Green grass is imminent, and if you are up to date on our agronomic recommendations, there will be no need to seek “the greener grass on the other side.” By now, we have our mower blades sharpened and ready to make the first clean cut for Spring Green-Up.
As we have discussed, a clean cut will heal much faster than a ripped, torn, or jagged cut. These clean cuts help keep the grass just as green by preventing stress, diseases, and promotes insect suppressant. Preventing the yellowing of turf runs deeper than a pesticide application to correct or prevent. It’s a labor of love, and more importantly, the knowledge & cultural practices of science/agronomy behind plant nutrition is needed for greener pastures/grass.
The cultural practice that is overlooked the most is aerification. The word alone will scare most. The definition: to infuse or force air into; to change into an aeriform state: vaporize. That sounds like I could destroy my green grass. Golfers will not play a golf course that has just aerified their greens. Homeowners fear that mud will be tracked into their house because plugs are left behind. Landscapers feel it may adversely affect their pre-emergent, but I assure you that its benefits are well worth the risk.
Research has been done to see if you should aerify before pre-emerge or after aerification, and the results were inconclusive. Sod farms have found out it increases production and grow-in on newly sprigged fields. Once you understand basic plant physiology: roots, stolons, rhizomes, crown, stem, and leaf/blade; you realize aerification is to promote a stronger, healthier and greener lawn.
We all know aerification is to promote good gas exchange, right? Aerification must be viewed as a proactive cultural practice, not as negative or inconvenience. Aerification allows roots to go deeper, rhizomes and stolons to move freely to tack down and create new roots for a stronger stand of grass. It allows the crown of the plant to grow more freely when there is no compaction. Remember, this is why we don’t scalp before Spring green -up.
The crown is the actively growing point. It pushes stems upward and roots downward. In summary, aerify, aerify, aerify, because the benefits can be as long as a CVS receipt. It will take a weak, thin, heavy, compacted turf, and turn it into those greener pastures. It will make a newly sodded lawn root down much quicker and an established lawn ready for the summer stress with deeper roots. Lastly, if you can pull a plug/core please do so, because now you are removing that organic matter versus pushing it down deeper.
As always if you have any questions, please feel free to do so. I enjoy talking grass, growing grass, but more importantly helping others with their grass/landscaping needs.