Okay, Troops. So, you've gone out and learned some more about your turf. You've learned how your turf is going to react under certain conditions? Not yet. The last posts were just the start of basic training. You haven't even got your head shaved yet.
Depending on where the conflict is and how you want to deploy your troops and what type of troops you are going to deploy depends on many factors. This portion of your training will give you some thoughts on turfgrass at the very beginnning....before you even THINK about planting anything.
Turfgrasses are divided into two groups based on temperature requirements. “Cool-season” turfgrasses show their most active growth at temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees F. “Warm-season” turfgrasses grow best at temperatures between 80 and 95 degrees F.
The United States can be divided into five turfgrass adaption zones based on temperature and precipitation. They are: Cool/Humid, Warm/Humid, Cool/Arid, Warm/Arid & Transition Zone. See the zones to the left:
(Source: United States National Arboretum,2008.)
In the transition zone, it tends to be too hot for cool-season grasses and too cool cold for warm-season grasses. Consequently, many warm and cool season turfgrasses can be found there. The best thing for Turfgrass Warriors to do is identify the zone in which you want to grow turgrass and determine the best selection of turfgrass to grow in that region. Species selection is an important aspect of stand establishment. If the species is not adapted to a particular region, or if the species is not adapted to the type of soil where the grass will be established, Turgrass Soldiers will experience less than satisfactory results ranging from thin stands and low yields to outright mission failure! For example, the most common and durable cool-season turfgrasses are: Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Rye and Tall and Fine Fescues. The most common and durable warm-season grasses are: Bermudagrass, Centipedegrass, St. Augustine Grass, Kikuyu grass, and Zoysia grass.
When selecting the proper turfgrass, there are several factors to consider:
Use of the Area – Will it be a high traffic area or a low use area? Wind Sprints with cleats or Kite Flying?
Maintenance – Will the area require the use of specialized equipment, mowers, fertilizers, pesticides? Will it also need Soldiers with special skills and a huge government grant or endowment?
Environmental Conditions – We already talked about zones. Will the area be shady, sunny, dry, moist?
Soil Factors – What’s the soil like? Sandy, clay, salinity, pH level?
Level of Quality – What are your expectations? Like Augusta National or a little better than the side of an interstate?
No matter how hard you work, species like Red Top, Timothy, Bahiagrass or Blue Grama will never develop high quality turf.
But, I always say: If at first you do not succeed; take cover; return fire, empty your magazine and call in an air strike.