Turfgrass and Lawn Management
Turfgrass has been a mainstay of the U.S. urban environment since the mid-20th century, during which large tracts of land were developed to accommodate growing urban populations. Today, turfgrass comprises more than 60,000 square miles of the contiguous United States.
Mississippi has over 2.5 million acres of maintained turf. The largest single component is over 2 million acres of roadside right-of-way.
The second largest component, and the one requiring a majority of inputs, is that of home lawns. Almost 300,000 acres of turfgrass surround Mississippi’s 750,000 homes and residences.
There are over 150 golf courses, over 2,000 athletic fields, and numerous acres of turf surrounding schools, places of worship, and commercial sites.
Benefits of turf are well documented and include: recreational health, erosion control, increased water infiltration, reduced nutrient leaching, aesthetics, carbon sequestration, and mediation of the ‘heat-island’ effect. Yet, the ecological impact of turf is often questioned, due in part to nutrient and water requirements as well as its often unsustainable monoculture cultivation. It is important that homeowners and turfgrass managers follow best management practices that minimize their environmental impact. Proper turf species and variety selection is key.
Many gardeners enjoy maintaining a quality turf. Others despise lawn work and demand a low-maintenance turfgrass. Still others are confused about how to keep a lawn green. You don’t have to be an expert to have a quality lawn; neither do you have to spend all your leisure time working on it. By learning a few basic facts about turfgrass, you can have the best lawn on the block. Also, you can choose a turfgrass to suit the time and money you have for maintenance.
See MSU Extension Publication 1322 Establish and Manage Your Home Lawn to find information about diseases, fertilizing, insect control, planting, selection of grasses, weed control, and other related turf and lawn management materials.
For up to date research results and timely communication about upcoming events, visit our blog site.
The MSU turf team supports numerous statewide stakeholders, including: golf-course superintendents, sports turf managers, sod producers, landscape managers, and homeowners.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Which grass should I plant?
- What is that plastic looking stuff on my greens?
- How do I control weeds in the lawn?
- How often should I mow?
- Why won't grass grow on the crown of my football field?
- Is there money to be made in growing sod?
- What does "aerate" mean?
- What does topdress mean and why is it done?
- When should turfgrass be watered?
- Should I remove clippings?
- When should I dethatch my grass?
- Why is my grass thinning out?
- How do I control weeds?
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Coaches win championships, teach high school classes and are expected to maintain perfect playing surfaces on their athletic fields, so sometimes they get help from the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
Michael Richard, an Extension associate in turf grass management, has begun offering clinics to help high school coaches, park and recreation directors, and others maintain the playing surfaces they oversee.
Even if you preventatively treat your yard periodically through the year for fire ants, you’ll still see mounds pop up.
There are two ways to treat these mounds: liquid drenches and dry powders. (File photo by MSU Extension Service.)
Fire ant mounds always pop up right where you don’t need them – in the flower bed you planned to weed tomorrow, next to the mailbox that needs to be reset, and near the patio where you are throwing a party tonight. (Photo by Brian Utley/Cindy Callahan)
Sod production is a year-round process for Mississippi producers, and demand is up for this valuable commodity.
Jay McCurdy, turf specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the state’s producers are having a good year with this grass crop.
Fire ants are everywhere. If you’ve thrown your hands up in exasperation trying to deal with them, don’t give up just yet. (File photo by MSU Extension Service)