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Lawns

Title Summary Date ID Author(s)
"Leave" Them Alone: Lawn Leaf Management

While we enjoy the beautiful colors associated with fall foliage, we also realize that most of those leaves will soon be on the ground. At this time of year, many turf managers quit managing grass and shift their focus instead to managing leaves. In some situations, leaf removal by way of blowing, raking, or vacuuming is essential because of turf use (e.g. golf course turf where finding a ball in leaves is next to impossible). Another reason to mulch or remove leaves is to improve the turf-growing conditions. A thick layer of leaves blocks sunlight, reducing turf growth because of the shading effect. The leaves also trap and hold moisture in the turf canopy, increasing the potential for turf disease. However, treatment and/or disposal of leaves can be time consuming and costly. In some areas, it is actually illegal to place bagged leaves at curbside for pickup due to restrictions on placing lawn waste in landfills.

May 1, 2009 430-521
2014-2015 Virginia Turfgrass Variety Recommendations Jul 9, 2014 CSES-17NP (CSES-93NP)
A Lawn To Dye For - How to Create a Perfect Lawn: Aerating Your Lawn Oct 29, 2012 CSES-38NP
A Lawn To Dye For - How to Create a Perfect Lawn: Choosing The Right Grass Oct 29, 2012 CSES-41NP
A Lawn To Dye For - How to Create a Perfect Lawn: Dealing With Lawn Disease Oct 29, 2012 CSES-43NP
A Lawn To Dye For - How to Create a Perfect Lawn: Dethatching Your Lawn Oct 26, 2012 CSES-36NP
A Lawn To Dye For - How to Create a Perfect Lawn: Fighting Lawn Pests Oct 29, 2012 CSES-42NP
A Lawn To Dye For - How to Create a Perfect Lawn: Fighting Weeds Oct 29, 2012 CSES-40NP
A Lawn To Dye For - How to Create a Perfect Lawn: Lawn Composting Oct 29, 2012 CSES-37NP
A Lawn To Dye For - How to Create a Perfect Lawn: Mowing Your Lawn Oct 29, 2012 CSES-39NP
A Lawn To Dye For - How to Create a Perfect Lawn: Soil Testing Oct 25, 2012 CSES-34NP
A Lawn To Dye For - How to Create a Perfect Lawn: Watering The Lawn Oct 26, 2012 CSES-35NP
Accurate Application and Placement of Chemicals on Lawns Jul 16, 2012 BSE-39NP
Aerating Your Lawn

Lawn aeration involves the removal of small soil plugs or cores out of the lawn. Although hand aerators are available, most aeration is done mechanically with a machine having hollow tines or spoons mounted on a disk or drum. Known as a core aerator, it extracts 1/2 to 3/4 inch diameter cores of soil and deposits them on your lawn. Aeration holes are typically 1-6 inches deep and 2-6 inches apart.

Dec 1, 2012 430-002
Calibrating Your Lawn Spreader

There are two basic types of fertilizer spreaders for use on the home lawn: the drop and the broadcast.

The drop type spreader (shown at left) "drops" a set rate of fertilizer. This type is best suited for a limited space in order to avoid wide dispersal on sidewalks and driveways. The amount of fertilizer that is spread depends on the opening setting, the type of fertilizer used, and the speed at which the spreader is pushed.

May 1, 2009 430-017
Compact Soil Sampling Strategy for White Grubs

Annual white grubs (WG) are early-season pests attacking corn seeds and seedlings (Figure 1). Heavy WG infestations can cause stand and yield losses of up to 20%. Because grubs occur in the soil, their presence in fields and subsequent damage to corn may go unnoticed until too late. Also, 30% overwintering mortality in WG densities is typical in VA. Insecticidal seed treatments such as clothianidin (PonchoTM) and thiamethoxam (CruiserTM) are the tools of choice for controlling soil insect pests. Growers typically must decide whether to purchase insecticide-treated seed well in advance of spring planting.

Jun 30, 2011 2802-7027
Establishing Lawns

Producing quality lawns in Virginia can be challenging. Geographically, Virginia is located in what is known as the transition zone for turfgrasses. This means the climate can be hostile to both cool-season grasses (Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue) and warm-season grasses (bermudagrass, zoysiagrass). However, with proper cultural practices, a healthy lawn can be established and maintained.

Turf may be established from seed, sprigs, plugs, or sod. The method depends on the grass species desired, the environmental conditions, time constraints, and financial considerations. If possible, use only certified seed and sod. The same requirements for soil preparation apply for all methods.

May 1, 2009 426-718
Fall Lawn Care
Late-summer to mid-fall is the best time to establish cool-season turfgrass. Warm days and cool nights provide ideal conditions for seed germination and establishment of tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, fine-leaf fescues, and perennial ryegrass. Sod establishment is also favored at this time of year. Understanding why renovation is necessary can help you to avoid the same pitfalls in the future. Is sparse and weedy turf the result of neglect, inappropriate mowing heights, environmental limitations caused by too much or too little rain, etc.? Is there possibly a soil problem such as a nutrient deficiency, an improper pH, poor drainage, or compaction? Might the turfgrass species simply be a poor choice for the site, the climate, or the anticipated use of the turf?
May 1, 2009 430-520
Home Lawn Fertilization in Virginia: Frequently asked Questions

The best way to determine if your lawn requires certain plant nutrients is to get the soil tested. This test is available through your local Extension Agent. It is easy to do and inexpensive. The results returned to you will include recommendations on the amounts of plant nutrients and lime that would be beneficial to your lawn. Soil tests are not used to determine nitrogen needs. Nitrogen is applied based upon established requirements by grass species, seasons of growth and intended use.

May 1, 2009 430-003
Integrated Pest Management for Plant Diseases in the Home Garden and Landscape, Learning Module I: Integrated Pest Management Feb 21, 2013 PPWS-14NP
Integrated Pest Management for Plant Diseases in the Home Garden and Landscape, Learning Module II: The Plant Disease Triangle Feb 21, 2013 PPWS-15NP
Lawn Fertilization in Virginia

Fertilization of lawns is essential for the production of quality turf in Virginia. However, exceeding recommended fertilizer application rates or improper application timing can negatively impact surface water and groundwater quality. A well-planned and environmentally sound turfgrass fertilization program will take into account:

May 1, 2009 430-011
Lawn Moss: Friend or Foe?

There are thousands of species of moss worldwide. These very simple plants lack the typical leaf, shoot, root, and seed-forming systems of most higher plants; however, they are some of the hardiest living organisms on the planet (Figure 1). Lawn moss can reproduce sexually (spores, etc.) or asexually (breaking off into smaller pieces that divide and multiply), and their numbers can increase rapidly under the right conditions. They are tolerant of extremely low mowing, so regular clipping of the grass will not remove them. It would seem that these plants would not offer much resistance to our efforts to manage or control them, but as Mother Nature often shows, their simplicity in design and function correlates well with their ability to colonize and persist in some of the most inhospitable growing conditions around your property: sidewalks, driveways, and yes – the lawn.

May 1, 2009 430-536
Maintenance Calendar for Cool-Season Turfgrasses in Virginia May 1, 2009 430-523
Maintenance Calendar for Warm-Season Turfgrasses in Virginia May 1, 2009 430-522
Making Compost from Yard Waste

Compost is one of the most valuable resources for beautifying your landscape, and it is virtually free. The leaves you rake, the grass you mow, and the branches you trim are some of the ingredients you can use to make compost. Finished compost is dark and has a pleasant smell. It is produced when organic matter — such as garden, lawn, and kitchen waste — is broken down by bacteria and fungi. 

Use compost throughout your landscape: dig it into gardens and flower beds, add it to the soil when renovating your lawn, or put it through a sieve and use it in potting soil.

Oct 18, 2012 426-703 (HORT-46P)
Mowing To Recycle Grass Clippings: Let the Clips Fall Where They May!

Lawn turfgrasses provide many benefits to our immediate environment. Soil erosion control, improved protection of groundwater, improvement of the quality of life through noise and dust abatement, improvements of air quality, and aesthetic and recreational contributions are some of the assets provided by turfgrasses. However, disposal of grass clippings is an ongoing issue that requires the attention of homeowners in order to be a good land steward!

May 1, 2009 430-402
Pest Management Guide: Field Crops, 2014 Feb 3, 2014 456-016 (ENTO-37P)
Pest Management Guide: Home Grounds and Animals, 2014 Jan 28, 2014 456-018 (ENTO-36P)
Pest Management Guide: Horticultural and Forest Crops, 2014 Jan 28, 2014 456-017 (ENTO-38P)
Pest Monitoring Calendar for Home Lawns in Virginia May 1, 2009 430-524
Selecting Turfgrass

A quality lawn results from using the right grass species and/or variety, proper planting and establishment, and sound management. Planting the right turfgrass for your site reduces the need for pesticides. The most important step for the homeowner is selecting the proper turfgrass for the situation.

May 1, 2009 426-719
Soil Test Note 17: Lawn Fertilization for Cool Season Grasses May 1, 2009 452-717
Soil Test Note 18: Lawn Fertilization for Warm Season Grasses May 1, 2009 452-718
Soil Testing for the Lawn and Landscape

This publication is available in a Breeze Presentation. To view the presentation you will need to download the Macromedia Flash Player.

Soil Testing for the Lawn and Landscape, Publication #430-540

May 1, 2009 430-540
Spring and Summer Lawn Management Considerations for Cool-Season Turfgrasses

There is no time of year that generates as much excitement in the management of lawns and landscapes as spring. Sales of all lawn and garden products soar as many homeowners strive for the best looking lawn possible. However, your enthusiasm for returning the lawn to tip-top shape should be tempered enough so that you make sound agronomic and environmental management decisions. Smart choices now will result in a healthy, dense turf canopy that will better withstand the environmental extremes of the summer months.

May 1, 2009 430-532
Spring and Summer Lawn Management Considerations for Warm-Season Turfgrasses

Soil testing. Sampling the soil to determine pH and nutrient levels is always a prudent choice in developing a management program for a lawn, especially if a soil test has not been done within the past three years (Figure 1). Any time of year is appropriate for sampling. A majority of Virginia soils are acidic and need to be amended with periodic applications of lime. For information on how to properly sample your soil, consult Soil Sampling for the Home Gardener, Virginia Cooperative Extension publication 452-129, at http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/452-129/. For additional soil testing information, see the presentation "Soil Testing for the Lawn and Landscape," at http://breeze.ag.vt.edu/p36588349/.

May 1, 2009 430-533
Summer Lawn Management: Watering the Lawn

Water composes from 75 percent to 85 percent of the weight of a healthy grass plant. It is essential for seed germination, tissue formation, plant cooling, food manufacture, and nutrient absorption and transport. A grass plant loses the most water under conditions of high light intensity, high temperature, low relative humidity, and windy conditions. Without adequate water, the grass plant can't cool itself and becomes susceptible to wilting, desiccation, and death.

Mar 31, 2014 430-010 (CSES-79P)
The Virginia Yard Waste Management Manual May 1, 2009 452-055
Turf and Garden Tips: What can be done about crayfish in lawns? Aug 16, 2013 CSES-64NP
Urban Nutrient Management Handbook Apr 28, 2011 430-350
Yield Potential of Native Warm-Season Grasses Grown in Mixture Jul 19, 2013 CSES-55P