2017 Fall Lawn Maintenance and Winterization Report | October 3, 2017

2017 Fall Lawn Maintenance and Winterization Report

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Click here to read the 2017 Spring Lawn Revitalization and Summer Prep Report.

Turf Management at Fairmount Memorial | May 24, 2017

Turf Management at Fairmount Memorial

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Turf management is commonly equated to golf courses and parks, yet some of the most honored grass in our nation is found in areas not often discussed: cemeteries. As a place of refuge, cemeteries have been carpeted by carefully manicured turfgrass since the mid-1800s. Today, the tradition not only fosters a sense of serenity for visitors, but has created natural habitats for animals.

According to Dave Ittner, President and COO of Fairmount Memorial Association in Spokane, WA, which maintains 330 acres of developed cemetery, the key to a lush green lawn is to mow regularly, removing no more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time; string trim the edges to create a polished look; and then clean up. Either blow or sweep trimmings to finalize the job. Combined with managing water use to ensure you’re not overwatering, these basic manicuring steps can quickly take your lawn from good to great.

2017 Spring Lawn Revitalization and Summer Prep Report | April 12, 2017

2017 Spring Lawn Revitalization and Summer Prep Report

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Click here to read the 2017 Spring Lawn Revitalization and Summer Prep Report.

Field Notes with Todd Tribble, Field Superintendent at Oklahoma State | March 21, 2017

Field Notes with Todd Tribble, Field Superintendent at Oklahoma State

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With baseball season about to start swinging, we chatted with Todd Tribble, field superintendent at Oklahoma State University to get his advice for maintaining a playoff-perfect field.

Follow these five lawn care tips this spring and enjoy soft, green grass all season long:

  1. Adapt your watering schedule to the weather and the season. Adjust the watering schedule regularly to conform with current weather conditions.
  1. Schedule each individual zone in your irrigation system.“Scheduling” accounts for the type of sprinkler, sun or shade exposure and the soil type for the specific area. The same watering schedule should almost never apply to all zones in the system.
  1. Water only when needed.Saturate root zones and let the soil dry. Watering too much and too frequently results in shallow roots, weed growth, disease and fungus.
  1. Spring is a great time to perform core aerification in the yard. Core aerification is the process of removing small cores of soil and organic material from your lawn. One can typically hire a lawn care company to perform this service or rent an aerification machine from a local equipment rental facility.  The aerification equipment typically is setup to pull cores ranging from 0.25 to 0.50 inches in diameter from the top 3-6 inches of the soil.  The cores are removed or can be left to decay on the lawn surface.
  1. Mow regularly but do not remove more than one-third of the shoot growth in a single mowing. 

You can check out more of the Turf Teamawesome tips for year-round maintenance and field care here:

Grass Match: Find The Perfect Seed Variety For You | January 1, 2017

Grass Match: Find The Perfect Seed Variety For You

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Let’s find your match. Your grass match that is!

Have a partially shaded backyard? Don’t get much rain where you live? Or trudging through snow each winter? Let us match you up!

Click through to hone in on the best grass varietal(s) for your specific application and conditions, and ultimately discover a connection that will enrich your life for years to come.

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Browse Profiles

2016 Fall Lawn Maintenance and Winterization Report | October 15, 2016

2016 Fall Lawn Maintenance and Winterization Report

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Click here to read the 2016 Fall Lawn Maintenance and Winterization Report.

5 Water Use Tips for Summer Lawncare | June 17, 2016

5 Water Use Tips for Summer Lawncare

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Little Girl Playing With Garden Water Sprinkler

With summer in full swing, it’s time to think about how to maintain a beautiful, healthy lawn while being mindful of water use. “When it gets hot, the most common mistake people make is to excessively water their lawn. However, your lawn only needs to be watered once or twice a week during the summer months,” said Bryan Ostlund, Grass Seed USA executive director. “When done correctly, cutting back on irrigation can actually strengthen your lawn.”

Follow these five lawn care tips and enjoy a bed of soft, green grass all summer long:

With some communities sending out watering guidelines for summer water conservation, it’s important to keep some very basic guidelines in mind when watering, such as watering once every other day or twice a week. Fewer, longer waterings encourage the roots to grow deeper making the lawn stronger and more drought-resistant. Over watering can lead to lawn damage due to over-saturation.

The absence of rainfall in the latter half of summer means that you will need to apply about 1 to 2 inches of water per week in order to maintain a healthy yard.

Always water your turf during the cooler hours of the day, either early morning or evening. Watering during the heat of the day does very little good as much of the water evaporates before reaching the roots.

Set your mower to cut less grass. You can reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation by keeping your grass slightly taller (2 to 3 inches) in the summer, so that the blades shade the roots and soil surface, keeping it cooler and protected.

Whatever watering routine you choose, stick with it. Grass does best with a consistent watering schedule, and starting and stopping a watering pattern can stunt your turf’s growth.

Last-Minute DIYs for Backyard Hosting | June 1, 2016

Last-Minute DIYs for Backyard Hosting

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Decor Romantic dinner with candlesflowers in green forest during wonderful sunset. Honeymoon proposal or wedding background concept.

Summer means outdoor entertaining. Whether you’re hosting a wedding reception, a family reunion or a birthday party, you’ll want to make the backyard get-together memorable. Here are some quick DIY ideas to help you get ready for a fun, stress-free gathering.

Lawn prep

A healthy green lawn is an inviting setting for outdoor activities. If your lawn isn’t quite up to snuff, a little last-minute maintenance can help. Following are some tips from Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers and academics:

Creating the ambiance

Beyond the table arrangements (linens, tableware, flowers) you’ll want to think about creating a comfortable ambiance for your guests. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Choosing activities

Your get-together likely already has some built-in activities (eating, for one!), but depending on the type of event, you may want to have a few additional distractions planned, especially if there are kids at the party. Try a few of these:

One of the great advantages of entertaining outdoors is that it’s usually easier and less stressful than trying to fit a large group into your home. So keep things simple and don’t worry if you don’t have time for elaborate preparations, your backyard will naturally do most of the decorating and ambiance creation for you, and you’ll have plenty of options for outdoor activities for kids of all ages.

Major League Lawn Care: An Inside Look at Maintaining Championship Caliber Turf | April 19, 2016

Major League Lawn Care: An Inside Look at Maintaining Championship Caliber Turf

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Spring and Baseball in America

One of the most uniquely American springtime events is the return of the national pastime, baseball. Each spring, big league clubs trek to Florida or Arizona for Spring Training, youngsters register for little league and fans optimistically await the start of a new season, knowing that their team, for at least Opening Day, is in first place.

The image of a vibrant, green baseball field is a welcome reminder that the weather is improving and summer is just around the corner – but this iconic image does not manifest itself without effort. Across the country, well before seasons shift and temperatures rise, city park landscapers, schoolyard staff and major league grounds crews alike prep the green fields we know and love. Recently, We Seed America spoke with Jeff Wright, head groundskeeper for the National League’s Philadelphia Phillies, to learn what goes into creating and maintaining the iconic symbol that is the baseball diamond.

Becoming a Major League Groundskeeper

Jeff Wright is no stranger to baseball fields, having been with the Phillies organization since 1986. Back then, he worked part time as a “day of game” groundskeeper with ambitions to one day join the team as a graphic design artist. As time passed, Wright’s prowess maintaining the field and love for working outdoors helped him become something more of a grounds keeping artist, and he has worked full time on the Phillies’ grounds crew since 1990.

Beyond the basics of keeping the grass green and making sure the infield dirt is just right, there is a lot Jeff and his team must do to ensure the field it in tip top condition for game day. For example, certain varieties of grass may make the baseball roll too slow or too fast, and special decorations may be in order for postseason or World Series play. Maintaining a Major League playing field is a year long endeavor, and the challenge of keeping the field at Citizens Bank Park “the best there is in baseball” is something Jeff’s team strives for.

Major League Lawn Care

Getting a field into form for Opening Day begins with winterization steps taken just after the previous season ends, and does not look dissimilar from what is often recommended for homeowners’ lawns. According to Jeff, field winterization “might be somewhat a challenge in Philadelphia with the colder climate, but we overseed in the fall, put down our fertilizers and hope for the best.” Jeff noted there had been a few instances where particularly harsh conditions necessitated the use of winter blankets, but usually overseeding does the trick.

After winter comes Spring Training. Efforts to ready the Phillies’ facility in Clearwater, Florida begin in earnest in January and last throughout February. The impressive baseball complex includes 4 fields and over 20 pitching mounds, and requires a true group effort to maintain Major League standards.

Once the regular baseball season begins, ongoing maintenance becomes important, and this goes far beyond ensuring the grass is vibrantly green. Performance optimization is a chief concern, and feedback on the turf comes from players and coaches alike. Previously, Riviera Bermudagrass was used at Citizens Bank Park, but after hearing from players that this variety made the surface too quick, the grounds crew switched over to Kentucky bluegrass, which can be grown at a higher height than Bermudagrass and helps the game be played a little slower. Facing these sorts of challenges is something Jeff enjoys, and he is always looking for ways the turf can be optimized for performance.

Winning It All

Maintaining a major league-caliber playing surface is key to sustaining a high level of baseball prowess, which is why Jeff selected the Phillies’ 2008 World Series championship as his favorite moment as an MLB groundskeeper. According to Jeff, when the final out was made to clinch the victory, the scene on the field was “total euphoria” as players, coaches and the grounds crew all celebrated the accomplishment as one. After all, winning a championship in professional sports takes dedication at all levels, which is why Jeff and his crew were rewarded with their very own World Series championship rings, a fitting reward for countless hours of hard work and dedication.

April is National Lawn Care Month: 7 simple steps for summer lawn prep | April 5, 2016

April is National Lawn Care Month: 7 simple steps for summer lawn prep

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Outdoors Barbeque

If you’re a part of the nearly 90 percent of Americans who believe it’s important to have a well-maintained yard, you and your backyard will appreciate these seven simple steps for tending to your natural turf lawn with minimal effort.

According to Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers and academics, investing a little repair time in early spring and a small amount of maintenance time in summer will pay off with a lush lawn ready for all your summer activities.

1. Test your soil. Good soil is one of the essentials of a healthy lawn. A soil test is simple, inexpensive and provides valuable information about current pH levels. Simple amendments like lime or sulfur can be added to neutralize overly acidic or alkaline soil and help grass thrive. Find a soil test kit at a local garden store or make your own using common household items.

2. Aerate. Older or heavily trafficked lawns can suffer from soil compaction. A core aerator with hollow tines will pull small plugs of soil out of the ground, allowing increased movement of water, nutrients and oxygen. Aeration can also increase the soil contact with new seeds and promote new growth. You can rent an aerator or hire a professional to do the work for you.

3. Seed. According to Grass Seed USA, the ideal lawn planting season is April through the mid-to-end of October, depending on where you live. Turf specialists at a garden store or local university extension office can help select the right seed for your area and usage, pointing you toward the seed closest to existing grass or suggesting alternatives for problem areas. After seeding, water lightly but regularly, keeping the reseeded areas damp until the new grass grows in.

4. Control weeds. Healthy lawns essentially control weeds by squeezing them out. However, if crabgrass or dandelions invade, herbicides may help. Consult a garden specialist about which herbicide is right for your lawn and how to use it. Applying a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring before weed grass emerges can reduce problems down the line. If you’ve applied seed, keep in mind herbicides can kill it, so use a product that will not affect new growth. For dandelions, digging them up is often effective, but a broadleaf herbicide may be applied.

5. Water as needed. On average, a lawn needs about 1 inch of water per week, from rainfall or irrigation. Letting the lawn dry out completely between waterings will encourage the grass to grow stronger, deeper roots as it searches for water deeper in the soil. Put a rain gauge on your porch to measure rainfall; skip the watering and save your irrigation money if you receive 1 inch of rain in a week.

6. Fertilize naturally. Don’t break your back trying to bag lawn clippings. If you mow frequently (about once a week during the growing season) and don’t remove too much height (only one-third of the blade), you can leave the grass clippings on the lawn. They contain the same nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as commercial fertilizer – and they’re free.

7. Mow to the right height. Wait until your grass is 3 inches tall before mowing and then cut it to 2 inches in height. By only trimming one-third of the blade length, you will avoid stressing the grass while leaving enough leaf to protect the roots from the sun — helping you create a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant lawn.

A lawn doesn’t need constant pampering. Summer lawn prep can be quick and easy, and the reward is a beautiful, environmentally-friendly setting for outdoor activities of many kinds. So, fire up the grill, hang up the hammock and get busy enjoying your personal great, grassy outdoors