Ch. 12, pp. 26 - 28
new lawn |
renovating | mowing |
| dethatching |
A lawn of less than satisfactory appearance, but fair
condition, may be renovated without having to be completely
rebuilt. Advantages of renovation include less expense and mess,
since minimum tilling of the soil is required. The lawn will be
able to take light traffic during the renovation period. Some
conditions reduce the chances of successful renovation. If a lawn
is extremely compacted, has an extreme pH condition, very low soil
phosphorus availability, an unacceptable irrigation system,
minimal turf at the expense of weeds, or the grade is very uneven,
complete re-establishment by killing the existing grass with
glyphosate, (RoundUp) may be required.
Determine Cause of Poor Quality
Lawns usually require renovation because of one or more of the
following reasons; poor sprinkler uniformity, poor fertilization
practices, inadequate drainage, excessive traffic, poor selection
of grass variety, weed invasion, compaction, drought, insect or
disease damage, or excessive shade. Have the soil tested to
determine fertilizer needs. The soil should be tested at least a
month before the lawn renovation is started.
Control weeds and undesirable grasses if possible,
prior to the soil preparation process. Glyphosate, (RoundUp)
applied in accordance with label directions, will control most
perennial and existing annual weeds. Begin treatment with
glyphosate on unstressed weeds 30 to 45 days prior to renovation
to provide the opportunity for retreatment if regrowth occurs.
Perennial broadleaf weeds can be controlled either prior to
renovation or after the new seed has been mowed two times. If
controlling broadleaf weeds prior to renovation, apply the
broadleaf weed control at least 30 days prior to seeding.
With the ground prepared you are ready to reseed, sod,
plug or sprig as described above. If there is a fair stand of
grass remaining, over seeding with the same species of grass as is
established, can be done by shallow verticutting and then
distributing the new grass seed.
Mowing in one of the most important factors in
maintaining a good lawn. A good mower, regular maintenance checks
and good mowing techniques all help to ensure a smooth, well
groomed appearance for your lawn. Never mow lower than the
accepted base height of the selected grass. A lawn's density,
vigor, water consumption, weediness and resistance to weather
stress are affected by how you mow. Never remove more than 1/3
of the height of the grass blades at one mowing. If more needs
to be removed do it gradually over the next couple of mowings.
The effectiveness of all other lawn maintenance, i.e.
watering, fertilizing, and weed control depends on proper mowing
because improper mowing causes more lawn problems than any other
practice. The old "adage" of "mowing low once a
week" to minimize mowing chores is the worst possible single
thing you can do to a lawn. This weakens the lawn and thins it
out. The second most common mowing mistake is selecting a mowing
height which is lower than the particular grass can withstand.
This is a no-win situation, even if the grass gets mowed seven
days a week. The tips on mower selection, maintenance, safety, and
storage that follow will help you get the best performance from
your mower for a beautiful, healthy lawn.
Mowing height and frequency go hand in hand. The closer
you mow, the more often you must mow. This is necessary to avoid
excessive leaf removal, which puts the plant in a stress-recovery
situation. Again, never remove more than 1/3 the height of the
grass at one mowing. Turfgrass clippings contribute very
little to the development of thatch when proper mowing procedures
are practiced. Excess clippings left on the lawn will weaken the
lawn and perhaps contribute to thatch. But if you mow at the
proper frequency and mowing height, clippings left on the turf do
not cause thatch build-up. Clippings should be collected and
removed when: (1) the clippings are excessive, (2) lawn is
diseased, and (3) if weeds are setting seed. Mulching mowers may
increase decomposition of the clippings, since they produce
smaller size clippings which allows for faster decomposition.
Mowing equipment and selection is critical to proper
turf maintenance. The general rules are as follows:
- Use reel-type mowers for heights of 1-1/4 inches or less.
- Use rotary mowers for heights of 1-1/2 inches and higher.
Reel-type mowers are constructed for close clippings,
while rotary mowers are not. Failure to use the right mowers often
results in scalping, poor mowing and damage to the turf. Always
keep the blades sharp and adjusted properly.