Spring lawn care

Published on Saturday, 19 April 2014 23:33 - Written by Chad Gulley Extension Agent

For many homeowners, the lawn can add a certain aesthetic appeal. In East Texas common warm season turf grass varieties include Bermuda grass, centipede, St. Augustine, and zoysia grass. Having a nice green lawn is an investment and requires maintenance to keep that lawn looking its best.

St. Augustine grass is a popular warm-season turf grass species for many home lawns. St. Augustine grass is a medium to dark green and course, textured grass. It has a low, dense growth habit. It grows well in nearly all soil types. St. Augustine grass is the most shade tolerant warm-season turf grass.

Throughout March and May, routine mowing at the proper height can produce a higher quality turf grass. Fertilize St. Augustine three weeks after the grass turns green and when there is little threat of a late frost. A soil test is important to make sure you are meeting the grass’s nutrient needs. Common turf grass blends include a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

For most lawns, apply 1 pound of soluble nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn every eight weeks or 1.5 pounds of slow-release nitrogen every 10 weeks. To determine the amount of fertilizer needed to equal 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, divide 100 by the first number in the fertilizer analysis. For example, using a 21-7-14 fertilizer, 100 divided by 21 equals 4.8 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

To keep your lawn healthy, water only when the grass needs it. When watering, wet the soil to a depth of 6 inches. Then don’t water again until the grass shows signs of needing water or every five to 10 days, depending on the weather. This helps make the grass’s roots grow deeper thus creating a strong root system for our grass species. Overwatering leads to disease issues and a weaker root system as all the roots will be in the upper 2 inches to 3 inches of the soil.

Weed control is important as weeds can rob our grass species of nutrients, sunlight and water. The best weed control is a dense, healthy, actively growing lawn. Mowing, hand removal or even chemical control of weeds may be necessary at times. If herbicides are needed, be sure to read and follow all label recommendations. St. Augustine grass can be sensitive to a number of herbicides so make sure the product used is labeled for use on St. Augustine.

It is important to monitor the lawn regularly for insects, disease or other issues. If you suspect you have an issue with your turf grass, proper identification of the issue provides the best plan for management of the issue. Sometimes issues in our turf grass are there because of error on our part. Overwatering can create an environment for disease to take hold in our lawn.

Again, the home lawn is an investment and requires maintenance to keep the lawn healthy. Management of the turf grass is important whether you have an established lawn or you are putting in a new lawn.

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