TURF TALK

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Summer Management for Cool-Season Grass (Fescue)

Maintaining cool-season turf grass during the summer season is very difficult due to high temperatures, high humidity and periods of drought.  These conditions can increase the risk of summer diseases and can affect the overall appearance of your turf.  The ideal temperature for successful cool-season grass is 80° and the perfect amount of rainfall rarely, if ever, occurs.  In 33 years of turf management, we have never witnessed this.  However, if you follow these general rules, you can help keep your turf in top condition:

  1.  Too much water is worse than not enough!
  2.  Water plants deeper and less frequently.  Try to water when drought conditions are present, and water once or twice per week at most.
  3.  Keep the mower’s cutting height at 3.5″ and keep the blades sharp.
  4.  One inch of water, whether from rain, hand watering, or irrigation, is required for turf vigor/health.
  5.  Do not fertilize until August or early September, when it is time for fall seeding and core aeration.

When in doubt, refer to rule #1.  DO NOT OVER-WATER.  Over-watering will bring on dreaded summer diseases such as Brown Patch, which will turn a nice lush turf area into a lawn with dead spots that are ugly and a nightmare to correct.

Summer Management for Warm-Season Grass (Zoysia)

Fertilize Bermuda grass during the summer months to maximize the growth and performance of the grass.  Follow these general rules to help keep your turf in top condition:

  1.  Lightly fertilize Zoysia twice during the summer months.
  2. Water at frequent intervals as drought conditions appear in the turf.  Apply about one inch of water, whether from rain, hand watering, or irrigation, for turf vigor/health.
  3.  Do not fertilize late in August, as the newly-forged top growth will not fare well in the cool fall temperatures.

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