The days are getting shorter, and the temperatures are getting cooler – fall has officially arrived! You know what that means…yep, it’s TURF TIME! Fall is known as the season to plant, but it is also the ideal time to make sure your turf gets some much needed TLC before it gets ready to take that long winter’s nap. Being a budget conscious person, you may be thinking winter is right around the corner and everything will be dormant so why spend money on my turf now? Well, glad you asked! If you want to guarantee your turf is the star of the Spring landscape, well timed fall turf services are key.
WHAT CAUSES TURF TO DECLINE?
Over time, turf falls victim to a number of environmental factors causing it to loose vigor, density, color, and overall health. Some of the most common things that steal the life from your turf are:
- pH – soil pH that is too low or too high can make nutrients unavailable to turf roots essentially starving the turf
- Compacted Soil – compacted soils do not allow optimum balance between air, water, and nutrients, all of which are needed for healthy turf
- Lack of Fertilizer – improper nutrient balance can result in underdeveloped roots or poor leaf color
- Humans and Pets – foot traffic and pet urine damage turf
- Weeds – aggressive weeds like Crabgrass can take over weak turf or thin areas eventually choking out desirable turf
WHAT IS A TURF PROGRAM?
A turf program is a consistently performed series of fertilization, insect and disease treatments, aeration, overseeding, and pH adjustments that provides optimal growing conditions for a strong, healthy turf stand capable of surviving drought and fending off weed infestations. A program is different from individual turf renovation efforts in that it is done year round and the goal is to maintain turf health as opposed to restoring turf or nursing turf back to health.
TURNING THE TABLES ON TERRIBLE TURF
Pass the Test – We need to know what we are working with and a soil test will tell the story. Are there plenty of nutrients but an out of balance pH? Is pH perfect but the soil has nothing to offer? Soil tests will tell the whole story AND provide a solution.
Breath Some Air Into It – Aeration is the process of using a piece of equipment to remove “plugs” of soil throughout the entire turf area creating small tunnels leading to the turf root zone. Water, nutrients, and oxygen enter these tunnels and are optimally absorbed and used by hungry turf roots. Aeration can be performed in the spring; however, there is a school of thought that says aeration at that time can increase the prevalence of crab grass and other warm season weeds. If you have been plagued by crabgrass in the past, it’s worth a discussion with your landscape provider to make sure you reap the most benefit from this service.
Feed It – There are countless fertilizer formulations that are suitable to be used on existing turf. Each will have some combination three main of ingredients – nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), but it is easy to apply too little or too much fertilizer so go back to that soil test and follow the recommendations.
Now Seed It – The most prominent grass seed in most commercial grass seed mixes is Fescue, which is known as a bunch grass. Bunch grasses have several blades that grow from one single seed. While the “bunch” may grow more full, it never spreads. That’s why bare areas tend to stick around and thinning turf never fills in on its own. Seeding these areas will reestablish turf where none exists now, and adding seed to areas established areas ensures that spring will bring a lush, thick stand of turf that you can’t wait to get your feet into.
If troubled turf is detracting from your curb appeal, talk to your landscape professional about a program that will reinvigorate and revitalize your property’s lawn. There is no better time to start a turf program than Fall.
Contact us for more information on a Turf Care Program for your commercial property.