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TURFGRASS CARE AT THE ALAMO

INTRODUCTION

Zoysiagrass is a soft, good-looking southern grass. However, it takes a good deal of maintenance to keep it that way. Mark Nauschutz, Horticulturist at The Alamo is our guest writer this week. He gives us some insight into how the Pros take care of a lawn that gets daily abuse. Do you have lawn issues? There is information useful for Homeowners from all areas of the country.

TURFGRASS CARE AT THE ALAMO

Show #23-1610

Mark Nauschutz, Horticulturist at The Alamo

---Posted December 11, 2009---

The Alamo Shrine is a living tribute to the heroes who died here. We strive to provide a relaxing atmosphere for 2.5 million visitors who come to the Alamo.

The Alamo is interested in maintaining a manicured lawn for the viewing pleasure of our guests. During the late winter and early spring, the Alamo is inundated with schoolchildren and their teachers and at times one cannot see the grass for the picnickers. Our challenge is not to run out of turf coverage while we are patiently waiting for the zoysiagrass to break dormancy.

The Alamo and its turfscape is now an especially attractive historical facility for it provides an oasis-like location for downtown San Antonio. The areas that could not support turf have been turned into shrub/flower beds. The zoysiagrass and shrubs now complement each other and there are pockets of florals and tree color.

The Alamo has made several changes over the last five years in the way it cares for its turf. Prior to these changes in policy and procedure, the Alamo's turf received what would pass for what is done to a home lawn. The equipment used, the antiquated sprinkler system, and the general attitude toward the lawn was not appropriate for a green space. The present horticultural staff has worked to implement professional standards needed to care for a highly visible historical park.

The company planted Zoysiagrass v. Emerald. Its characteristics are low spreading growth habit and upright leaf blades, which gives it a dense stand of turf. It has demonstrated good heat, drought and wear resistance. We have an extensive nutrient maintenance program based on the spoon-feeding method. As per the recommendations of an annual soil test, which showed a deficiency in the macro elements but had excesses in calcium and zinc, a product called CPR (4-0-1 with 2%-chelated iron) has been applied on an every three-week schedule along with monthly fertilizations.

Every month during the summer, we apply 1 pound of 25-5-11 soluble fertilizer per 1000 square feet. Prostar fungicide is put down in early autumn as a preventative treatment for brown patch fungus. Monthly, and in some instances biweekly, aeration is made.

The Alamo is maintaining a twice-a-week mowing schedule. The cutting height is set at 1 and 3/4 inches. Manage herbicide is used to control nut sedge and Ronstar is used as a pre-emergent. A ride-on boom sprayer administers the spoon-feeding method. The Alamo employs a horticulturist, lead gardener, and two gardeners.

A soil test, water and fertilization schedule, regular mowing, and aeration when needed, will keep the home lawn looking just as picnic-ready as the Alamo. Check out the GardenSMART video at http://www.gardensmart.tv/?p=video_tips&subpage=2008_show15

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