TURF: SELECTION, ESTABLISHMENT, AND MAINTENANCE

OBJECTIVES

Upon completion of this chapter, you should be able to

• select appropriate turfgrasses for particular landscape uses.

• explain how grass seed mixtures vary.

• interpret a grass seed analysis label.

• describe common methods of turf installation.

• explain how a spreader is calibrated.

• outline a maintenance program for professional lawn care.

KEY TERMS

cool-season grass

mixture

pH

warm-season grass

blend

tiller

purity

plugs

sod

weed

sprigs

calibration

noxious weed

grading

aeration

inert material

drainage

overseeding

THE MANY USES OF TURFGRASS

Turfgrasses appear at both ends of a landscape time spectrum. They are among the oldest species used by human beings to fashion the out­doors into residential and recreational areas that suit their needs. They are also responsible for one of the newest and most rapidly expanding branches of today’s landscape industry. Selected as the most suitable surfacing for historic bowling greens and golf courses, turfgrasses have carpeted the outdoor rooms of cottages and castles for centuries. Today, full-service lawn care corporations are leading profit makers among landscape professionals.

The main reason for the ongoing interest in turfgrass and improved turf care is that nothing has ever surpassed a top-quality lawn as the ideal outdoor surfacing. It is comfortable to walk on, suitable for numerous ath­letic activities, ideal for picnic blankets and sunning; and it collects and holds dust and dirt from the air, absorbs sound, and produces oxygen.

Following are the major categories of use and a few examples of each.

• Residential use: private homes, estates, apartment and condominium complexes

• Campuses

• Commercial use: corporate landscapes, shopping centers, office buildings

• Municipal use: civic buildings, community centers, highway dividers, airports

• Recreational use: parks, golf courses, country clubs, stadiums, athletic fields

The diversity of uses is immediately apparent. Turf may function almost solely in an aesthetic capacity, as when it is the setting for a cor­porate giant. Other uses are utilitarian, as on a football field. No single turfgrass is suitable for all landscapes, geographic regions, soil types, altitudes, and environmental conditions. Correct selection of turfgrass for a landscape requires knowledge of all these factors.