Receive Email Notifications for New Publications. It is sometimes found in inexpensive commercial seed mixtures but should be avoided. When this method is used, the planting material must be kept fresh and moist from removal site to planting area. The cultivar Raleigh has the best cold tolerance and is well adapted for the eastern side of the piedmont and the western side of the coastal plain. For this reason, a 1- to 2-inch mowing height is recommended when using a rotary mower. Zone 6 is considered a cool season grass … Plugging can be used for those grasses that spread laterally—not bunch-type grasses such as tall fescue, ryegrass, bahiagrass, and fine fescue. If this ratio cannot be located, then a straight-grade analysis product (for example, 10-10-10) may be used at a 0.5 to 0.75 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 sq ft rate. Your decision should be based on region, climate, intended use or wear at the site, and desired appearance. Cool-season grasses are best seeded in early fall, but fair results may be obtained from seeding in early spring (mid-February to late March in the North Carolina piedmont). This process includes the following steps: Reduce competition. Hard-to-control weeds may require the services of a professional. Sodding. Tall fescue is best adapted to the mountains and piedmont but can be successfully maintained on the heavy silt loams in the coastal plain. Treat only those areas that need it. These cultivars, such as El Toro, Crowne, Palisades, Empire, Atlantic, and Jamur, are coarser in texture (similar to newer tall fescues) and are quicker to establish and recover from injury. The tall fescues perform best when mowed at a height of 3 to 3.5 inches, and should not be mowed shorter than 2.5 inches. Use a plugging device to remove plugs of soil from bare areas, and switch them with plugs collected from healthy areas. Many new cultivars with improved color, texture, and pest resistance are now commercially available. Find the best dates for planting and transplanting vegetables and fruit! The Right Time to Plant Grass Seed In North Carolina, cool-season grasses like Jonathan Green Black Beauty are best seeded in early fall, but many people achieve success by seeding in early spring (mid … Apply fertilizer and lime. If applied evenly and lightly, these materials need not be removed. Timing of sowing is another important consideration for planting grass seed in zone 6. Cooperative Extension county center. Slowly available sources of nitrogen that exhibit slow turf green-up, long residual, and low burn potential, such as urea formaldehyde and methylene urea. Annual ryegrass has been used by some homeowners to provide winter color for bermudagrass lawns. Large areas and areas that contain 50 percent desirable grasses are best prepared for seeding by using a piece of equipment (such as an aerator or coring machine) that brings small soil cores to the surface. If an additional application of nitrogen is made between these dates to improve the color, the rate should be between 0.2 and 0.5 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. After the third mowing, water to a depth of 6 inches. Warm-season grasses should not be seeded in the fall as there is inadequate time for maturity before the first expected frost. One way to be sure you have seed or planting material that is true to type, free of noxious weed seed, and contains low levels of other crop seed, is to purchase certified seed or sod. St. Augustinegrass is very shade and salt tolerant but is considered the least cold tolerant lawn grass. The idea is simple. Invest in a spreader. Herbicide that injures only those portions of a plant with which it comes into contact. Any seed grown for profit, often including undesirable grassy weeds, such as orchardgrass. They grow best in the summer, go dormant in the fall at the first heavy frost, turn brown, and then green up slowly the following spring. A cultivated variety of a species, such as K-31 and Rebel. Determine the amount of fertilizer, ratio of nutrients or fertilizer elements, and time of application based on the grasses being grown. Pesticides are used only when necessary. If the lawn is conditioned for this stress and has a reasonable level of maintenance, it should survive without permanent damage. A rake or hoe is ideal for small areas. To reduce the danger of spreading disease and injuring the turf, mow when the soil and plants are dry. Fill areas that settle unevenly to avoid standing water. Read our Fertilize with 0.5 to 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 sq ft every one to three weeks for the fastest spread. Planting the best-adapted grass and then watering, mowing, and fertilizing it properly form the basis for integrated pest management. New seedlings establish quickly due to excellent seedling vigor. Some common examples of starter type fertilizers required for a 1,000 sq ft area include 40 pounds of 5-10-10, 20 pounds of 10-20-20, or 16 pounds of 18-24-6. Buying poor-quality seed or plants often results in less-than-satisfactory performance, pest problems, and general disappointment. Cooperative Extension is based at North Carolina's two land-grant institutions, Reading the blog posts on the Jonathan Green website will help you learn what is the best Jonathan Green grass seed mixture for your needs. These older cultivars can become thatchy—puffy due to an accumulation of dead, dying, decaying plant residue at the soil surface. Turf species that have optimum growth at temperatures between 60 and 75°F. Warm-season lawns are best renovated in late spring to early summer. Sodding is a very effective way to renovate either cool- or warm-season lawns, but it is especially useful if the lawn is a warm-season turfgrass and the damage is concentrated in a few large areas. If seeding of a cool-season grass is not accomplished in the fall, your best alternative date for the piedmont is mid-February to early March. This is especially so when these grasses are mowed high and infrequently or heavily fertilized. Even when the soil temperature is warm enough to germinate grass seed the soil will still be cold a few inches down which causes the grass roots to grow more slowly. Large areas of 15,000 sq ft or more can be sprigged using this method, which is often reserved for bermudagrass. Give the grass a good start with a properly prepared seedbed. Fine fescue seed should be mixed with Kentucky bluegrass because most of the fine fescues are bunch type and do not have the ability to spread. Wait 30 minutes for the water to be absorbed. Apply a starter type fertilizer (one that is high in phosphorus) based on the type of grass and the planting method. It is never recommended for overseeding other warm-season grasses. The suggested height of cut is given in Table 1. Mow at the proper height. Readily available sources of nitrogen that exhibit fast turf greening, short residual, and high burn potential, such as ammonium sulfate. During decomposition they release valuable nutrients. Vegetative: Warm-season grasses may be planted vegetatively (by sprigs or plugs) from March through July. For a complete list of North Carolina sod producers and the varieties they carry, visit the North Carolina Sod Producers Association. Seed Head: This is the flower of the grass plant. Kentucky bluegrass / tall fescue / fine fescue mix, Kentucky bluegrass / perennial ryegrass mix, Key for tolerance ratings: 6 = Excellent; 5 = Very good; 4 = Good; 3 = Fair; 2 = Poor; 1 = Very poor. This approach will only provide limited turfgrass cover and will not be a permanent solution. This is especially important if you are planting centipedegrass. However, good performance can be achieved with a rotary mower with sharp blades set as low as possible without scalping. It also works to release trapped nutrients in the soil to make them easier for the roots to absorb. This broadens the genetic base and gives the turf a better chance of withstanding a variety of challenges. A number of factors should be considered before deciding which lawn grass to plant. These products have not been found to have any significant impact on turfgrass health. Figure 4. Choose the best grass seed. All except bahiagrass are mostly recommended for lawns in the piedmont and coastal plain of North Carolina. Penetration of turf in a vertical plane by series of solid round tines. Bermudagrass should be seeded at 1 to 2 pounds per 1,000 sq ft. Placing sod on top of dead vegetation will result in failure. Coring will alleviate this condition. The basal portion of the leaf surrounding the grass stem. The balanced use of all available control methods is called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). If clippings are heavy enough to hold the grass down or shade it, catch them or rake and remove them. Usually, 1 inch of water per week is adequate. Both cool-season (northern) and warm-season (southern) grasses are grown in North Carolina. See Table 2 for different species and locations. Perennial ryegrass should be mowed at 1.5 to 2.5 inches when mixed with Kentucky bluegrass. Young and actively growing weeds are easiest to control, so make sure that the soil is moist several days before application. In small bare spots, loosen the top 4 to 6 inches of the soil with a rake, hoe, or shovel. This same technique can be used on slopes and compacted soils. Hand rake again to break up the crusty surface before planting. Bare areas that are seeded should be mulched to enhance germination. If you plan to seed a cool-season grass in the fall, such as tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass, and your lawn site is ready for seeding in late March, April, May, or June, you can obtain a weak, temporary cover to hold the soil in place by seeding annual ryegrass. To maintain a high-quality lawn, turfgrass should be cut often enough that less than one-third of the leaf surface is removed with each mowing. If possible, mix 1 to 2 cubic yards of peat moss or compost per 1,000 sq ft into the top 6 to 8 inches of subsoil if planting in heavy clay or very sandy soils. The reel mower is preferred if grasses are cut to less than 1 inch. We recommend Green Up Lawn Food for Seeding and Sodding. It loves hot weather and grows best when temperatures are 90-100 degrees. N.C. As the seedlings grow and root, water less often but for longer periods. When seed is put down in early spring (March to mid-June), it won’t germinate until the soil temperature is consistently 55 degrees. A comparative chart of principal lawn grasses used in each region is provided in Table 1. Thus hot weather … A deteriorated lawn is often a symptom of some underlying problem. Fertilize in early spring (after a mild winter), late spring or early summer … Chemicals should be applied when the pest is most susceptible. It rarely needs irrigation to survive in North Carolina. If higher nitrogen fertilization is applied, there may be a greater occurrence of diseases. Seeding. Plant development at or near the soil surface that results in lateral spreading by rhizomes, stolons, or both. No one type of grass is best suited to all situations. For best results, bermudagrass should be mowed often (at least twice per week), especially at the lower mowing heights. This may reduce the need for fertilizer by 20 to 30 percent. Apply half the fertilizer in one direction and the other half moving at right angles to the first pass to ensure thorough and uniform coverage (Figure 3). The first step in lawn renovation is the control of undesirable vegetation that will compete with newly planted grasses. Several improved tall fescue cultivars have been developed that are more shade tolerant, denser, and finer textured than Kentucky 31, a commonly used older cultivar. Excessive removal of turf leaves by close mowing. Generally, Kentucky bluegrass grows better than tall fescue in moderate shade. Ideally, the fertilizer should have a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 analysis (for example, 12-4-8 or 16-4-8), and one-fourth to one-half of the nitrogen should be a slow-release form. After the sod has been placed, roll the lawn to ensure good sod-to-soil contact. To ensure uniform coverage, use a rotary or drop-type spreader, applying half the seed in one direction and the other half at right angles to the first pass. The plant is unharmed by consistent mowing as long as stubble is left 3 to 4 inches (7.5-10 cm.) In grass plants, it is usually split with overlapping edges. Slowly ease a lush, actively growing lawn into dormancy. This labor-intensive method is best used for planting small areas. But continue to severely stunt existing vegetation by mowing short until desirable grasses have germinated and the desired mowing height is achieved. These grasses perform best in spring and fall and have a tendency to show signs of stress in the summer. Hand raking is the best way to level the soil and work out hills and hollows. Winter is usually best, however, because there is less traffic. A grass plant shoot arising in the axes of leaves in the unelongated portion of the stem. A plant that starts from seed and completes its life cycle within the same growing season. Suggested pattern for applying seed and fertilizer. Seeding rates range from 1 to 2 pounds per 1,000 sq ft. Higher rates can result in weak, thin stands that are more susceptible to disease and high temperature stress. Integrated pest management can be successful, but homeowners must realize that more time and labor are required and high expectations may not be met when pest pressures and environmental conditions are severe. Tall fescue is a bunch-type grass, so damaged or bare areas will need to be re-seeded. In that case, a 25 to 50 percent lower seeding rate may be appropriate. This application will not improve the longevity of tall fescue but will enhance its green color. Tillage or renovation techniques such as vertical mowing, coring, or slicing should be delayed for seven days after application to allow proper movement of the herbicide into underground parts of the weeds. Example: A 16-4-8 fertilizer. Some weeds growing in small areas may be controlled by hand weeding or removal using a small hoe, rake, or shovel. 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