Installation: Installation of turfgrass should be done within 24 hours of delivery.
Once the appropriate turfgrass species has been selected and planted, maintenance practices focus on keeping high quality turfgrass healthy and beautiful.
These maintenance practices include irrigation, fertilization, mowing, pest management.
Irrigation amount is ideally based on evapotranspiration (ET) information from a nearby weather station. For people without ET information, turfgrass is typically irrigated 2 to 3 times per week with 0.5 to 0.75 inch each during the peak growing season (April to September). a soil probe is a very useful tool in irrigation management. The depth of soil moisture can easily be measured with this tool and irrigation scheduling adjusted accordingly.
The amount of fertilizer required for turfgrass depends on the turfgrass species being grown and soil type. Yearly soil testing for determining soil pH and nutrient levels are necessary. If needed, incorporate phosphorous and liming material prior to planting since they are slowly soluble. Phosphorous is most often applied as Super Phosphate (0-18-0) or Triple Super Phosphate (0-45-0). Phosphorous promotes turfgrass rooting. Landscapers commonly use one fertilizer containing both nitrogen and phosphorous such as 13-13-13. The optimum soil pH for Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine is 6.0 to 6.5. Following the first mowing, apply fertilizer at a rate of 40 to 45 lb of actual nitrogen (units) per acre. If a soil test is not available, a fertilizer with a nitrogen:potassium ratio of 2:1 should be used to increase the turf’s stress tolerance level and promote better rooting. Continue fertilizing every 4 weeks at a rate of 45 lb of actual nitrogen (units) per acre.
Whereas irrigation is the first priority, mowing is perhaps the second most important turfgrass maintenance practice. Mowing helps promote top growth, encourages lateral growth and controls many undesirable weeds which are intolerant to close mowing. Bermuda and Zoysia are typically mowed every 3 days at 1 to 1.5 inch mowing height while St. Augustine is mowed once every 7 to 10 days at 1.5 to 3.0 inches.
The most persistent and troublesome weed in all southern states is common bermudagrass. Common bermudagrass seed are also widespread and easily dispersed. Weeds can be introduced in many ways. Soil introduced during soil preparation, birds, wind, soil erosion and man also spread weed seeds. The use of non-selective herbicide such as glyphosate (Roundup Pro) is required on weed infested soil before planting. After the turfgrass is well rooted, weed management involves proper mowing, and use of herbicides.
Insects pests are generally grouped into three categories: shoot feeding, root feeding or burrowing. Each poses different insecticide choices, timing and placement strategies for optimum controls. southern chinch bugs, spittlebugs, grass scales, and bermudagrass mites are shoot feeding insects which suck plant juices. Damage is apparent as yellowish to brown patches in turfgrass and appears first on turf under moisture and/ or heat stress. Root-feeding and burrowing insects include mole crickets, white grubs, and billbugs. Other insect pests which disrupt the sod surface or are nuisance to man include ants, fleas and ticks. Check with your state turfgrass entomologist and state regulatory agency for the latest insect control strategies.
Disease development requires three simultaneous conditions: a virulent pathogen, a susceptible turfgrass, and favorable environmental conditions.
Environmental conditions which favor incidence of most turfgrass disease include periods of high humidity, rain, heavy dews, fogs, and warm temperatures (but not always). Ideally, irrigate in the early morning to minimize the time in which turfgrass remains moist. Do not over fertilize with nitrogen if a disease problem is suspected, prepare a sample for laboratory diagnosis.
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