Seek local expertise in spring lawn renovation 02-12-07
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.
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.
The next step would be to select a turf that is right for the problem area and, most importantly, if the turf species is adaptable to your area. If you need help in selecting the right turf species for your lawn seek advice from local experts such as county extension offices, lawn care operators, sports turf managers, farm co-op, etc.
It always amazes me to walk through the garden center sections of particularly 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 many fescues) will be poor permanent lawn choices. The heat of summer will be their demise and they should not be planted even as temporary lawns once our warm season turf species begin to green-up.
Be somewhat skeptical of flashy catalog advertisements that guarantee beautiful lawns from seed, especially if the ad doesn’t even mention the species of turf. If seeding is your only option, centipede, Bermudagrass, carpetgrass, zoysia, and Bahia are your warm-season choices. St. Augustine, the species most tolerant to shade, and all the warm season species mentioned above 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 P1322 Establish and Manage Your Home Lawn from your local Extension office.
Published February 12, 2007
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