Our turfgrass tips include general care and maintenance needed for popular turfgrass types in the Mid-South. Click on your grass type below to find tips for specific mowing, watering and seasonal suggestions.
Helpful Hints on Mowing
Mowing properly is just as important as watering and fertilizing. Proper mowing practices can greatly enhance your turf, help with the density, texture, and color as well as root development of your lawn.
Your mowing schedule should be based on the growth rate of the grass, not on the calendar. To keep your lawn looking its best, remove no more than one third of the grass blade at a time. Mowing on a 5-day schedule will reduce the need for bagging or raking and help your lawn retain its color.
It is recommended to change direction with each mowing.
The single most important requirement for proper mowing is making sure your mower blade is sharp. Sharpen your mower blade once each month. You’ll really notice the difference.
Bagging is not recommended because you are throwing away valuable nitrogen in the grass clippings. If you mow on a proper schedule and at proper heights, bagging should not be necessary. If your lawn has balanced nutrients and the proper pH, thatch buildup should not occur in most lawns, although some thatch buildup could occur in zoysia lawns.
Helpful Hints on Watering
Generally, we are receiving enough rain this time of the year to take care of any watering that is necessary, but if it does not rain within one week after your application is done, your lawn will need to be watered.
Should it not rain, you will need to water your lawn within one week after your application is done. Water infrequently but deeply. The water needs to soak 4-6 inches into the ground to encourage a deep root system. Too much water can cause problems, such as increasing the chance of fungus, or run off and leaching of nutrients. Morning to midday is the best time to water.
Your lawn should receive roughly 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week during the hottest, driest months. Deep watering to a soil depth of at least six inches is recommended. Light watering is of little benefit and can actually harm your lawn.
Your lawn needs water during the winter months for the roots to remain healthy. Adequate watering will protect the roots from drying out and damaging the grass during a hard freeze (which is known as “winter kill”). Your lawn will need water if it has not rained in two or three weeks.
Taking good care of your Bermudagrass is worth the effort and does not require long hours. A lawn that is properly mowed, fertilized and watered has far fewer problems with weeds, diseases and insects. A well-kept lawn also remains dense and attractive, providing more enjoyment with environmental benefits.
Herbi-Systems suggests a mowing height of 1.5 to 2 inches through the growing season. Slow growth equals less mowing. Mow regularly with a sharp rotary or reel mower, allowing the clippings from frequent mowing to remain on the lawn. Leave the grass taller in fall and winter so that the dormant blade will act as a protective blanket during the coldest months. We recommend the following heights for fall and winter:
3.0 to 3.5 inches
2.5 to 3.0 inches
Watering Bermudagrass is not as imperative as watering other grasses. Bermudagrasses love the sunlight and are fairly drought resistant. Watering is more important after dry fertilizer has been applied. The granular pellets will need to be watered down into the soil for best results. As a basic rule, we recommend watering once a week during the growing season.
Seeding or Sodding Bermuda
Bermudagrass can either be seeded or sodded in the spring. Many factors can hinder the germination of seed and can take longer to establish than sod. Within one growing season, however, it should be fully established. Herbi-Systems seeds and sods Bermudagrass in April. Call the office for a free manager inspection and price quote.
Interesting Bermuda Facts
Bermudagrass is considered the “South’s Grass,” a favorite in texture and color for all areas of usage. The downside to Bermudagrass is the aggressive quality that also makes it so popular. Flowerbeds or other adjacent areas can be overrun if not kept in check by constant edging or applications of herbicides. Known as one of the most persistent and aggressive grasses grown, it is very hard to kill after establishment. Bermudagrass is one of the grasses that can “return from the dead” if not completely killed the first time due to its extensive root system. Just digging it up without getting rid of the roots will not solve the problem.
Zoysiagrass is a popular turfgrass choice in the South for many reasons. Its slow growing aspect makes zoysia easy to maintain while providing needed shade resistance.
Spring is the time to buzz cut your zoysia yard. Mow your lawn as low as the mower will permit and remove the trimmings. This action will allow the sun to warm the ground and encourages a green lawn in a shorter amount of time. We then recommended a mowing height for zoysiagrass of 1.5 to 2 inches. Periodically mowing in a different direction may be needed to control thatch accumulation.
Watering your zoysia lawn is similar to watering a Bermudagrass lawn. We recommend at least 1 to 1.5 inches of water for a deep soaking every four to seven days. Deep watering encourages a deep, healthy root system during dry or hot periods. Avoid frequent, shallow watering that results in underdeveloped roots, permitting weed germination and growth. Always water zoysiagrass thoroughly after fertilization.
Seeding or Sodding Zoysia
Varieties of zoysiagrass have different textures ranging from coarse to fine. Newer varieties can now be planted from seed, which in the past were only propagated through sod, sprigs and plugs. Lawns planted with sprigs or plugs may take up to two years to fully develop into the thick density that a zoysiagrass lawn is capable of producing. Zoysiagrass sodded lawns will be quicker to establish than sprigs or plugs and under ideal conditions can be established in five months. After zoysiagrass becomes established, the aggressive, dense growth will crowd out weeds and other grasses. In the South, zoysiagrass has good shade tolerance, making it well-suited for areas with at least six hours of sun. Herbi-Systems generally sods zoysiagrass in April.
Interesting Zoysia Facts
The growth pattern of the zoysia leaves makes it suited for higher traffic locations but is sometimes uncomfortable for bare feet. Zoysiagrass withstands heavy usage after full establishment. High density sodding makes zoysiagrass well-suited for use on lawns during summer growth months. Zoysiagrass grass can form thatch but doesn’t attract as much disease and insect damage as some of the other warm season grasses. It has good drought resistance once established and becomes a dense, thick turf that crowds out weeds after several mowings. With the first cold snap, it will go dormant, turning golden brown. Zoysiagrass makes one of the most beautiful, carpeted lawns when fully established.
Fescuegrass is a popular choice to remedy lawn shade problems. As a cool season grass, it has a completely different maintenance plan from Bermudagrass or Zoysiagrass.
Fescue grass should be mowed to a height of about 4 inches. This particular grass will continue to grow throughout the fall and winter and should remain green.
Watering your fescue grass is very important for longevity. As a general rule, fescue grass needs to be watered at least two times a week. In the hotter months, you will need to water more frequently. Fescue grass can enter summer dormancy if no water is available. If you have recently seeded fescue grass, you will need to water it two times daily until the seeds germinate.
Seeding or Sodding Fescue
Fescuegrass seeding is usually scheduled in September and October. It is not advisable to seed fescue grass in the spring. Being a cool season grass, the fescue would struggle to survive a hot summer. You may over-seed areas in early spring, but it is more cost effective to seed in the fall. Fescue sod also is available for immediate results. Herbi-Systems recommends reseeding thin or bare areas each year. Call our office for a free manager inspection and price quote for fescue seeding. Although fescuegrass is shade tolerant, it still needs at least four to six hours of sunlight to survive. Fescuegrass could possibly become heat stressed or drought stricken in full sun (seven to 12 hours). Also, fescuegrass does not grow well under building shade.
Interesting Fescue Facts
Fescuegrass does not repair itself easily or spread on its own. Weeds will need to be controlled with completely different products, as compared to Bermudagrass or Zoysiagrass, to protect it from damage. Also, fescuegrass needs to be fertilized at different times of the year. Herbi-Systems has developed an Exclusive Fescue Program to maintain the health and appearance of your fescuegrass. Call or email us for more details.