Category Archives: Commercial/Residential

Posts related specifically to lawns.

Green side up!

There’s an old joke that used to go around when I was going to school in Iowa that involved a contractor who stopped by a house to visit with the homeowner about some planned repairs.  As they walked through the house the contractor suddenly opened the window and yells “Green side up!”.  The continued their discussion only to have the contractor open the window again and yell “Green side up!”  The homeowner was confused and asked why he kept doing that.  He explained that he had a crew of turfgrass students from Michigan across the road laying sod and they kept putting it in upside down.

It’s hard to believe that someone could lay sod incorrectly.  However, I have seen a number of cases over the years where it happens again and again.  Just last week I stopped by the stadium to visit with the athletic association administration and noticed a truck with sod outside the College of Journalism building where they were unloading sod.

At first, I didn’t think too much about it because the installation looked good from a distance.  I was curious what type of grass it was that they were planting so I grabbed my camera and started walking the site only to find a number of issues.

First, they were letting the newly-laid sod get too dry.  I know from my own personal experience that this is a recipe for failure.  You can see it wiling in this photo:

I walked a little further and then noticed something that really concerned me.  They had laid the sod in a number of different directions due to the shapes of the beds.  Where the pieces came together at odd angles there were HUGE deep holes.  They were deep enough that someone could easily twist an ankle.

You can see from the scale of my knife that they hole is about 4″ deep.  If nothing is done to fix this it could end up being a huge safety hazard.  It is something that can be addressed through addition of sand/soil to fill the voids.  The larger holes probably should have a piece of sod cut to fit.  Both of these approaches will require additional time/labor.

It would have been easier to lay it right the first time.

Has anyone seen Jinx?

Have you seen Jinx?
This lawn was nearly 8 inches tall in some places. Poor Jinx could hardly navigate the vegetation!

How many of you can relate to the picture above? Summer has arrived and along with it came warmer temperatures and higher humidity. By now, you are probably losing your ambition to get outside and mow your yard. As a result, your lawn which was once a peaceful oasis has become a jungle that is tall enough to lose your dog.

While it is not alway necessary to mow your lawn weekly, we are in the peak growing season for warm-season grasses. As a result, it may be necessary to mow more frequently to maintain the visual quality and ensure optimum disease and insect resistance. The rule of thumb when it comes to mowing your is to avoid removing more than 1/3 of the leaf tissue with each mowing. For instance, if you prefer to mow your yard at a 4” height (which is ideal for most St. Augustinegrass home lawns), you would need to mow again once the grass is approximately 5.5” tall. Removing more than 1/3 of the tissue stresses the plant and results in reduced root growth due to the loss of photosynthetic capacity. As root growth declines, the plants are unable to use the moisture and nutrient reserves in the soil efficiently. This is particularly important in areas with sporadic rainfall conditions.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have to remove an excessive amount of clippings (like those times when you seem to lose your dog in the yard), be sure to spread the clippings out evenly to avoid piles accumulating in localized areas. This can be achieved by raking or by mowing again to cut the clippings into smaller pieces and spread them out some more. Otherwise, the piles will limit access of the underlying plants to sunlight, which will result in yellowing of the turfgrass tissue that is trying to grow under the pile.

As always, take a few extra minutes to clean off the street, sidewalks, and driveway to limit or prevent the movement of clippings into the storm water drainage system. Turfgrass clippings are an excellent source of nutrients that, when mulched during mowing provide up to 1/3 of the nitrogen requirements of your lawn. However, if the clippings are allowed to reach the storm water system they can contribute significantly to the contamination of water bodies.

Comparing surface temperatures of synthetic (artificial) turf with natural turf

There has been an increased interest in replacing natural lawns with artificial or synthetic turf.  While there are a number of reasons why this is NOT a good idea, the video above should provide some insight into what to expect the environment to feel like when one of these synthetic systems is installed.  Let me know what you think!

Hillsborough County Commissioners Vote Against a Fertilizer Ban

Yesterday Hillsborough Count Commissioners voted against approval of a fertilizer ban that would have halted the sale of lawn fertilizers during the summer months.  Instead of the ban, the commissioners voted to restrict homeowners from fertilizing their lawns immediately prior to a heavy rainfall event and to prevent fertilizer applications within 10 feet of a water body.  I personally feel this is one of the first signs of hope with regard to thwarting the efforts of political activists who have been pushing local governments to put these laws in place.  Finally, someone is listening to the SCIENCE.

May not be practical, but it might be fun!

I’m not sure if I should admit this or not.  I am intrigued by the Rodenator Pro.  They claim that it does a great job controlling tunneling pest in you fields.  Who knows, maybe it has an application in the turfgrass industry.  Let me know if you decide to buy one – I want to see it in action!

Check out the video below – you will see why I am intrigued!

Rodenator on YouTube