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Show #15/1202. The Gardens Of The Alamo

Secrets For Great Looking Turf

Joe would rather not have turf but what's here looks great. Mark needs the turf for the kids that visit and for other tourists that like to lounge on the grass. But Mark admits it is labor intensive. They spend 2 and 1/2 hours every day doing something to the grass. They blow it clean everyday and mow it twice a week, ensuring the manicured look. When they cut it, they take off no more than 1/16 of an inch each time. At home we're probably not going to mow that often but it is important to take off no more than 1/3 of the blade each mowing. If more were removed it would stress the plant, potentially creating pest and disease problems for the lawn. Here they water 2 times a week, about 35 minutes each time. When the weather is warmer they up the watering time. All grass prefers about an inch of water per week. Since Mark is watering 2 times a week that means he's watering approximately 1/2 inch each application. They also feed the lawn once a month using ammonium nitrate, a basic nitrogen fertilizer for lawns. But Mark's secret weapon is aerification. This is very important for a healthy lawn. It provides oxygen for the roots, allows water to penetrate and takes nutrients down to the root zone. It removes compaction which is very important when one has 2 and 1/2 million people walking across the lawn each year, like they do here. They also perform a soil test once a year. They have found that to be very helpful. This year, for example, they found they were deficient in magnesium and calcium so they added that to their nutrient list. The test should only cost $6-10 at home, a small price to pay for very important information because, as Mark found out, we may very well have nutrient deficiencies. The soil test will tell you where those deficiencies are and how much to add. It's also important because it tells you the proper PH range and what adjustments are needed to bring those into line. So, again, for $6-10 dollars one can't beat the investment for having a great looking lawn.


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