- Watering Your Lawn
The proper watering or irrigation of your lawn will vary, but there are some general rules to follow:
- It is better to water less frequently (once or twice a week) for a longer period of time, than to water every day for a short time. Infrequent deep watering promotes greater root development.
- Wait until the soil becomes dry before watering. One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is watering too often. It is better to wait until the soil is dry to a depth of 3" to 4" before watering. This will promote deeper root growth and a stronger root system. A good goal for watering your lawn is to apply 1 to 1/2 inches of water per week during summer growing season. Exact amounts will vary due to soil types, soil compaction, etc. For more help on your specific conditions and needs please contact us.
- Slope and soil compaction will affect watering amounts/time. If your turf does not want to accept water and the water begins to run off quickly, you should consider aeration for your lawn.
- It is helpful to know how much water your sprinkler puts out. If you are already one of our valued customers, just call our office for your free rain gauge!
- We should all remember, that water is our most precious resource and a lot of the water we use to irrigate our lawns and shrubs is wasted. The helpful watering tips above will help insure the health and beauty of your landscaping and prevent our most precious resource from being wasted!
- Irrigation Systems
While irrigation systems can be a tremendous asset to a landscape maintenance program, there can be some equally difficult negatives with an irrigation system. Developing a good understanding of the needs of your landscaping and your soil goes a long way to delivering maximum effectiveness for a system. Sometimes this can be a difficult equation. Please know that will be happy to meet with you and help in developing a program for your system if you would like. Just give us a call.
Some Irrigation System thoughts:
- Irrigation systems can provide for precise and accurate irrigation/watering.
- They can save large amounts of time and trouble for you when watering your lawn & landscaping.
- Many times, homeowners with irrigation systems will over water their lawns while appreciating and utilizing their new system! Sometimes new system owners will run the system because they "like to see it working" rather than calibrating and setting it according to the need of the landscaping.
- Most systems are opened in the spring during March and April or during the rainy season which can lead to over watering if the system is not monitored.
- Many systems do not utilize sensors to address over watering.
- Some systems lack the ability to separate ornamentals from turf creating a disparity in need.
- Too many times, there is a disconnect between the sprinkler company's knowledge of the landscaping needs and lawn care company's knowledge of irrigation systems operation, and the turf and landscaping are the big losers. We will be happy to meet with you to develop a good program for your lawn and landscaping.
- Jamison Pest and Lawn can offer you consultation surrounding the set up of your irrigation system and the irrigation needs of your lawn and landscaping. We are happy to work with you in this most important area.
- pH and How it Affects Your Lawn
(pH is the measure of alkalinity or acidity in soils)
- Why do we take pH reading in your soil? With a poor pH balance in your soil, the turfgrass (no matter the type) cannot feed itself properly. The ability of the plant to take up nutrients will be limited if the pH is not at an acceptable level.
- How many readings will you take in my lawn? We will take 6 to 12 depending on the size of the lawn.
- The pH level in your soil should be a reading of 6.5 (that is considered neutral).
- When soil pH is out of balance, growing quality turfgrass becomes difficult.
- Signs of poor pH include an inability of the grass to hold color, late to green up, and thinner than normal turf even in good conditions with full sunlight.
- Fescue Turfgrass
Fescue turfgrass is a cool season grass and has a completely different maintenance plan than Bermuda and Zoysia turfgrasses. The growing season for Fescue is the fall and winter, but it will remain green throughout the entire year. It is a popular choice for the shady portions of your lawn and being a cool season grass, Fescue does not like the heat of the summer season. Fescue growth will be slowed in the summer and many varieties of Fescue will not tolerate direct sun.
- Watering Fescue is imperative. A good rule of thumb is to water it twice a week and more in the hotter summer months.
- Even in the best of conditions in our area, Fescue will not do as well as Bermuda or Zoysia. The summers are just too hot for vigorous growth of Fescue in our area.
- Fescue, due to its nature, will need to be re-seeded every year or so to maintain a thick stand of turf.
- Fescue Seeding should be scheduled in October and November.
- Following Fescue seeding, more water is needed to assure good germination. We would recommend watering each day following seeding until germination occurs.
Why fescue seeding? In the mid-south region, our warm season turfgrasses, Zoysia and Bermuda are better suited for our climate and require more than 6 hours of direct sunlight to prosper. Fescue on the other hand, will grow well in the shade of your trees and can eliminate those "undesirable bare ground areas" under the trees.
- Zoysia Turfgrass
Zoysia is another turfgrass of choice in our area because of its slower growing nature and thick, dense, "carpet-like" presentation. Due to its thickness, Zoysia will actually help prevent weeds by preventing the sunlight from getting to the soil where the weeds seeds are waiting to germinate.
- There are many new varieties of Zoysia Turfgrass and most are somewhat more susceptible to disease.
- One of the more prevalent diseases in Zoysia is "Brown Patch or Zoysia Patch". This is a fungus and can produce an orange cast or look in the turf. It is a very difficult problem to control and will infect lawns in both the spring and fall seasons.
- Should damage occur in a Zoysia lawn, re-growth will be a slow process (substantially less than Bermuda).
- One of the more difficult problems with Zoysia is over watering by homeowners with irrigation systems. And to add to the problem, Zoysia does not like standing water or saturated soil.
- Due to the thickness of Zoysia, thatch build up can become a problem and can harbor disease.
When mowing Zoysia, a sharp mower blade is imperative! It is recommended that the mower blade be sharpened at least twice a season. We also recommend that the clippings be removed during the later season to prevent the thatch build up. Alternating the direction of your mowing is also recommended. During the summer months it best that it be mowed at a height of 2" plus and later in the summer at the mower's highest setting.
- Mowing Your Lawn
Mowing practices will vary some by grass type, but there are several recommendations that apply to all turf grass types. We have listed several of them below:
Your mower blade should always be sharp!! A good rule of thumb would be to sharpen your mower blade twice each summer or cutting season to assure a good cut. A dull mower blade can change the way your lawn will look!
When mowing your lawn, you should mow frequently enough so that you never remove more than 1/3 of the blade or 1/3 of the current height of grass with any one mowing.
Spring time mowing: The only exception to this rule is with warm season grasses in the spring. It will aid the turf coming out of dormancy to cut the dead blades of dormant grass, bag, and remove them. By cutting lower at this time, you will allow the sunlight to reach the crown of the plant and stimulate new spring growth. However, cutting it shorter at this time does not include cutting it so short that it cuts into the soil or damages the crown of the plant.
Avoid "scalping", that is setting your mower blade so low that it cuts down to the soil! This can lead to severe turf damage to the scalped areas.
It is best to mow on higher settings as the fall approaches. This will help the grass develop a deeper root system, which will in turn promote better survival in case of a very cold and severe winter.
Best Mowing Heights by Grass Types:
Bermuda – Bermuda is best when maintained at heights 1" to 2" in the spring time. Bermuda can be cut taller as the growing season progresses. Bermuda is more wear tolerant when cut at shorter heights (1/2" to 1"), but for many homeowners, a playground is a secondary plan for a Bermuda lawn and choose to maintain the turf at a height of 2" to 3 ½" because the turf will maintain a deeper green color and a stronger root system.
Zoysia – Zoysia is best maintained at heights 2" to 3" and cut every 5 to 7 days. Mowing at lesser height or less frequently will generally result in poor turf quality. It is imperative that the mower blade be kept very sharp for this turfgrass. A dull mower blade can damage this turf and cause it to take on a "brown hue" due to the "torn edges" produced by a dull mower blade.
Fescue – Fescue is best maintained at heights of 1 ½" to 2". A sharp blade is important to provide a clean cut and lessen the opportunity for diseases to damage turf.
- Shade and How it Affects Your Lawn
If you have large trees and a lot of shade, establishing a thick, healthy Bermuda or Zoysia lawn is tough to impossible! If these two turf grasses do not have at least 6 hours of full sun each day, they will not flourish. If you have a question about what turf grass you should use, just give us a call and we will be happy to make an assessment and share with you our recommendations and the foundations for them.
If you have large bare areas under large trees and you would like green grass to grow, there is an answer for you. Fescue Turfgrass!
Below are some "Need To Know Facts" about shady conditions and turfgrass:
- Less than 6 hours of sunlight will produce thin Bermuda and Zoysia turfgrasses.
- Bermuda thrives in 8 plus hours of sunlight each day.
- Zoysia thrives in 6 plus hours of sunlight each day.
- With any amount less than 5 to 6 hours of sunlight each day, the use of Fescue turfgrass should be considered.
- There is a common misconception that some types of Zoysia may do well in shade. However, several sod farms and landscape companies sold and installed Zoysia in areas where it did not receive at least 4-5 hours of sunshine per day. The turf thinned gradually and was gone in the 3rd year!
- It is recommended that mowers should be placed on the highest setting possible to allow for more photosynthesis to occur.
- Bermuda Turfgrass
Bermuda grass is the turfgrass of choice in our Mid-South area. This may be because Bermuda requires little work to care for. If it is properly watered, fertilized, and mowed, it has fewer problems with weeds, insects, and disease and is a fast growing turf that will provide a thick dense lawn.
Some thoughts on Bermuda:
- Bermuda is the most easily maintained turfgrass for our area.
- Bermuda is fast growing, wear tolerant, and reasonably resistant to disease.
- Bermuda does best in full sun with 8 hours of sunshine.
- Bermuda will recover quickly from any type of damage, as opposed to Zoysia that has a much slower growth rate that would require 2 to 4 times longer to recover.
Bermuda should be mowed with a sharp mulching mower blade and the clippings should remain on the lawn. Removal of the clippings will remove many nutrients. During the summer months it should be mowed from 1 1/2" to 2" in height and in the later summer and early fall at 2 1/2" to 3". The extra height going into the winter will offer protection for the root system from the winter freeze.