With summer comes more people ready to enjoy their parks, backyards or a round of golf—as well as the heat that can really make managing healthy turf grass a tough job.
To keep your turf looking top-notch all summer, and your green spaces attractive, follow these tips from Ewing’s turf pros.
Toughen up your turf
In the spring, as the grass begins to break dormancy, applying a fertilizer containing higher potassium, such as a 5-10-31, will help build strong cell walls in the plant so it can better withstand stress like heat, said Kevin Schnautz, a Ewing account manager for central Texas.
Once your turf is established, irrigating less frequently, but more deeply to help roots grow further into the soil, allows turf to better withstand periods of drought during summer.
Inspect the irrigation system
The most critical aspect for turf health is irrigation in many parts of the U.S.
Anyone managing turf should perform an irrigation audit before summer, said Dave Sandrock, a Ewing Golf account manager in Arizona. Check your run times, arcs, nozzles, valves and solenoids for proper performance.
“The number one reason for poor turf that I see is due to an underperforming irrigation system,” said Sandrock. “Once the irrigation is solid, we can begin to apply fertilizers, insecticides and wetting agents effectively.”
Prime the soil
Prior to the summer heat, you can apply a soil wetting agent to help the rainfall or irrigation be more effective during the summer months, said Schnautz.
Get the right nutrients
As long as you have adequate rainfall or irrigation, a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer can be effective throughout the summer months in most areas, said Schnautz. These fertilizers will typically last 10 to 12 weeks.
Organic turf fertilizers are also growing in popularity but may need more applications throughout the season. Get in touch with your local Ewing representative for fertilizer recommendations for your region.
And if possible, get a soil test done to determine deficiencies or excess nutrients in the soil, and add amendments based on the test results, suggested Sandrock.
As your turf grows, always pay attention to your mowing height.
“Remove no more than 1/3 of the leaf blade at any mowing event to prevent shocking the turf,” Schnautz said.
In the spring, begin to slowly raise your mowing height slowly over the next few weeks—as high as you can tolerate—to help shade the soil and conserve water.
Watch for signs of stress
As the weather turns hotter and drier start to look for stressed turf areas, said Don Brasseaux Jr., Ewing account manager for the Gulf Coast region.
In stressed turf, your footprints will be more visible, and grass blades will begin to turn brown or grey.
If you see these signs, look for irrigation problems, like inadequate run times, said Brasseaux.
Then check for soil compaction, which can prevent water from reaching roots of the plant. Finally, evaluate areas for insects, which are more common in the summer—mole crickets, chinch bugs, ants, grubs and caterpillars, to name a few turf loving pests.
Hopefully with some preparation, you and your turf will survive the summer’s heat better than ever. Get in touch with your local Ewing store for product recommendations for healthy turf each season.