Selecting Lawn Grasses for Spring Renovations (2-28-11)
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As temperatures rise and our waterlogged soils eventually dry, many of us will be out on our lawns correcting bare or damaged areas created over the winter months. I receive several dozen requests each spring for information on selecting the best turf species to correct such problems.
The first step in fixing these problems is to assess what has caused the problem to occur. Whether it is drainage, soil pH or fertility, traffic, heavy shade, etc,. these need to be corrected before you can expect any new turf to survive. Every spring at lawn and garden shows the MSU Extension Service provides free soil pH testing and it is astonishing how many lawn soil samples have soil pH’s that are not conducive to healthy turf growth.
The next step then would be to select a turf species that is right for the problem area and most importantly. Is the turf species adaptable to your area? It always amazes me to walk through the garden center sections, particularly of the larger chain stores, and see what is being offered for purchase to establish or repair Southern lawns. Many of the seed on the shelves are just not suitable for permanent Mississippi lawns. Unless you live in the extreme northern counties, most cool-season turf species (ryegrass, bluegrass, and fescues) will be poor permanent lawn choices. The heat of summer will be their demise and should not be planted even as temporary lawns once our warm season turf species begin to green. If seeding is your only option centipede, Bermudagrass, carpetgrass, zoysia, Bahia and seashore paspalum are your warm-season choices. St. Augustine, the species most tolerant to shade, and the above mentioned warm season species can also be established vegetatively.
To better understand the advantages .and disadvantages of these different warm-season turf species and how to best establish them obtain a copy of Extension Publication Establish and Manage Your Home.
Published February 28, 2011
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. firstname.lastname@example.org