This is done with local weather stations that help inform the system whether or not the landscape is in need of water. These controllers are a proven technology to improve outdoor water use efficiencies. The transition will be both cost-effective and useful. Just a year of water-savings can easily pay for the smart controller upgrade, depending on the size of your lawn.

Your smart system will be able to decide how much water is needed, and when. If it rains heavily, the system may skip watering for that day. This type of lawn engineering can save up to 50% in watering costs - which is a lot when you're paying the local utility fees.

But wait, there's more…the smart controller can control many systems from anywhere in the world by opening an app on your phone. You can set your lawn watering schedule, days, and zones, or manually start and stop the sprinklers from your mobile device!

Why would this matter? Let's say you're out of town and your local lawn fertilization company sprays your lawn. Most of the time, they'll email a service slip  requesting you to water their lawn application in that evening. No problem when you have the Hydrawise app!

Be sure to visit other articles we have on this topic:

If we can be of help with any of your St. Augustine or Nocatee lawn care, please don't hesitate to reach out to us give our team a call or text at (904) 813-LAWN. We look forward to working with you!

By Rusty,

As we have mentioned before, the second basic need for a lawn is water. Everyone loves to focus on fertilizer, but without proper watering, your lawn cannot thrive. Type of grass, amount of sunlight, temperatures, humidity can all play a role in how much water your yard needs. We have been asked many questions about this topic and want to share some of the answers with you here! For other topics you may have questions about, check out our FAQ page here! 

When is the best time to water my lawn?
Watering in the morning (before sunrise) is the best time for your lawn; it's cooler and winds tend to be calmer so water can soak into the soil and be absorbed by the roots before it can evaporate. Although it might seem smart to wait until the evening, watering in the evening is only recommended in very dry seasons. Under normal watering circumstances, watering at night can cause fungus due to sitting on the lawn too long before evaporating.

How much water does my lawn need?
Most lawns need 1.5-2.5" of water per week, either from rain or sprinklers to get to the roots. This changes through the seasons at certain times of the year, we experience high evaporation (spring and early summer in North Florida) and others we experience low evaporation (fall and winter) due to humidity and temperatures. This also changes within your lawn where certain areas are in full sun (higher need for water) vs. shaded areas (lower need for water). If you're wondering how long you should run your sprinkler zones, please see below. 

Should I water my grass after mowing?
While it's definitely fine to water after mowing the lawn, you should avoid watering before you mow. Wet grass will just clump up as you mow it, clogging your mower and being a pain in general. This is also why you should avoid mowing right after heavy rains.

How do I know if my lawn has enough water?
An easy way to determine if your lawn is wet enough is to push your finger in the soil. If soil does not stick to your finger at all, you should add water. If it is still moist a knuckle or two deep, then it doesn't need water yet. You can also grab a handful of soil and see if any sticks to your hands. If it sticks at all, it has enough moisture. Read our blog post: 4 Signs Your Lawn Has Too Much Irrigation for more information.

How long do I need to run my sprinklers?
Most lawns need 1.5-2.5" of water per week, either from rain or sprinklers to get to the roots. These changes are based on the type of sprinkler head, weather, soil type, amount of sun, and grass/plant type. With all of that said, here is a basic guideline for sprinkler systems to keep a healthy lawn:

Rotor Zones - 40-65 minutes (These are the heads that rotate and cover larger areas of the lawn with one strong stream of water.
Spray / Mist Zones - 20-35 minutes (These are the heads that steadily spray a flat stream of water in a concentrated area and do not rotate)

Drip Zones - 60-90 minutes (These zones just slowly drip water at the base of root systems and do not put out much water at all. Although concentrated, they need more time to fully wet the plant's rootballs)

How can I tell if my Gainesville lawn needs more water?
Grass Blade Folding - St. Augustine and Zoysia leaves have a crease down the center that allows them to open and close as needed. Healthy, well-watered grass will appear almost completely flat and open. When grass begins to dry out, the blade will close in half upon itself, to reduce its exposure to the sun and thus conserve water. This will also give the grass a “hazy” look, as the backs of the blades are not as deep green as the enclosed fronts.

Slow Spring-Back - Healthy grass should return itself to the upright position within a few seconds of being walked upon. If your footprints last more than 5 seconds in the turf, this is a guaranteed sign of drought stress.

How do I keep my yard healthy when I can only water twice a week?
At certain times of year (typically, spring in North Florida), we experience low humidity, warm weather, and minimal rain. These 3 factors cause terrible drought stress in sunny areas of the lawn when they can only get watered two days per week. During those dry spells, we recommend watering in the morning AND in the evening of your scheduled days. (2 days a week) and that's still within the watering guidelines. Much of the problem with this time of year is that the water is evaporated and causing drought stress long before the gap between the 2 days is complete.

For example, if your watering days are Wednesday and Saturday, setting the sprinklers to run at 5am and 9pm both of those days increases the water on the lawn, shortens the gap of stress between the waterings, and keeps you within the watering guidelines.

HOWEVER-this is a plan only to be used during hot and dry times of the year (spring).

Why does Alachua County recommend smart controllers in their new code?
Most people hear "smart" and think of voice activation - like Alexa. Irrigation Smart controllers have nothing to do with voice, but everything to do with saving water. They intelligently optimize your irrigation system by automatically adjusting to your local weather, effectively helping your landscape, and cutting water use. It reads the weather on your WiFi network and then responds to it. For example, it knows if rain is forecasted above 80% for today, it will not water. If it's above 85-degrees, it naturally adjusts with more water and does the same with deducting from cold temperatures.

It's not about voice activation it's about saving water and improving the way you water by the changing weather.

Be sure to visit other articles we have on this topic:
Gainesville Sprinkler Tips for Watering Your Lawn
4 Common Gainesville Sprinkler System Issues to Watch For
Quick Tip: How Much Should I water my Gainesville Lawn in Summer?
5 Reasons to Install a Smart Irrigation WiFi Controller on your Gainesville Sprinkler System

If we can be of help with your Gainesville Irrigation please don't hesitate to reach out to us at (352) 378-LAWN or fill out our form at the top of the page!

By Rusty,

Ever heard of the term 'Feast to Famine'?
That is exactly what almost every transition from Spring to Summer is like in North Florida. A couple of weeks ago, lawns were burning up, drought-stressed, and begging for water. It almost seemed like no amount of irrigation could quench their thirst. Fast forward a couple of weeks, and rainstorms are a daily occurrence.

Instead of worrying about sprinklers, people are worried about drainage solutions and run-off erosion. Quite the change for a short period of time. So why would I be writing about irrigation in a season like this? Because your water use matters - even if you aren't concerned with the environment, you certainly care about your GRU or municipality's water bill.

This is where the Irrigation Smart Controller (such as Hunter's Hydrawise system) comes in. It reads the weather from your WiFi network and then adjusts your sprinklers based on the weather. It's very possible that you could be saving $50-75/month on your water bill.

Benefits of installing a Smart Controller:

1. Adaptability - Your smart system will be able to decide when not to run much more consistently than the out-of-date rain sensors.
2. Scheduling - You can program your watering schedule into your smart system.
3. Avoids Over Watering - It will take into account the temperature and rainfall and delays between water zones.
4. Flexibility - You can control your system from anywhere by opening the app on your phone
5. Integration - Smart irrigation systems will integrate with many pre-existing smart systems like Google Assistant, Alexa, Nest, Wink, or other smart systems..

If we can be of help with any of your Summer Irrigation needs - please don't hesitate to reach out to us give our team a call or text at (352) 378-5296. We're local and have been serving Gainesville for over 15 years. We look forward to working with you!

By Rusty,

Now is the time when Florida starts to get warm and dry. It’s a good idea to get a head start on gearing up your irrigation system to set you and your landscape and lawn up for success before the season fully kicks into gear. Here are 5 easy steps to get you started!

  1. Run the system manually by pressing Manual Start button and walk your property while each zone runs. Here is a short tutorial by Chuck on the fundamentals of 4 different brands of irrigation controllers. 
  2. Check heads to be sure they aren't wasting too much water on paved surfaces and that plants are getting proper coverage. Remember that some overspray on surfaces will happen, but you want to minimize it.
  3. Look for dry spots. Spring is when areas of the lawn with low water will struggle. Especially the hottest areas like where spots get full or afternoon sun (the hottest part of the day). Make sure these are adjusted well and have the proper amount of run time for that zone.
  4. Increase zone run times from winter settings and set controllers to start earlier in the morning if they aren't already. Two days a week is the rule for Alachua County.
  5. Test your rain sensor shut off by pushing the sensor down to verify it shuts off the system If not, get it replaced because this little part of your system can save a lot on your GRU bill. If it doesn't work, consider upgrading to a smart controller to save even more on your water bill. Watch your lawn closely till June. This is when the most lawn growth occurs with proper irrigation and fertilization. If grass blades start folding in half or leaves of plants start drooping, this signifies drought stress. Add water quickly and increase run times or days to water. 

We hope this blog has been helpful for testing your sprinkler system. If all this seems too much to worry about, give us a call at 352-378-5296 or email, we offer biannual (spring and fall) irrigation tests and we would love to help out!

By Rusty,

Spring marks the start of a new growing season. It's time to get out there and tackle some spring lawn fundamentals to set you and your grass up for success before season fully kicks into gear. Putting in a little extra work now is going to mean less time, frustration, and possibly even money spent later on trying to rescue your lawn. Do what you can to build a strong lawn foundation this spring, it's worth it.


Clear off your turf

  • Remove any leaves or debris on the lawn. Blowing is preferred to raking (to not pull at stolons) but lightly raking will do. This will allow for quicker soil warm up and ensure enough sunlight reaches your grass.

Install Plugs or Sod in Bare spots

  • Fill in your lawn's bare areas. Patching bare spots will help prevent weed growth and will give you a thick, full lawn as the plugs/sod spreads. Very few of our grass types are seedable, so St. Augustine and Zoysia have to be plugged or sodded. As those plugs grow in, they will crowd out weeds and need less weed control naturally.

Fine tune your irrigation system

  • Start with a sprinkler system check, or a "wet check," which should be done several times annually. This helps assure you aren't wasting water on paved surfaces and plants are getting proper coverage. Make sure all sprinkler heads are functioning, reaching their target range, and aren’t blocked by plant growth or debris. Keep an eye on your sprinklers as the season goes on to stay on top of any problems - because improper irrigation is where most pests and diseases start.

Set Your Sprinkler Timer for Spring

  • Your Gainesville Sprinkler system should've been turned down to 1 day per week or less for winter, but spring is Gainesville Landscape's driest season. Watering properly over the next 3 months will set your lawn up for major success this year. Bump your watering days to 2 days per week (Depending upon address below) and make sure to increase your watering times too.
irrigation time restrictions table

Sharpen your Mower blades

  • Dull mower blades tug on grass roots and stress grass blades out . Also, a well-sharpened mower blade will chop grass clippings finely, making for easy decomposition to enrich the soil. That’s if you’re grass-cycling, if you aren’t you should definitely check it out (free nutrients!). For an average lawn, blades should be sharpened every couple months. Why not start with spring?

Watch for Weeds through Season

  • Young weeds are weaker and easier to tackle than grown up weeds. Whether you are pulling them out or using our lawn health service, early weed control is always better than letting them get established. Spring is a great time to get in the habit of looking out for weeds. Once a month assessing your lawn would probably go a long way to keeping them in check.

Should I aerate my lawn or not?

  • If your soil is compact and it’s affecting your grass’ ability to grow, Spring is a great time for Gainesville aeration. Aeration helps soils to allow oxygen, water, and nutrients to penetrate past the topsoil and reach the root zone, but aeration is not for all lawns. Liquid Aeration is actually proving to last longer and have better effects on your lawn than manual core aeration, and we are always testing new products coming out on the market to increase your lawn health and mnimize costs associated with doing so. Gainesville Liquid aeration has proved as one those examples.

Frequently Observing Your Lawn 

  • Lawn problems usually can be reduced greatly when they are spotted and resolved early. Spending regular time in your lawn making observations can help you and your Gainesville lawn spraying company stay ahead of lawn issues.

By Rusty,

Do you want to save money and reduce your impact on the environment? Your iGainesville rrigation system should be smart enough to do that for you

The main reasons to invest in a smart irrigation controller are, obviously, the cost savings on GRU bills and saving precious water resources. It is also incredibly handy to be able to track and control your watering from almost anywhere with your smart device.

Here are some other reasons.


You will program your smart irrigation by answering a number of questions and let it go from there. The smart system will determine watering based on local water regulations, weather, climate, and plant and soil types.

Your smart system will be able to decide how much water is needed, and when. If it rains heavily, the system may skip watering for that day. This type of lawn engineering can save up to 50% in watering costs.

smart controller watering schedule


2. Scheduling

You can program your watering schedule into your smart system. If your area is under water restrictions, you can disable the schedule or enter the watering days into the program

You begin by setting the system to water for the amount of time you would want to water on a hot day. The system will incorporate local weather data to reduce the watering time if needed, which adds up to savings for the environment and your water bill.

3. Avoid Overwatering

There are a number of ways a smart irrigation systems prevents overwatering. First, it will take into account the temperature and rainfall. Also, the system will have a delay between watering zones. This prevents overwatering, flooding, and pooling, especially if the drainage is poor. It uses "soak cycles" to maximize the effectiveness of watering to reduce waste.

wether forecast for the day

4. Flexibility

The nice part is, you can control many systems frome anywhere in the world by opening an app on your phone. You can set your lawn watering schedule, days, and zones, or manually start and stop the sprinklers from your device.

Did you get notes from our lawn health tech that your lawn needs more water in an area? You've got an app for that.

5. Integration

Smart irrigation systems will integrate with many pre-existing smart systems like Alexa, Nest, Wink, or other smart system.

The most environmentally-friendly, cost effective decision you can make for your lawn and landscaping is to upgrade to a smart irrigation control system.

The Master's Sprinkler Department would like to help you start saving today with tips and advice from our expert team. For a quote on getting your sprinkler system upgraded or installed, call us at (352) 378-5296.

smart irrigation controller controls
By Rusty,

We’ve gotten a number of calls from customers asking questions about how to improve their lawn's appearance in the North Florida dry spell. Lawns are struggling from drought stress in any area that gets sun exposure, landscape plants are beginning to wilt, and you're already watering with your sprinkler system. What can you do?

Until we begin to get normal rainfall, here are some watering tips. Notice that these tips are beyond the basics of watering early in the morning, follow the 2 day per week schedule (unless you have new sod or plants), and put down an inch of water. These tips are specifically the dry spells we have come accustomed to a couple times a year in Gainesville landscapes. These tips need to be reveresed after normal rainfall begins as you could create problems with overwatering and fungus when the dry spell ends. 

  • Use the Seasonal Adjust function -On most irrigation controllers installed in the past decade, there is an option called "seasonal adjust" that has a percent in it (typically it is left at 100%). Increasing this to 150% is a simple and quick way to adjust up in dry/hot seasons and down (50-60%) in cold/wet seasons. Please note this function only increases your time of watering per zone, and not your amount of days. (For example, a zone that is set to run 30 minutes would be set to run 150% of it's set time, or 45 minutes, during the dry spell. Then, if you set it to 50% for the winter, it would only run half the normal time, or 15 minutes)
  • Creatively Obey the Rules - Watering 2 times a week in a severe dry spell in full sun exposure will rarely keep your Gainesville grass healthy, but there isn't a rule that says you can only water your lawn 2 times a week. The code says you can only water your lawn 2 days per week, and only during the morning or evening. Let's say your address is an even number, so your watering days are Thursday and Sunday. You could water early in the morning on Thursday (around 5am) and then late in the evening again on Thursday (around 10pm). Repeating this on Sunday would allow you to reduce your time between waterings from 3 days to 2, and severely limit the amount of stress on your Gainesville grass.
  • Apply "Moisture Manager" to your Lawn and Landscape- This is something I highly recommend for Zoysia lawns that get so drought stressed in our dry spells! Moisture Manager (click this link to watch a video) allows your soil to hold more moisture around the plant's roots due to it's microscopic water-absorption technology, and saves you on your GRU water bill. This is commonly called Hydretain by other companies in town, but it works really well to increase your waterings effectiveness. 
  • Use Soak Cycles - This is something we all should use year-round, but they are difficult to set up on irrigation timers that aren't Hunter's Hydrawise Smart Controllers . These soak zones break a normal zone zycle (for example, a zone set to run for 60 minutes) into 4 seperate 15-minute cycles with a 10-20 minute break between each one. What does this do? It allows the water to soak in, rather than puddle up and run off down the driveway, and down the front curb. This is a great tip we use for watering lawns on slopes, but it really works well for most all Gainesville Florida lawns. 
  • Inspect your irrigation system - This one is a fundamental tip, but you would be amazed how many lawns struggle in speceific areas during the dry season because of lack of adjustments as plants grew, trees developed, and the irrigation needs shifted - but the system didn't. Checking your irrigation system twice a year will help you avoid those "hot spots" where they always dry out in the heat of the year.

We hope these tips are helpful for you during this dry season! If we can be of help with your Gainesville, Florida sprinkler system, Lawn Pest Control (Gainesville Chinch Bugs LOVE dry lawns!) or Landscape Managment, please give us a call at (352) 378-5296 or email us at

By Rusty,

A lush, well-manicured lawn adds to curb appeal and enjoyment of your home. But lawns are susceptible to diseases and pests, especially if they're left vulnerable from poor cultural practices like underwatering or being scalped too low. Here are five common things your Gainesville lawn is trying to communicate to you, and how to spot and fix each before they get bad.

Problem #1
Problem: Brown Spots

brown spot in grass

What the Lawn Is Trying to Tell You: There are several causes of brown, or even dead, spots in your turf. Some are obvious, like a dog peeing in a certain area, but others require a little more detective work. It could be  weeds dying off from a lawn weed treatment, the soil pH could be too acidic, or even an area having too much shade or not enough water. How do you know? It may have a couple causes like the ones listed in the tips below, but I would start out looking to see if it's too shaded or not getting enough water - as that is most often the case.

If it's in full sun, check your sprinkler coverage by testing the system; you may need to adjust sprinkler head orientation to get full coverage. If it's in the shade, you need 4-6 hours of sunlight to grow a healthy Gainesville lawn. You may want to prune some tree limbs up. 

Problem #2
Problem: Grass Is Wilting or blades are folding up

wilted grass

What the Lawn Is Trying to Tell You: It probably needs a deep watering. Most lawns have a mix of different types of grass, and some types will start to wilt or turn brown before the others. In our area, Zoysia is the first to decline in dry weather due to it going dormant. (I know, it's weird that the drought-tolerant grass shows drought stress the qucikest - see our YouTube videos for more on this)

The folding grass blades, even when mixed with healthy green blades, are early indicators that the lawn is starting to suffer from a drought. The photo above is a St. Augustine lawn with bad drought stress. 

If you haven't increased your watering in the spring, this is the time. Check soil moisture by sticking your finger in the soil. If the soil is dry, it will feel like sand and know you need to increase your irrigation settings. You will need to water for longer periods of time to allow the water to sink deeper into the soil, and water a minimum of 2x per week.

"You want to water infrequently but longer to encourage the roots to go deeper," our irrigation manager Chuck says. "Watering light everyday is not as good as a deep watering two or three times a week." The ideal time is between 4 and 6 am. Cooler temperatures limit evaporation, but the grass will dry during the day. Watering at night leaves wet grass, which can promote Gainesville lawn fungus and disease. 

Problem #3
Problem: Circles Pop Up in the Grass

circles in grass

What the Lawn Is Trying to Tell You: The circles, are the result of a fungus in the soil and presents itself as Large Patch or Brown Patch Fungus.

The fungal threads in the soil will initially cause the grass in the circle to appear orange in the outer circle  because that is where the fungus is most active. As it grows, the middle will turn brown and the outer ring will expand to take over more and more of your lawn. This disease stays in the soil year-round, but typically pops up in Gainesville grass in Fall and Spring Seasons as we transition between cold and warm weather and there is excess moisture to make it activate.

Reducing irrigation and applying fungicide is your first line of defense against the circles. You only have to treat the affected area, but lawn fungus applications aren't inexpensive. Cutting back irrigation should be a priority, and whatever you do - do not fertilize when you have large patch in your lawn. It will feed the fungus instead of the lawn. 

Problem #4
Problem: Grass Won't Grow Under a Tree

grass not growing under tree

What the Lawn Is Trying to Tell You: Large trees can block the sun, while pine trees drop needles around the trunk, which also can kill the grass.

To be perfectly honest here: let it go. Trying to maintain healthy turf under the tree can be a constant challenge. You'll have to trim back branches to let the sun shine through, or continually rake up leaves and pine straw. Even then, the grass may struggle due to the fight for water and nutrients with the larger and stronger tree roots. 

You're better off not having the competition between the tree and the turf. Instead, we recommend putting mulch around the base of the tree and shade-tolerant landscaping like Hydrangea and Agapanthus to add color and create an attractive bed rather than a receding Gainesville lawn. 

Problem #5
Problem: Patchy dead spots by sidewalk, walkway, curb

patchy spots in grass

What the Lawn Is Trying to Tell You: Chinch Bugs can take up residence in your Gainesville lawn quickly and cause all kinds of problems. A lawn suffering from disease or heat stress from lack of water is most vulnerable, and typically they love to attack near concrete, driveways, or walkways (such as the photo shows). The trick is to identify it quickly and treat them before they damage more of the lawn. 

Common lawn pests include chinch bugs, army worms, webworms, and spittlebugs - but the most common this time of year are chinch bugs. These ant-sized bugs feast on drought-stressed grass and typically start by the concrete. But they overwinter in your lawn, and the larva emerge there, eating and killing turfgrass roots.

You can treat infestations with insecticides, but be careful. "Knowing what you're going after is the key," Chuck said. "It's important to use an insecticide that is labeled for that insect on not just any big box store product." If you aren't experienced in this area, hire a Gainseville lawn pest control professional. 

We hope these 5 tips about what your lawn is communicating are helpful to keep your Gainesville landscape looking top notch. If we can be of service, cal us at (352) 378-5296 or email