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Southern Horticultural Consultants
Landscape Inspection Report, April 15, 2009
Skinnie Vinnie Lawncare, Inc., Fernandina Beach, Florida

WEATHER OBSERVATIONS:
Rainfall amounts have been below normal rainfall during late 2008 and the first part of 2009. Rainfall amounts have totaled between 4 and 8 inches during April and totals are slightly above normal for the year.
Note: 6 to 8 inches in May.

Temperatures were colder than normal in late November and December with some frost and record low temperatures. Temperatures in January were warmer than normal through the first half of the month and then colder than normal in late January, February and early March. Temperatures during the last half of March and April have been normal. Overall this was a colder than normal winter.

commercial lawn sprinklers

NOTES:
Irrigation:
Recently expanded water restrictions will make it more difficult to maintain landscapes if drought conditions occur this year. Limiting watering to two days per week reduces our ability to overcome rainfall deficits. The further designation of which days a homeowner can water based on street address is another complicating factor. When homes on one side of a street are all watered on the same date there will be a great potential for water pressure issues reducing system efficiencies and further complicating the situation. As a result, it may be a good idea to have irrigation systems run immediately after midnight rather than at 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. The water pressure should be better and approximately 95% of the time dew is already present so there is no increasing of the disease potential.

COLD WEATHER DAMAGE:
The winter of 2008-2009 was a colder than normal winter and was in fact the coldest since 1989. We have enjoyed a series of warmer than normal winters and the amount of tender tropical plants, including palms, being grown in home landscapes grew with each year. This winter was a catch up year and a reminder that these tropical plants are not well suited for northeast Florida. The amount of damage to landscape plants was directly related to their cold tolerance and in most cases they are already recovering. Lawns were a different matter. The St. Augustine grass in our lawns was damaged by the cold, sometimes severely. Grass growth in the spring is related to stored carbohydrates and when we have cold winters they may use up the stored carbohydrates before warm weather is here. This is the case this year. The grass went dormant and then greened up several times. This used up the stored carbohydrates and then late frosts and freezes caused serious damage to the lawns. There was no way to predict or prevent the damage which occurred. In some cases the damage is small dead spots spread throughout the lawn. In other, more serious cases, the damage is occurring as larger dead spots and those spots will need to be replaced.

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LANDSCAPE OBSERVATIONS:
The St. Augustine grass is showing cold damage.

damaged florida lawn
cold temperature thermometer

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