April 22, 2022 0 Comments

A Guide To Preparing Soils For New Lawns

No matter the situation or reasons for wanting to install a new lawn at our homes, a newly turfed yard area adds tremendous beauty and landscape value to our home environment. Not to mention the added resale value to the property itself, when the yard has naturally turfed lawn areas.

Today’s modern and highly improved lawn varieties are another reason to replace an existing lawn which may be in poor condition. No matter the reason, whether to improve an existing lawn, to tame a wild jungle garden etc, installing a new lawn is a great improvement for any yard.

The most important aspect to consider when laying any new lawn, is also the one aspect which many people often neglect the most, which can then lead to many poor health problems in the future for our new lawns, which we had such high hopes for when we installed them. And that one most important aspect of all is our lawn soils.

Begin Soil Preparation In Advance

The yard area which is to be used for the new lawn should be prepared weeks in advance of laying any new sod. This gives the soil a chance to break down any nutrients that were added to the soil prior to the lawn being laid, as well as giving opportunity to allow any weed seeds that are dormant in the soil to propagate so they can be removed by us before the sod goes down.

Whether old turf needs to be removed or the yard area to be used needs to be cleaned up in any way, we do this first, and ensure the lawn area is completely clean of all debris, rocks, weeds and all other foreign matter, until we are left with a clean working area where the lawn is to be laid.

Soil evaluation should be considered at this time also. Any poor soils can have new top soil added at this time, while the weeks of rest period for the lawn area will also help in the soil compaction and levelling before the sod is put down.

Likewise, sandy or clay based soils can be further improved at this optimal time.

Natural organic or manure based soil improvers could be added at this time also, and raked into the soil and watered in. Once again, the rest time for the soil will aid in breaking down these valuable nutrients into the soil before the sod goes down. Also, new lawns should never be laid on top of freshly manured soils, as this has the potential to burn roots of the sod. So allow time for these fertilizers to break down first.

During the lead up of a few weeks prior to the lawn being installed, keep the soil moist, which allows the added organic supplements to decompose, but also allows weeds to germinate in the lawn area. We want these weed seeds to germinate in the soil, so that the weeds can be removed from the soil before the lawn is installed. Which is far better than waiting until our new lawn is in our yard flourishing and then we see those dreaded weeds popping up out of nowhere, only to be treated with a herbicide later. Best to remove weeds in the soil prior to the lawn going down, and to have a plan to do just that.

Levelling out of the soil would also be done in this time, to ensure as flat and even a surface area as possible. The occasional watering or rainfall at this time would also help to compact the soil a little, while showing us where any soft spots are in the area, which may need to be filled or levelled further before the new sod is installed. Ultimately, a heavy roller should be used for best results in compacting the soil so that it is flat and even, without any soft spots that compress under foot when walked upon.

Final Soil Preparation Prior To Laying New Sod

After we have done all soil preparations weeks prior, and allowed the soil to rest, and removed any weeds which may have emerged in the meantime, it is now time for final preparation before the new sod goes down.

And at this late stage, all that is required is really a final levelling out of the soil, and soil compaction if it hasn’t been done already – using a heavy roller which can be hired from a hire shop. These rollers are often have cylindrical drums that are filled with water by the homeowner to achieve their desired weight, and then pushed over the soil area to aid in compaction.

Ideally the final soil preparation should be done one day prior to laying the new sod. That way we are all prepared to lay the sod, without any distractions whatsoever on the day it arrives at our property.

Summary

Of all the new lawns I’ve installed over many years, I’ve found this system to be most beneficial to aid in gaining the best possible results when laying all new lawns. I’ve also witnessed the results of using the quick and easy methods, and the difference in end results of lawn quality can be amazing to see.

Proper soil preparation which begins weeks prior to laying any new sod has so many outstanding benefits for so many years into the future, and should be the only way a new lawn is planned and prepared for in any yard.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9419896

March 9, 2022 0 Comments

Spring Lawn Care And Maintenance

The inclement weather conditions of winter makes a lawn weary. Following a few simple steps will help the lawn recover its lush green coloration and flourish. Raking, repairing damaged areas, renovating the lawn’s appearance and correct fertilizer applications restore a lawn to its pre-winter glory.

New Lawn Growth

During the cold winter months, grass enters a state of dormancy. It will cease growing which makes its general appearance become ragtag. Its lack of growth during the winter also makes it more susceptible to damage from freezing, drainage issues and snow accumulation. In order for the grass to flourish and grow correctly, the winter damage must be fixed.

Clear Debris

Before undertaking spring lawn care, allow the area to dry out. A wet or soggy lawn can sustain damage when cultivated. The roots will be easily pulled from the soil and the blades bent or broke. Once the lawn has dried out, it should be thoroughly raked to help aerate the soil. Raking will remove accumulated winter debris. It will also open up the soil and the grass blades to create air circulation. Good air circulation around the crown of the plants and each blade of grass will help prevent fungal problems from developing. A basic hard tine rake works adequately to help remove dead grass plants and lawn debris or a lawn vacuum or leaf blower for larger lawns can help with larger lawns.

Post-Winter Scarification

Moss and thatch buildup can occur from the long winter months. A lawn that suffers excessive thatch or moss buildup will benefit from a scarification treatment. Scarification should never take place if there is still any danger of spring frosts. Consider performing scarification in mid-April or later. If the lawn has excessive moss, use a moss killer two to three weeks before scarification. The lawn should be newly mown and moderately wet to successfully scarify it. Use a hand spring bok rake or a powered scarifier. The goal is to tear up the thatch, dead grass plants and any weeds. The grass will usually suffer extensive visual damage after scarification. If bare patches occur, consider patching the areas by reseeding.

Weeds

Spring is the ideal time to address pending weed. In regions where crab grass is a problem, apply a pre-emergence crabgrass weed killer to the lawn during the first weeks of April. Avoid using a crabgrass weed killer that contains fertilizers. Fertilizing the lawn too early will cause a weak root system. After applying the pre-emergence weed killer, water the lawn with about 1/2 inch of water. Mowing the lawn to a height of 2 inches will also help control spring weeds. Crabgrass seeds begin to germinate when the soil temperature reaches 60 degrees Fahrenheit so treatment with a pre-emergence weed killer will help prevent the seeds from germinating.

Fertilizer

Fertilizing in the spring replenishes the grass plant’s food supply. The fertilizer will encourage the grass to develop healthy, new growth and a strong root system. An adequate, balanced fertilizer will create a thick lawn that will be able to more easily combat weeds by choking them out. Apply fertilizer when the grass begins to show signs of breaking dormancy. Grass roots will grow when the temperature is between 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Its top growth will develop when the temperature reaches 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Never fertilize a lawn too early in the spring because the new growth may suffer damage if a late spring frost should hit. Use a balanced spring lawn fertilizer and avoid high-nitrogen mixes. A high-nitrogen based lawn fertilizer will encourage the lawn to grow and develop a deep green coloration but a shallow root system. The shallow roots will be unable to withstand a summer drought.

Apply fertilizer applications to the lawn in mid-May. Use a fertilizer that offers at least 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn space. The fertilizer label will usually have general application guidelines. After applying the fertilizer, be sure to saturate the lawn to prevent the grass blades from sustaining damage from the fertilizer. Nitrogen can burn grass blades. A slow release nitrogen fertilizer has the least chance of accidentally harming the grass.

New Season Overseeding

If the lawn suffers from bare spots or a patchy appearance it can benefit from spring seeding. Lawn seeds will not germinate until the soil reaches 65 degrees Fahrenheit, so avoid seeding the lawn if it remains too cold. The ideal time to overseed an existing lawn is usually after mid-April. Seed Kentucky bluegrass at a rate of 1.5 pounds per 1,000 square feet, use 3 pounds of fine fescue grass seeds per 1,000 square feet or use 6 pounds of tall fescue per 1,000 feet. Spreading straw mulch across the newly laid seeds will help keep them from blowing away and will also help keep the seeds moist. Regularly water the newly laid seeds and avoid allowing them to dry out. The seeds require even moisture to successfully germinate. Usually one bale of straw per 1,000 feet will adequately protect the seeds. When seeding a lawn in the spring, consider using a starter fertilizer that contains Tupersan to avoid a crabgrass infestation.

Look Forward To A Green Lawn All Year

With only a bit of spring care, a lawn can look amazing by summer. It will also help prepare the lawn for the following winter by encouraging it to produce a strong, deep root system and store valuable nutrients.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jack_D_Turner/1133195

 

September 2, 2021 0 Comments

Lawn Aeration As Part Of Your Yard Care Routine

Most people think of lawn care as just mowing and occasionally getting the sprinkler out to let their thirsty garden drink. A few more folk have perhaps give the lawn a meal and feed their lawn once or twice a year. However, we can outline five key steps that you can incorporate in an easy to manage lawn care routine that will save you time, effort and money once you are into the routine and give you a better looking, more organic lawn to boot!

Lawn scarification

Much like painting a room, or moving house, if you don’t clean out the rubbish first it quickly turns into a mess. Lawn scarifiers or power rakes help to remove a lot of the lawn thatch, weeds and moss that plague many a garden. Thatch is the dead organic material that accumulates on the surface of the turf and includes leaves, grass clippings, seeds and other garden waste. Over time this layer can build up and start to form a barrier that stops the soil from getting its essential nutrients of water, air and feed which leads to dehydration, sparse and thin grass cover and potentially a number of lawn diseases.

A scarifier scrapes or rakes out this organic material that is often not rooted to the ground or much less firmly than grass and the keen lawnsmith is able to remove and dispose of the thatch leaving a cleaner, neater turf that the grass can spread into. Once cleared, it is only necessary to clear the thatch once or maybe twice a year and if the grass and turf are cared for correctly it may be that it is needed less frequently than this even.

Lawn aeration

Once the soils surface is free of thatch and exposed to the air, the next phase of this lawn care plan can start. Many lawns suffer from soil compaction, where the grains of the soil are pushed together and the air and moisture expelled leading to a dry, nutrient poor soil that is hard and unyielding to grass roots. This type of compacted soil tends to have a lower concentration of bacteria, fungi and earthworms that help to keep the recently cleared thatch at bay and any grass growing in it will likely have stunted root growth that leaves the grass exposed to dehydration and disease. A compacted turf also struggles to absorb and hold rain water or feed and the nutrient rich topsoil is often washed away in heavy rain as the water has nowhere else to go.

The quick and easy solution to the soil compaction problem is to aerate the lawn. Lawn aeration involves either taking small cores or plugs of soil out of the turf or pressing spikes into it to create holes which allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate the soil and be retained as well as to physically break up the soil where it has become compacted. Lawn aerators come in a few different varieties ranging from lawn aerator shoes through to push along rotating cylinder aerators or the larger tow-behind type for ride-on lawn tractors.

An aerated lawn is a happy lawn and helps to maintain a thick, lush turf that keeps thatch at bay and promotes grass regrowth. Core aeration is potentially an annual job but spiked lawn shoes or blade aerators can be used every time you mow as their holes close up more rapidly.

Watering the lawn

Now that your lawn is clear and can breathe, drink and feed more easily it is time to address the second most frequent of all the lawn tasks – watering. If your lawn dries out quickly or seems thinner or patchier then your neighbors then aerate first so the water can penetrate deeper into the soil. Watering is as simple as waiting for the rain or more likely, getting the sprinkler out. These can be embedded into the turf or free roaming with one or more sprinkler heads attached to a hosepipe.

Watering is best done in the morning before the sun is too high so the water has time to be absorbed by the soil before it evaporates and doesn’t sit on the grass blades with the sun blazing away on them which can cause some scorching due to a magnifying glass effect.

You should water heavily and less frequently if possible. A shallow watering can increase surface moisture levels and help weeds to germinate as well as causing grass roots to remain in the surface layer leading to higher risk of dehydration in the long term. A heavy watering of 15-30m helps the water to soak more deeply into the soil and promotes a more robust root structure as well as cutting down on evaporation from the surface layers.

A well watered lawn should have thick, springy grass that bounces back when you tread on it and shouldn’t wilt or have a blue-grey tinge to it.

Feed your lawn

If your lawn is looking a little dowdy it may be time to give it a feed and top up the essential nutrients in the soil that it needs to be strong and healthy. The best time to feed the lawn is after any frosts have gone and when the soil or warming up and wet during the Springtime. Any earlier than this and you run the risk that newly encouraged growth in the grass gets hit by a late frost and damages it, leaving you in a worse state than when you started. A slow release fertilizer applied during Spring will give a drip feed of nutrients throughout the Summer months.

Depending on your needs and the state of the lawn you need to make a choice between liquid (fast release) and granule (slow release) based feeds as well as different preparations based on the season. In all cases, getting a push along feed spreader is a cheap and easy way to ensure even coverage and to dramatically speed up the work.

Mow the lawn

Your de-thatched, aerated, watered and fed lawn should now be growing voraciously and brings us to the last and most time consuming lawn care task – mowing the lawn.

To keep the grass in tip-top condition and growing back strongly after being mowed, you should aim to cut only the top third of the blade. Almost all mowers have a height adjustment for the blade, usually a screw or screws on the underside of many mowers, which make this easy to adjust. Cutting too little results in a never ending chore every weekend to keep it in check but, conversely, taking too much off in one go reduces the ‘green’ area of the grass blade where the grass converts sunlight into energy via the chlorophyll (which gives it the green color) and can leave the grass weak and unable to bounce back so thickly and quickly.

There are many types of mower and which one you go for will depend on the size of your lawn, budget and the type of ground and slopes you have. For the small lawn owner, a manual push mower may suffice and is good exercise but impractical for anything of reasonable size where an electric or petrol powered mower will come into its own. These can be hover or cylinder mowers. For those with the largest lawns nothing but a ride-on mower will do. These miniature tractors come with a variety of attachments and features, some even with a CD player to keep you singing along as you mow but all are at a price!

Luckily, mowing is usually only required in the Spring-Autumn months as the grass grows more slowly or becomes dormant over the Winter, especially in more Northern climates where frost and potentially snow are regular visitors. During the peak months you may need to mow a vibrant healthy lawn every two weeks, but in many ways this is a great sign of a truly healthy lawn.

Summary

It should be easy to see how aeration could be missed when watering, feeding and mowing can have such an immediate and obvious impact but a solid lawn aeration routine can really pick your lawn up and make it easier to manage and more fun to enjoy. You may have to mow a little more often but with less thatch, fewer weeds and diseases and a full and lush covering of grass you can use it more and spend less time on the other maintenance tasks that could otherwise become a chore.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jack_D_Turner/1133195

May 27, 2021 0 Comments

Safely Mowing An Overgrown Lawn

There are many reasons why lawns are left to become overgrown, the property may have been left vacant for a long period of time, the property may be rented and the gardens not cared about by either the owner or the tenant, a busy lifestyle may just push our lawn care routines so low to the bottom of our list of priorities that we realize one day we have a real problem with an unsightly overgrown yard that now needs to be dealt with.
No matter the reason our turf may have become overgrown, it is now time to deal with the problem and to bring our lawns back into full health and control once more. However, mowing an overgrown lawn can bring risk of damage to the lawn if we are not careful in how we go about cutting back the excess growth, as mowing an overgrown lawn can result in severely damaging the lawn or perhaps even killing the lawn if the mowing is not done correctly.
Why Mowing an Overgrown Lawn Can Cause Damage?
All growth of lawns comes from a part of the grass called a crown. It is from these crowns which spring forth new runners in warm season grasses, as well as new lawn leaf material in all grasses. If these crowns are damaged or removed during lawn mowing then it becomes impossible for new lawn growth to occur at all, which in turn can kill the grass in any affected turf areas where this occurs.
In cool season grasses, if we kill the crowns the entire affected area of turf will also die as a result. However, for some warm season grasses such as Zoysia and Bermuda grasses, these lawn types also have underground runners which can repair a lawn where the above surface lawn has been killed or had its crowns removed with lawn mowing. Though it is not a guarantee that all warm season lawns will repair when they are severely damaged.
The problem we have with overgrown turf is that these crowns can raise far higher above the soil level whenever the lawn becomes overgrown. Then when we mow the overgrown lawn at our regular lawn mowing heights, we can in fact be removing the now raised crowns in the lawn mowing process, thus severely damaging, or even killing the lawn in the affected area where this has occurred.
We therefore need to adjust our mowing practice whenever we are tackling an overgrown lawn to bring it back into an orderly state.
Mowing An Overgrown Lawn Safely
If we are going to begin to mow our yards more frequently from now on, then the absolute best solution for us in managing an overgrown grass is to slowly reduce lawn mowing heights over time. Not taking too much leaf material off in the first lawn mowing, and then perhaps slowly reducing lawn mowing heights at every third service, until slowly we get our lawns back to their optimal mowing heights.
This method is the safest of all, and while it does take some time to bring our lawns back to their best appearance, it will never risk damaging the turf. What is happening in this process is two-fold: firstly we are never removing these crowns while lawn mowing, so the grass doesn’t die off; secondly, as the turf is slowly being lowered over time, the turf will adjust itself to this new growing environment by continuously growing all its new crowns at the lower heights that we have introduced. Slowly, over time, we have safely lowered the lawn height and safely trained the lawn to grow all new crowns lower and closer to the soil level where they belong.
Mowing An Overgrown Lawn in A Single Lawn Mowing
As already discussed, this will be safer to do with a warm season lawn than with a cool season lawn, so the risk and results of this remain with the lawn owner or whomever is mowing the overgrown lawn.
If this is a single lawn mowing meant to quickly tidy up an overgrown lawn, then it would also be expected that we would not want to kill the lawn in the process. Therefore, the best method of mowing an overgrown lawn which is not going to be regularly mowed thereafter would be to mow the lawn at the highest height possible which is acceptable to the lawn owner.
By mowing at this higher height, we are doing our absolute best not to be damaging or removing too many grass crowns during the lawn mowing process, therefore this will give us our best result to maintain a lawn which remains alive and in the best possible health after this lawn mowing. While the lawn will not look at its best, it is the safest viable option for us in this situation and to ensure the ongoing survival of the lawn.
Final Notes About Mowing Long Grass
There are often hidden obstacles in long overgrown grass, this could be anything from rocks, toys, glass, tools, or any manner of things. Such objects could become dangerous if hit with lawn mower blades, creating a projectile which risks damage to people or property. Therefore, all long grass areas should be carefully checked prior to any lawn mowing taking place.
Finally, whenever we remove a lot of grass leaf material with a single mowing, we are going to be cutting into the brown thatch layer of the turf, and the longer the lawn becomes, so too will the thatch layer increase in height also. Therefore, we should expect a browning off on the grass wherever a lot of green leaf has been removed at once. If the lawn is properly watered and cared for after the lawn mowing, this thatch layer should decrease over a brief period and new green leaf grown by the lawn.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Roger_Everett/2289727

April 12, 2021 0 Comments

Athletic Fields: Natural Grass or Synthetic?

Consideration to switch an athletic facility from natural grass to synthetic grass usually boils down to a common goal; less maintenance so it is cost effective. There is an assumption that the man hours and maintenance costs are significantly in favor of synthetic. It is also often assumed that when a field is seeing a lot of use, specifically areas that are considered high traffic for your venue, it can create areas that, especially toward the end of your season, may have a playability impact and require significant maintenance. But is synthetic truly better?

A properly built and maintained natural grass field will still perform even in the areas that appear to be becoming worn. Do not confuse appearance with playability! If the field has been properly developed and maintained, it will continue to perform and restoring the grass in these worn areas does not take much time and effort.

With natural grass, the two most obvious areas that have a financial impact are watering and mowing. To start, many facilities, even if those that have a quality irrigation system in place, overwater their turf, especially in the Spring. This not only will affect the overall water bill, but also will weaken the roots of the grass while promoting the speed of the blade growth. The faster the blades grow, the more the turf must be cut. If the proper turfgrass is in place relative to your sport and environment, for example, a grass that has drought resistance qualities, your water bill can be significantly reduced, even during the high heat/ dry months. Add to that a proper watering schedule specific to the grass type and season, the amount of water required can be significantly reduced. Adding rain sensors to automatically shut off watering during rainy days or rainstorms is impactful on the health of your grass. Less maintenance will be required as well having a positive budgetary impact.

Fertilization programs are essential to the health of turfgrass. Choose the correct fertilizer for the type of grass and the environment. Equally as important is the timing of the applications. If early-stage fertilizer is applied before the rise ground temperature, it will negate its effectiveness. Most fertilizers require moisture following application. However, if the grass if overwatered or the application is too close to a rainstorm, the fertilizer can be washed away or pool causing more damage than benefit. Again, using the correct fertilizer, proper application timing and appropriate volume can have a positive impact on your budget.

One of the biggest advantages of natural grass is the ground-heat impact. Natural grass can absorb and dissipate heat to an extent keeping the mid-day ground temperature very close to the air temperature whereas, on a hot, sunny, low wind day, synthetic turf can elevate surface temperatures as much as 50% higher than natural turfgrass.

Another positive impact of natural turfgrass is the improvement of air quality. Turfgrass, as a green leaf plant, solicits the photosynthesis process producing oxygen while reducing carbon dioxide. Turfgrass is also a natural air and dust filtration system.

Playability may be the largest difference among the two. Potential injuries from direct impact on healthy grass has historically had an advantage over synthetic turf. Players tends to be able to gain a better grip on natural grass. Even healthy but worn, high-trafficked areas still perform extremely well. Just because the area is stressed does not mean it will have a negative impact on the game or practice.

When comparing typical maintenance costs for a well-maintained natural turfgrass field to a synthetic field (post-installation, including typical and often unsightly replacement sections but not including the additional required equipment as there is specialty equipment required), you will find the cost is negligible. However, the proven mental and physical health advantages of a turfgrass field far outweigh that of a synthetic field.

March 19, 2021 0 Comments

To Sod or to Seed

To sod or to seed is a question that has been asked for many years. There are several factors that must be considered when making this decision for your home; initial budget, size and shape of the lawn, your timeline, and the effort you are willing to put into the job.
Time & Aesthetics
Seed may be initially much less expensive, but it is labor intensive. It often requires knowledge of the seed and soil, including the soil preparation, and has little guarantee of your desired result. It often takes 6 to 12 months for seed to grow into an established lawn and up to 2 years for a newly seeded lawn to grow and fill in to a beautiful, thick lawn. Seeds can blow away in the wind, dry out or be washed away, not to mention just fail to germinate. Weeds also mix well with new seed so weed prevention and maintenance are required.

Sod looks great immediately after it is installed. It requires less soil preparation and will mitigate significantly more potential soil erosion than waiting for seed to germinate. You will often have an established, healthy lawn in about 2 weeks after the sod is installed. Young grass shoots and blades are very delicate and require proper care to mature. Sod is harvested as mature grass that has strong, healthy roots that just need to grow into your existing soil. Lawns with significant slopes are prone to soil erosion and very difficult to seed and properly water.
Value

According to several real estate sources, a well landscaped lawn can add significant value to your home. Sod can add anywhere from an additional 50% over cost to as much as five times the cost depending on the current lawn condition.

Selling

If you are selling your home, your front landscaping is the first thing that is seen. For a lawn that needs considerable attention, sod will provide an instant upgrade to your curb appeal and has proven to gain a return upon sale.

Cost
Initially, Sod and professional sod installation can get expensive, especially if you have a large lawn that needs to be covered. Although sod costs up to about $1.00 – $1.50 per square foot more than seed. You must also consider the cost of the soil preparation, post seed care, special fertilizers, and the time before you have the lawn you desire if you choose to seed your lawn.
Sod Wins

The benefits of professionally installed Sod far outweigh that of seed. The cost of seeding is much less from the start. However, once you consider the additional fertilizer and maintenance required, cost over the next 12 to 24 months is negligible. An instant, lush lawn that requires much less effort is its own reward.

March 5, 2021 0 Comments

Salicylic Acid – Turfgrass Health Activator and Disease Management

Salicylic acid is a phytohormone and a key component of a plant’s development, growth, photosynthesis, transpiration, and is a part of the natural signaling system as an integral layer in the plant’s pathogen defense mechanism, or Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR).


In lay terms, it has been discovered that plants’ internal pathways that are vital to healing and plants natural health defense system includes a vital molecule called salicylic acid, or SA. SA is a key component of the plant’s natural healing process and defense mechanism, or SAR (Systemic Acquired Resistance). To put it in simple terms: it helps defend against what could make a plant sick or stressed and helps the healing processes if an infection occurs. SA contributes to the fight of abiotic stresses like heat, cold, wind, drought, and salinity imbalances as well as foreign pathogens.

Plants can recognize pathogens and react in a manner like our immune system, releasing stored SA to the infected cells along with the adjacent cells. Plants exchange gasses (photosynthesis) through pores in the plants leaves and stems. The surrounding guard cells regulate the opening and closing, along with the size of these pores. SA will instigate and assist in the rapid closing of these pores when pathogens are recognized.


Turfgrass possesses neither the ability to recognize potential invading pathogens nor store excess SA therefore leaving it susceptible diseases due to the lack of a built-up immunity. In fact, in turfgrass, it is produced after the plant is infected to battle the disease. The artificial application of SA will assist in the instigation of SAR providing the necessary components to both suppress as well as help fight diseases more efficiently.


Stress from high traffic and low mowing heights on sand-based turfgrass will require certain nutrient supplements to strengthen the leaf tissue. SA applications on Sports turf may provide similar benefits as applying seaweed extracts to increase balance the antioxidant system of the grass. The combination of the two can greatly improve the soil nutrients while increase plant’s tolerances to internal and external stresses and promote post-infection healing.


A fungicide program is standard practice in the health and maintenance of greens. However, adding an SAR booster like a product that contains salicylic acid can significantly improve the health of your green by strengthening its pathogen defenses. The results of numerous tests also concurred that the application including SA will help in the heat stress management of Kentucky Bluegrass, Fine and Tall Fescue.


While golf course turfgrass health is one of the most significant costs involved in course management, building the immune system of your turfgrass can be a cost-efficient way of dealing with the inevitable pathogens and heat stresses – build stronger, healthier shoots and leaves that can fend off potential disease and withstand the summer heatwave, also potentially shortening the disease cycle if they do become infected.


Be certain to check the suggested SA ratio as applications differ based on the type of grass, your climate, and the products you choose as a part of your turfgrass health management program.

March 3, 2021 0 Comments

The New England Crab Grass Battle

The New England Crab Grass Battle

If you spend time on and take pride in your thick green lawn, or if you are tired of looking out over a thin, unhealthy lawn, you will agree that crab grass is a nuisance. It is aggressive and will spread rapidly if left untreated. So, what is the best course of action to make certain your lawn comes in as crab-grass free as possible this year and beyond?

First, you should understand a little about crab grass. A single crab grass plant can product up to about 150,000 seeds, therefore, they spread extremely fast. You have two opportunities to address the problem; before these seeds germinate in the Spring, and, if they do, before the plant goes to seed in the Fall. Crab grass can tolerate long periods of high heat and dry conditions, ironically when your lawn is at its weakest and in the areas adjacent to your hardscapes (driveways, walkways, stoned areas, etc.) that require special attention as they tend to emit heat and create conditions that are more favorable for crab grass growth.

Pre-emergent herbicides

Like most lawn issues, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Let us start by attacking the seeds before they germinate in the Spring.
Know your lawn. A thick, healthy sod with some shade and a few patches of crabgrass will require a much less aggressive treatment than a thin lawn that receives a heavy dose of sun throughout the day.
A thin lawn is a prime candidate for a pre-emergent treatment. Usually, a single treatment in March or early April will stop the germination of the crab grass seeds. Learning the line between a heavy treatment and too much is important to understand as well. You do not want to suppress the healthy grass seeds from their Fall germination process. The right balance will allow a lawn that needs more attention to still benefit from a good aeration and Spring seeding.

Post emergent herbicides.

If you have hot spots or are working with a thinner, less healthy law that receives uninhibited sunlight and the problem has been persistent for more than a couple of seasons, a one-step program most likely will not fix your lawn’s woes. The crab grass that does sprout will require attention as well, especially near your hardscapes and other hot spots. It is important to address these areas in July and August, You want to spray before these areas of crab grass go to seed for the Fall, with a post emergent spray.

The healthier your lawn, the less work it will require. A thick, healthy lawn can naturally make the conditions unfavorable and suppress the growth of new weeds. Specifically, during the Spring and in the early summer months, while the crab grass seeds are starting to germinate, keeping your lawn slightly longer will create stress by reducing the amount of light these weeds receive. Irrigation or healthy watering habits will keep your lawn stronger and reducing the impact of these weeds during the dry soil season. Make certain you are giving special attention to your lawn areas adjacent to your hardscapes.

*This article was written under the “Ask Tuckahoe Turf” which provides helpful suggestions or tips for the homeowner or residential lawn. If you feel your lawn is beyond repair or if you would like a beautiful, thick, and healthy lawn this season, contact Tuckahoe Turf right away! 800-556-6985 Tuckahoe Turf Farms has been growing turf for the professional for over 40 years!

February 18, 2021 0 Comments

Will the Mild Fall and Accumulating Snow Cause Snow Mold This Spring?

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Will the Mild Fall and Accumulating Snow Cause Snow Mold This Spring?

As we are all aware, we have had frequent and a heavy snowfall this winter. We also had a mild late fall that ran right into our first snowstorm of the season. This combination could be a recipe for snow mold this Spring.
The amount of snow does not generally have a negative impact on our lawns. In fact, a frozen ground and the snow works as an insulating blanket that protects the below-ground living turf grass cells. However, if the ground has not completely frozen when the first snow falls, the moisture in the ground is trapped by the blanket of snow keeping the ground moist and humid. Continued snow covering works as an insulator to keep the unfrozen ground conditions consistent throughout the winter and protects it from the freezing cold air. This allows the formation and thriving of fungal diseases known as snow mold.
There are two types of snow mold: Gray Snow Mold and Pink Mold. They will present in patches of apparent dead grass ranging diameter from a couple of inches to a couple of feet.
Gray snow mold has a straw or gray color. It is far less threatening to your lawn than Pink snow mold as it only kills the blades, not the roots. Gray mold generally survives until temperatures are consistently above about 45 degrees. Then the mold dies off and new grass shoots will generally start to grow again.
Pink snow mold appears red, brown, copper or pink among the dead grass. Pink snow mold can cause severe damage to your grass’ roots, killing your turf and typically survives until temperatures raise consistently above 60 degrees.

Treatment

To start, you must remember that snow mold is a fungus and requires moisture to survive. The first step in treatment is to simply give the area a good dethatching with a rake to remove all the dead grass and any leaves that may remain from the previous fall (thatch and leaves trap moisture in the ground helping the fungus to thrive). This will allow sunlight and wind access to the affected area so it may properly dry and giving the living grass the room it needs to grow.
Mow the affected and surrounding areas shorter than usual to aid in the drying process, and shortening the lifespan of the mold, keeping the grass very short until you see growth. Make sure you rake the area thoroughly after each mow to keep the affected area as clean as possible allowing it too efficiently dry.
If your lawn has the Pink snow mold, the mold is significant or your turf just is not returning, you will most likely need to reseed (or even overseed in the late Spring). If snow mold has been a recurring issue to this point, you may want to consider Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue as they seem to be the most resistant to the fungi. Remember not to fertilize or mow the areas you have seeded until the new grass is growing strong.

Prevention

There are several things you can do to prevent the breeding of snow mold.

  • Removal of loose grass. This includes gathering of clippings, especially late in the summer and into the fall. Dethatching as needed will allow your lawn to grow stronger in the summer months and allow the ground to dry faster before the first snowfall.
  • Keep the grass short and do not overwater in the Fall. Continue to mow your lawn, shorter than usual, if the grass continues to grow, until becoming dormant for the winter. Mold is more likely to form under longer, matted grass.
  • Remove leaves before the first snow. It is extremely important to remove as many of the leaves from the turf as possible. Leaves are a fantastic moisture barrier for your lawn and one of the best ingredients for mold growth.
  • Fertilize at the right time. Fertilizing your lawn too close to the first snow will promote the late growth of your green grass when it should be dormant in preparation for the winter. Try to apply your last lawn fertilization at least six weeks prior to the first expected snowfall.
  • Apply a fungicide if the problem is recurring. Although this is not recommended for home lawns, if you get mold rings every Spring, you may need to apply a fungicide late in the Fall to stunt the growth of the mold. In these extreme cases, a professional fungicide application is recommended.
  • Spread your snow. When shoveling walkways and driveways, try not to make piles too large on your lawn. When there are snow accumulations later in the winter that led right into warmer early Spring weather, the snowbanks from plows, driveway and walkway shoveling take longer to melt. The longer these areas are covered, the more chance there is of developing mold. As the snow is melting, it is a good idea to help break down these remaining piles and spread them out to promote quicker melting.
  • December 30, 2020 0 Comments

    Winter play in a time of heavy play

    More golf during COVID-19 means more activity than usual on colder days. Learn how a few cool-weather veterans are handling the situation.
    Many golf facilities experienced a surge in play this season. That trend has continued with the approach of the holiday season and the end of 2020.

    But the increase in play has potential consequences for the turf, particularly in northern latitudes where superintendents must balance concern for the health of the turf against employer/member desire to accommodate as many rounds as possible.

    Dave Oatis spent two decades overseeing the USGA Green Section’s Northeast Region before retiring in 2019. He’s now a turf consultant, who worked with around 60 golf facilities this past year. He notes that while increased cold-weather play puts turf at risk, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought out more golfers.

    “We can socially distance and play quite nicely,” he says, “so most of the facilities I’ve worked with this year have experienced a significant increase in play. On average, I think it’s around 30 percent, some definitely lower, some considerably more. Some literally doubled the number of rounds they have in the past.”

    Oatis says one of his chief turf-related concerns is increased cart traffic. “Some golfers are insisting on taking their own golf cart, which is certainly their right,” he adds. “So when you see a foursome go out with four carts, that’s double normal traffic. There is significant concern for the effects of extra traffic on turf.”

    Oatis, who is based near Bethlehem in eastern Pennsylvania, also recommends that superintendents utilize temporary greens and tees in the winter.

    Russell Harris is the director of maintenance operations for three public facilities in Union County, New Jersey, a little over a half-hour west of midtown Manhattan.

    The county’s crown jewel is Galloping Hill, which regularly hosts more than 60,000 rounds each year. Harris is also responsible for Ash Brook, an 18-hole facility, and Scotch Plains, a 9-holer. Between them, the three courses regularly host more than 100,000 annual rounds. The total for 2020 will likely be within 5,000 rounds of that, despite the courses being closed for seven weeks in the spring and having to restrict tee times for an additional three weeks. The three course are open year-round, unless they are snow covered.

    “We tend to stay fairly busy throughout the winter,” Harris says. “We’re surrounded by a bunch of higher-end (private clubs) that probably close down for the winter. So, we do we some steady play even in normal winters.”

    And heading into December, when the weather was still mild, Harris was busier than ever. He told Golf Course Industry that revenue in November of 2020 was double what it was for November of 2019. From a maintenance standpoint, Harris’s chief concerns during the winter months are divots on the tee boxes and cart traffic.

    “We tend to go cart-path only usually from December 1 through the whole winter,” he says. “We also limit our teeing grounds, we go from four sets of tees to two. And they’re usually kept in the same spots all winter. It’s easier to come out in the spring and fix (divots).”

    Harris and his team continue to topdress tees and greens through the winter when conditions allow. When he spoke with Golf Course Industry, he had recently completed his last chemical application for the year (for winter snow mold).

    Because of the volume of play, Harris’s seasonal staff was still on duty as the calendar turned to the winter season. His in-season workforce numbers approximately 20. During the winter months, it is customary for a full-time staff of a dozen to remain on duty to maintain all three courses in the county system. But things are different this season.

    “The weather for the most part has been pretty good, so we’re still trying to out and change tees and move pins when we can, and rake bunkers,” Harris says. “We’re still booked from morning until the afternoon. We definitely have kept staff on longer.

    The Union County courses are managed by Kemper Sports, which Harris credits for providing him with the resources necessary to maintain the golf courses year-round.

    “They understand how differently their courses across the country need to operate,” he says. “From a budgetary standpoint, and trying to keep our staff, knowing we have to maintain the golf course. They allow us to operate and stay open.”

    Dan Francis is the superintendent at Wildwood Golf Club, a private facility in Middletown Ohio, about a half-hour north of Cincinnati. The club typically hosts 11,000 to 12,000 rounds each year. This year that figure was expected to be around 13,000 rounds, in part because of mild fall weather.

    One of Francis’s chief concerns is frost. The golf course is open through the winter on days when the temperature exceeds 38 degrees. But frost delays are not uncommon. Francis’s reference point is Wildwood’s second green, which is often in shade

    “Standing at my clubhouse, looking at the putting green, you might not see any frost,” he says, “but No. 2 green is covered in shade and will be frosted for a very long time, so that will extend our frost delay perhaps another 30 minutes to an hour.”

    On days when delays occur, the club will offer breakfast in the clubhouse until the frost dissipates. Members are understanding about the need for frost delays. “They trust my decision,” Francis.

    Trust works both ways at the club. On winter mornings when frost is a possibility, a member of the club staff will often drive out to the second green to determine if play should be delayed, and, perhaps, allow Francis extra time at home with his family.

    *This article was shared from: Golfcourseindustry.com written by: Rick Woefel, Philadelphia-based writer and frequent Golf Course Industry Contributor.