Use a Check List to Identify Lawn Problems (07-09-12)
Your Extension Experts
Turfgrass Extension Specialist/Weed Scientist/Weed Control-Turf and Ornamentals
Warm season lawns should be near their peak of growth over the next few weeks if adequate moisture and fertility are provided. If your lawn is listless and is not responding well you may want to conduct a check list of possible problems. If a soil sample has not been taken in the past three years one should be considered. Even if you have applied fertilizer the soil pH may be less than ideal for proper nutrient availability and turf growth. The physical condition of the soil may need attention. It could be compacted and or have poor drainage. Can you push a thin steak knife into the soil with relative pressure? If not water, nutrients, and turf roots probably are not penetrating the soil either. Does the lawn contain a heavy thatch layer? More than an inch is too much. Weeds are usually the results of poor turf quality not the cause. Check for other pests such as diseases or insects that may have thinned the turf prior to weed invasion. What are the general maintenance practices (mowing, watering, etc.) that have been helpful or detrimental to your lawn? Are you keeping the mower blade sharp and following the one-third rule of never removing more than one-third of the leaf area at a single mowing? Watering should be thorough and infrequent vs. shallow every day watering. Once you have conducted your check list begin to correct or improve those problem items.
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. email@example.com