19 Oct

Turf Tips for the Charlotte Area (READ MORE)

  • Posted by Paul Mullen

As summer draws to a close, it’s time to consider what needs to be done to keep your grass looking its best. Curb appeal is so important in the look of a house and community. Along those lines, here are a few tips to keep your turf in tip-top condition:

  1. When is the best time to renovate my lawn?Late summer to early fall is the best time to renovate cool-season lawns. Warm-season lawns are best renovated in late spring to early summer. Attempts to upgrade existing lawns when conditions are not conducive to good growth are difficult at best.
  2. Why does my lawn start out looking great, but by the middle of summer, seems to look spotty?During the summer, when temperatures reach over 90 degrees, fescue starts to go dormant and stress. This is a defense mechanism and is to be expected with cool season turf in our area. Its optimal growing season is September to May.
  3. What does aeration do?Your soil needs to breathe. We aerate the soil to relieve compaction and to allow all three of the important elements to get to the root zone: water, nutrients, and air.
  4. Should I over-seed at the same time as I aerate?They are both fall activities for fescue, independent of each other. We try to do them around the same time because the aeration increases the soil’s water holding capabilities to ensure proper germination.

  5. Should I overseed every year?
    Yes and No. Thin areas should be over-seeded every year. Lush, healthy areas benefit from aeration and fertilization only.

  6. What is the difference between aeration and aerovation?A core aerator is a machine that pulls plugs of dirt out of the soil. An aerovator is a tractor mounted machine that shakes and shatters the top 3 to 4 inches of soil.  Both are effective, but where the landscape allows, we prefer to use the aerovator as the plugs left by the core aerator will be messy and shaking the soil provides a more uniform loosening effect than plugs.  Because the aerovator is tractor mounted, it is limited to large, open areas as you need room to maneuver the tractor. For smaller areas or fenced areas, we use the smaller core aerator.  Either device will relieve the soil compaction, which with our hard, clay soil is essential for good seed germination.

  7. Does soil PH matter?
    Yes. Soil PH is a tremendous factor for the health of your turf. The soil in the Carolina piedmont region is naturally acidic. It is too acidic to grow healthy turf. Acidic soil inhibits the uptake of nutrients and nutrients will go unused. (i.e. You are not getting the most out of your fertilizer application.)

  8. Do water restrictions affect aeration?
    No. The heavy soil of the Carolina piedmont region needs to have the compaction relieved after every hot, punishing summer season. In our area, we’ve had sufficient rainfall this summer, so not many counties are under restrictions. Union County has a restricted irrigation schedule for 2012, though. You can find it online at: http://www.co.union.nc.us/Portals/0/PublicWorks/Documents/WaterConservation/Irrigation%20Schedule%20by%20Subdiv%20Eff%2001%2029%202009.pdf

  9. When should I water?Ideally, you will water your lawn during the hours that the lawn is wet from dew. Having your turf wet for more than 12 hours in a 24 hour period during the hot summer months will increase the likelihood of disease.

  10. What about weeds?
    Turf weeds are usually broken down into two distinct groups: “broadleaf” and “grassy weeds”.
  • Grassy weeds are grasses other than the desired cultivore. Examples would be: crabgrass, nutsedge, goose grass, and dallisgrass to name a few in our area. These take specially tailored programs usually carried out in the summer months.

  • Broadleaf weeds are not grasses. They are usually winter annuals and summer perennial weeds. Examples are: dandelions, henbit, clover, and chickweed. These are controlled during our late winter and spring turf applications.

With a little love and attention, you can keep your turf lush and green.

The AA Tex Lawn Team

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