BUY157_Maintenance

MARCH through MAY

Mowing

Mow the lawn when it first turns green in the spring with a rotary mower set as low as possible without scalping. Mow before the grass gets taller than 1-1/2” to 2”, and do not remove more than 1/3 of the blades’ height at a time. Please note that T-10 should not be maintained at lower than 1”.

Also, practice grasscycling, which is simply leaving the grass clippings on your lawn. Grass clippings decompose quickly and can provide up to 25% of the lawn’s fertilizer needs. If prolonged rain or other factors delay mowing, and clippings are then too plentiful to leave on the lawn, they can be collected and used as mulch. Whatever you do, don’t bag them — grass clippings do not belong in landfills.

Fertilization

Submit a soil sample to determine nutrient and lime requirements. Three weeks after the grass turns green, apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn area. In the absence of a soil test, use a complete nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (N-P-K) turf-grade fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio (for example, 12-4-8 or 16-4-8).

To determine the amount of product needed to apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, divide 100 by the FIRST number in the fertilizer ratio. For example, for a 16-4-8 fertilizer, divide 100 by 16. The result is 6.25 pounds of product to be applied per 1,000 square feet of lawn in order to supply 1 pound of nitrogen.

Irrigation

Proper irrigation now may help prevent or reduce pest problems and environmental stress later in the summer. A dark, bluish-gray color, footprinting (when footprints on the lawn remain after 30 minutes) and wilted, folded or curled leaves indicate that it is time to water. Bermudagrass needs a weekly application of about 1” of water per week. On sandy soils, it requires more frequent watering — for example, 1/2″ of water every third day.

Water the soil to a depth of 4” to 6”. Probe with a screwdriver to determine moisture depth. Depending on your irrigation system, it may be necessary to irrigate an area for three to five hours in order to apply 1” of water (it takes 620 gallons of water to apply 1” of water per 1,000 square feet).

Because clay soils and slopes absorb water slowly, irrigate these areas until runoff begins to occur, and then shut off the water. Wait one-half hour or until the water has been absorbed, and then continue irrigating in this start-and-stop process until the desired depth of moisture or amount of water is obtained.

Weed Control

By the time dogwoods are in full bloom, apply preemergence herbicides to control crabgrass, goosegrass and foxtail.

In May, at least three weeks after the grass turns green, apply postemergence herbicides as needed (only if weeds are present) to control summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds such as knotweed, spurge and lespedeza. Products containing two or three broadleaf herbicides are usually more effective in controlling several different broadleaf weeds in a lawn.

Be sure the product is labeled for use on bermudagrass. Read the herbicide label, and follow the directions carefully.

Insect Control

Check for white grubs, and control them if necessary. To determine if white grubs are present, apply a soapy flush solution. Read the insecticide label, and follow the directions carefully.

Renovation

In May, patch bare areas using sod. To ensure the establishment of the newly repaired lawn area, keep the sod continually moist with light, frequent sprinklings several times a day.

Thatch Removal

In May after the lawn becomes green, vertical-mow to remove the thatch (layer of undecayed grass) if the thatch is more than 1/2″ thick.

JUNE through AUGUST

Mowing

Follow the same mowing guidelines as specified above for March through May.

Fertilization

Every four to six weeks, apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, using the March through May fertilization guidelines.

Irrigation

Follow the same irrigation guidelines as specified above for March through May.

Weed Control

Apply postemergence herbicides as needed to control summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds such as knotweed, spurge and lespedeza. Crabgrass, goosegrass, dallisgrass, nutsedge, annual sedges and sandbur can be controlled with postemergence grass-control herbicides. Two or three applications, 7 to 10 days apart, are required for effective control.

Apply herbicides only when weeds are present, the grass is actively growing, and the lawn is not suffering from drought stress. Read the herbicide label, and follow the directions carefully.

Insect Control

Check for white grubs, and control them if necessary. August is the best time to control grubs because this is when they are small and close to the soil surface. Read the insecticide label, and follow the directions carefully.

Thatch Removal

Vertical-mow the lawn to remove the thatch if it is more than 1/2″ thick. Thatch can be removed monthly if the lawn has sufficient time to recover before cool temperatures in fall slow the grass growth.

SEPTEMBER through NOVEMBER

Mowing

Mow the lawn following the March through May guidelines until several weeks before the first expected frost. As winter approaches, raise the mowing height 1/2″ if the lawn will not be overseeded.

In the Piedmont region, the mowing height is usually raised in mid- to late September. The mowing height of lawns in the western and northwestern areas of the Piedmont region may be raised one to two weeks earlier, whereas the mowing height in the south-central and southeastern regions may be raised one to two weeks later.

Fertilization

Apply no more than 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in September, four to six weeks before the first expected frost. Use a low-nitrogen, high-potassium fertilizer such as a 5-10-30, or supplement a nitrogen fertilizer source with 1 pound of potash (K2O) using 1.6 pounds of muriate of potash (0-0-60), 2 pounds of potassium sulfate (0-0-50) or 5 pounds of sul-po-mag (0-0-22) per 1,000 square feet.

Irrigation

Dormant bermudagrass may need to be watered periodically when warm, windy weather prevails. Follow the irrigation guidelines specified for March through May.

Weed Control

Apply preemergence or postemergence herbicides as needed to control winter annual and perennial broadleaf weeds such as chickweed and henbit. Keep in mind that preemergence herbicides do not control existing perennial weeds.

Apply postemergence herbicides only when weeds are present. If the lawn is to be overseeded with ryegrass, do not apply herbicides designed to control annual bluegrass. Read the herbicide label, and follow the directions carefully.

Insect Control

Check for white grubs and armyworms; control them if necessary. Read the insecticide label, and follow the directions carefully.

DECEMBER through FEBRUARY

Mowing

Mow overseeded bermudagrass at 1” before the grass gets taller than 1-1/2”. Recycle nutrients by not collecting the clippings unless they accumulate heavily on the surface. Dormant bermudagrass that has not been overseeded need not be mowed.

Fertilization

Do not fertilize bermudagrass that has not been overseeded. For overseeded bermudagrass, apply 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in December and February. In the absence of a soil test, use a complete nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (N-P-K) turf-grade fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio (for example, 12-4-8 or 16-4-8).

To determine the amount of product required to apply 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, divide 50 by the FIRST number in the fertilizer ratio. For example, for a 12-4-8 fertilizer, divide 50 by 12. The result is 4.17 pounds of product to be applied per 1,000 square feet for 1/2 pound of nitrogen.

Irrigation

Dormant bermudagrass may need to be watered periodically to prevent dehydration, especially when warm, windy weather prevails. Watering is particularly important for lawns that have been overseeded.

Weed Control

Apply broadleaf herbicides as needed to control weeds such as chickweed, henbit and hop clover. To control annual bluegrass (Poa annua) and several winter annual broadleaf weeds, selective herbicides can be applied in November or December to lawns that have not been overseeded. Read the herbicide label, and follow the directions carefully.