Integrated Pest Management for Turf Grass

Primary Cultural Practices:

  1. Mowing
  2. Fertilization
  3. Irrigation
  4. Cultivation
  5. Pest Management

Mowing is the number one cultural practice.

Mowing Tips:

  1. Never cut more than ⅓ of the blade
  2. Raise height and cut frequently
  3. Mulch grass clippings

When cutting more than ⅓ of the blade you start to rob the nutrients and expose heat stress. Since you are shocking the grass root feeding insects will attack leaving your lawn to turn patchy brown.

The higher the grass is mowed the deeper rooting. The higher the mow the deeper the grass roots! The preferred height is 3 inches and to maintained frequently (At least once a week)

Weed encroachment associated with a low mowing height include, annual bluegrass, common dandelions, and crabgrass.

Mulching your grass clippings can produce 2 lbs of nitrogen per 1000 square foot back into your lawn! Grass clippings is an organic fertilizer that will feed the soil.

Fertilization Tips:

  1. Select a fertilizer
  2. Use a rotary spreader
  3. The holiday fertilization plan

When selecting a fertilizer you need to look for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. I use Milorganite which has a (N-P-K): 06-04-00. There should be (.5 – 1b) of Nitrogen per 1000 feet. Each 36 lb bag will cover 2500 square feet. You want to fertilize four times a year. The first application should be made on memorial day, July 4th, Labor day, and the final one on thanksgiving.

Irrigation Tips:

  1. Know your precipitation rates
  2. Does the irrigation system provide even coverage?
  3. Is to much water being implied?

You should be irrigating 1 inch per week, Approximately .2 inches per day.

Cultivation objectives:

  1. Relieving soil compaction
  2. Improve drainage and air compaction
  3. Reduce organic matter

Do you have soil compaction? Organic matter accumulation? Is Drainage a problem? If yes, Core aeration relieves soil compaction, improve gas exchange and drainage and remove organic matter. After doing core aeration this is the ideal time to overseed your lawn! 8-10lbs pers 1000 square feet.

Pest Management:

  1. Pest Triangle
  2. Pesticide mixing
  3. Control of weeds, diseases and insects

Broadleaf weeds, pathogens and insects. Broadleaves weeds can be false dandelion, they are deep rooted. They persists well in dry lawns indicating that your lawn is not getting enough water. Three herbicide that you can use is Trimec Classic, speedzone, Q4 Plus.White clover is a weed that is telling you that you are not putting down enough nitrogen. You can use  T Zone. If you apply a herbicide and do not change your fertility, mowing, and irrigation you can expect for weeds to return.

-John Del Sordi