All FAQ info is based on 28 years’ experience in dealing with turf in the North Georgia area.
What time of the years should I turn on my sprinklers?
Probably the number one asked question every year.
In the month of April most every year you are safe not to water at all in April or even in May. Once it starts to heat up and spring rains slow down then you can consider turning the sprinkler system on. If there is 1 plus inch of rain fall per week. I would save your money on the water bill. Get a cup or rain gauge and set out in the yard. Catch 1 ½ inch of water. Could take running each zone for 40 plus minutes. Once you know how long it takes to catch that much water then water that long in one run or possibly two. Running the system for 15 minutes a day in July when it is 90 degrees is a waste of water. It will evaporate by noon or before. Water needs to soak down in the roots 4 to 6 inches. I have never had a sprinkler system on my zoysia lawn and in 20 years in only looked rough one time. That was in a 5-year drought.
Why does my lawn have little brown circles in it? Or what are those brown spots in my Bermuda lawn? (Bermuda lawns)
This is dollar spot and I almost guaranteed in first to mid-June when the summer begins to heat up and the humidity begins to be fierce. This can be treated with fungicide or if it isn’t really bad you can ignore it. It won’t cause any long-term damage. Fungicides is the best treatment for this.
I want to sod my yard, what type grass is best for my yard?
First question to ask yourself is how much time of sunshine vs shade does the area I want to sod get. Full sun: will normally require Bermuda. However, fescue will survive in full if all the right steps are taken. We can discuss that on another line item. Zoysia is also a good fit for full sun. Zoysia will be quite a bit more expensive than Bermuda. There are also different varieties of each that can be applied under a few different scenarios.
50 50 Sun vs Shade: As I mentioned there are several varieties that can be applied to different scenarios. There is a Tiff Tuff brand name out now that does really well in lower light areas. When its available there is Discovery Bermuda that I’ve used in an area with less than 4 hours of light and it has done well. Also Zeon or Emerald Zoysia will work in lower light areas.
Less than 4 hours of light: I mentioned the Discovery Bermuda above. This has to be very close to the 4-hour range to even consider using. Fescue is your best bet in the low light areas and will give you the best results.
Mostly shade: If there is no sun and even moss growing on the grown then grass will not work in this area. Pine Straw or Mulch and maybe adding some plants would be the best decision in this case.
Why is my Bermuda being scalped? (Bermuda lawns)
Once the season get into the season the Bermuda looks really good. Dark green growing the appearance after mowing each week is fabulous. Then comes the 4th of July, temps are in the mid to upper 90’s and if the rain fall is slack the grass can turn a crisp brown quickly. Even when there is rain fall, by mid to end of July the lawn is showing some signs of discoloration after each mowing. This continues to worsen each week. Around mid-July we will normally raise the mowing height one last time to 2 ½ inches with rotary mowers. This will gain another 2 weeks of the nice green appearance. The dog days of summer are really kicking in now as we get into August the rain fall is normally less during this month as well. The green on top of your Bermuda lawn is getting thinner and thinner each week. Actually, the Bermuda is slowly going dormant from the roots up. It has actually seen its best days from may up to the first to mid-July. As you get into September the discoloration will become more and more evident. Note. In late July the grass is really thick and gets even thicker into august if we have had rainfall. You can solve the discoloration problem by raising the height every couple of weeks this will also help mowing times. However, you will regret that decision in September if you choose to do raise the height. The lawn will really lay over and look bad with this practice. Best case is to allow the grass to discolor. Skipping a week in between will only cause the discoloration to be worse. We call this the late summer blues.
Why does my fescue lawn brown in the summer?
Fescue is a cool season grass and will always look its best from mid to late October through first part of June or until the heat and humidity begins to build. The browning in the lawn is a fungus called brown patch. The best way to keep a nice healthy green fescue lawn is fungicide treatments. Those are expensive. Fescue lawns will survive the summer; however, it will appear stressed through the hottest months. It will also thin quite a bit as well. First of September cut it short down to 2 inches aerate and reseed. Keep it watered for 14 days and it will look new again.
Best practices for taking care of my lawn?
Let’s start from the beginning of the year. It is January cold and my Bermuda lawn is dormant and not a weed in it this can be a nice appearance. Who wants to cut grass when its really cold? Then February roles around. We use mulch kits so if there are some dry days in February and the lawn is stable enough to get the mower out its time to take the first cut off. To save from a lot of grass clipping build up take ¼ in of the lawn height off and mulch it and blow it into the turf. This will naturally decompose and rot away fairly quickly. It will ripple a bit in heavy rain situations on top of the lawn. That will be a little unsightly but nothing damaging. You can blow it in again if you’d like. Same pattern in March. Take another ¼ inch off, First week in April another ¼ inch 2nd week another ¼ inch. This should leave your height at 1 ½ to 1 ¾ inch if you follow the rest of our pattern. This practice will save clipping build up which can cause thatch problems. This will also keep all the nutrients from the fertilize in the lawn. Now we are into April the Bermuda is starting to green up, this process will allow the new seasons grass to show much quicker that all the dormant grass has bee cut off. If you don’t like the idea of mowing your lawn a few time through the winter the other option is to pull out the bagger lower the cutting height down to 1 to 1 ½ inches and scalp the dormant grass off all at one time. This is for sure cleaner as far as what is left behind however, the mower isn’t going to cut that thick dormant grass very quick and suck it up into the bagger. You can discharge all the dormant grass then go back and pick it up with the bagger. We do not use baggers because that takes away nutrients from the lawn. Example: Have you ever seen a bagger on a golf course mower? One on the green’s mowers, that is due to the grass being so short the clippings wouldn’t blow in, or if it is bent grass. When you haul your clippings away you also haul away the fertilize that you paid another company to spread for you. It is always the best practice to mow no more than every 7 days or less. When you go longer you will cause possible thatch problems and lose color as the season goes along.
January you should be ok not to mow, it will most likely be green and pretty unless it is really cold then it may have a brown tint in places. February same thing should just be green and beautiful. During February the fescue grass could possibly need to be mowed depends on the weather. For sure by mid-March it will need a cut. Main thing is once it starts to grow let it reach 3 inches. Maintain the height at 3 inches that should be a good height unless high heat and or drought situations present themselves. You can raise as needed to 4 even 4 ½ inches if needed. It will really look stressed through the heat of the summer, most likely get brown patch, and thin considerably. This will be its look by end of July heading into August. First of September go ahead and scalp it down to 2 inches you can bag it if you want but not 100% necessary. Aerate and reseed. Keep it watered really good for 10 to 14 days. Soon it will look brand new again. Once it appears that most all seeds have sprouted it is ok to mow. You don’t want to mow for at least 3 weeks after seeding.
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