May 2012 Newsletter (vol.7)   >>   Keeping Up with the Joneses

House with landscaping

 

Are you trying to keep up with the Joneses for that picture perfect lawn? Lawn care can be an overwhelming, time consuming, and expensive project, especially since everyone recommends completely different programs and cultural practices.  So, for the average homeowner that wants to tackle it without having a horticulture degree and without breaking the bank, Hummert prescribes an easy to follow Dyna-Green progra

 

Warm Season vs. Cool Season Turfgrass

 

Maintenance programs will vary whether you have a warm season or cool season lawn. Warm season turfgrasses thrive in warmer months and go dormant in the winter months turning golden straw. Zoysia, Bermuda, and Buffalo grass are a few of the most common warm season grasses. They are late to rise in the spring and early to go dormant in the fall, but they do great in low irrigated, warm scenarios. Cool season turfgrasses include Bluegrass, Fescue, Ryegrass, and Bentgrass. These varieties are active most of the year depending upon the weather, but do prefer the cooler spring and fall seasons. They fail to thrive in the heat of the summer without supplemental irrigation. Be sure to identify which type of turfgrass you have to provide the best maintenance program.

 

Mowing

  • Maintain higher mower heights (3-4”), especially for cool season turf grasses. This will encourage greater root growth and more competition against weeds.
  • If you like shorter mowing heights, it is at least recommended to raise mowing heights prior to periods of stress. This is most beneficial for warm season grasses in September to help with winter hardening off (get the turfgrass prepared for winter).
  • Never mow more than 1/3 to ½ of the leaf blade at one time. If you miss a mowing due to rain or vacation slowly work your way back down to your preferred mowing height.
  • Keep mower blades sharp to avoid tearing of the blades which can result in unattractive browning, additional stress, and an increased potential for disease.
  • Preferred mowing heights:
    • Kentucky Bluegrass 5/8-3”
    • Tall Fescue 1-4” (2-4”is optimum)
    • Perennial Rye ½-3”
    • Zoysiagrass ½-2”
    • Bermudagrass 1-1-1/2”
  • Always try to recycle the clippings, don’t bag them. Recycling them can return some nutrients such as nitrogen and potassium back to the soil.

 

Water Management

  • The best time to irrigate is early in the morning between 4-8am. This knocks the dew off of the leaf blades and decreases the likelihood of fungal growth and infection.
  • Only irrigate to the point that the soil can absorb. Avoid puddles and runoff because you are just wasting water that the soil is not able to use.

 

Nutrients (N-P-K)

  • Optimum pH 6-7
  • Nitrogen (N): creates a quick green up.
    • If deficient you’ll see yellowing in the blades.
    • Reconsider late fall applications if weeds are a problem to help avoid annual weeds, especially on warm season turfgrasses.
    • In spring, use a fast release for quick green up to awaken cool season turfgrasses. Be careful not to wake up warm season turfgrasses to early to prevent any late frost damage.
  • Phosphorous (P): required for good seedling growth and development, and also root formation.
    • If deficient you’ll notice a purple color to the leaf blades.
  • Potassium (K): stress element.
    • Enhances root growth, improves heat tolerance, drought tolerance, cold tolerance, and enhances disease resistance.
    • If deficient you’ll see yellowing, leaf tip burn, and/or leaf scorch.

 

Fertilizers

  • Quick release: Nitrogen is taken up by the turf immediately. Examples would be urea 46-0-0, ammonium nitrate 33-0-0, ammonium sulfate 22-0-0
  • Advantages are it is inexpensive and provides quick greening.
  • Disadvantages is it creates peak & valley feeding in spring and early summer, it has shorter residual (4-6 wks), and you have a greater potential for burn and leaching.
  • Slow release: Nitrogen is slowly soluble over time which is determined by the amount of water, the soil temperature, and microbial activity. Higher temperatures increase the release time. Examples would be urea formaldehyde, methylene urea’s, sulfur-coated urea’s (SCU), poly coated urea (PCU), and isobutylidene diurea (IBDU).
    • Advantages are that it is long lasting, it prevents peak and valley feeding, there is almost no burn or leaching, it requires reduced numbers of applications, and there is no need to water in after application.
    • Disadvantages are it is more expensive than quick release and the turfgrasses initial response is slow especially in early spring and late fall when there are lower temperatures.

 

Species March April May June July August September October November December
Cool Season KYBG/Fescue Dyna-Green Crabgrass Preventer Dyna-Green Spring W&F Dyna-Green Long Lasting July: treat for grubs with Dyna-Green Grub  Control Dyna-Green Fall Starterwhether seeding or not to get phosphorus   Dyna-Green Winterizer orDyna-Green Winterizer with Surge (releases in lower temperatures than the crabgrass preventer)
 
 
Warm Season Zoysia/Bermuda Dyna-Green
Crabgrass Preventer
Proclipse(pre-emergent herbicide)
Dyna-Green
Crabgrass Preventer

or Dyna-Green Spring W&F
Dyna-Green Long Lasting July: treat for grubs with Dyna-Green Grub Control Dyna-Green Winterizer   Dyna-Green Crabgrass Preventer