Growing The Best Lawn, Chapter 1
Having the best lawn in the neighborhood is not as hard as it seems. Most of us don't really care that our lawn is the best, but we do want a nice looking lawn. Others could care less what their lawn looks like. I will be addressing only those who care here.
A good lawn involves even uniform appearance, meaning it has the same green tones throughout, not blotchy with other grass varieties invading that have a different texture, color or both. Lawns in western Oregon undergo an evolution, no matter what you start out with it winds up turning into a bentgrass lawn over time. Other grasses and broadleaf weeds also invade. Many of us start out with a nice new Perennial Ryegrass lawn and over the next three to five years it gets invaded and then we have to decide to live with it or "fix it".
There are a few options to dealing with this evolution, you can live with it and just let it do what it naturally does, manage the turf to minimize the transition, or fix it by renovation, or start over entirely once it gets too far gone.
Since the subject of turf management is more than I can cover is a blog article I will only address the first option, managing the turf to minimize the transition to bentgrass. A healthy lawn requires a management program with the following components; good water management regime, soil biology management, weed management, and regular mowing.
Lets assume you have a properly designed and installed sprinkler system. Without that all bets are off. The three to four months of drought we have every summer in the Willamette Valley requires a regular watering program applied uniformly over the lawn surface and watered to the depth needed. So again, lets assume you have that covered, what next?
A thick healthy stand of grass plants is essential to keep invasives from getting started in the turf. The more the lawn gets stressed the more grass plants dies out, leaving space for weeds, moss and other invasives to take a stand. The next most important practice is soil management, the key factor here is fertilization. I am of the opinion, after 40 years involved in various turf management responsibilities, that using organic fertilizer has a greater benefit to building the soil biology than chemical fertilizer. Good soil biology leads to reduced soil compaction, increased aeration , better nutrient cycling and all the good things needed for a healthy lawn.
Another important factor to improve the soil is aeration using a core aerator. This brings up cores of soil that breakdown thatch build up, root extension and stimulation of the soil biology if accompanied by topdressing and fertilization.
In Summary these practices are essential to having the best lawn;
· Good water management
· Organic Fertilizing program
· Core aerating
I will address additional turf management practices you can take on the to have the best lawn in the neighborhood.