SPN: Focusing on grounds and turf areas

April showers brings weeds, fire ants and few other pests that can impact your outdoor areas.  Even though most of us are limited on traveling, our home lawns, as well as our public spaces still need to be maintained, if we don’t additional pest issues like rats and snakes will move in.

This issue will focus on several fact sheets that have been developed by Extension Specialists to help you manage your outdoor surroundings.

WHAT IS THAT MOUND??? We have all seen them, a mound in the yard and most of us assume it’s a mound it’s fire ants.  Did you know that crawfish, earthworms, gophers, moles, June Beetles, ground-nesting bees, ground nesting wasps and mole crickets to name a few also make mounds.  Drs. Chrissie Segars and Mike Merchant developed this handy publication on What is That Mound go check it out.

One of the best ways to ensure that you’re watering your landscape correctly is to conduct an irrigation audit on your sprinkler system. This is something you should do annually as proper watering actually leads to a healthy turf.  You can either do it yourself or hire a professional company to conduct the audit. Properly done, an irrigation audit will pinpoint any problems with the system and will determine the proper irrigation frequency as well as the number of minutes to run each zone when the system is operating.  “Tracking Every Drop: Irrigation Audits and troubleshooting for success,”  By Chrissie A. Segars, Ph.D. and Charles Fontanier, Ph.D is an article they published in SportsField Management this past March.

When is the best time to apply pre-emergent herbicides for controlling annual grassy and broadleaf weeds in lawns and landscapes is one of the hardest answers for our turf grass experts.  In this factsheet Dr. Becky Grubbs outlines what are pre-emergent herbicides, what you need to know before you purchase and apply, plus a guide of when you can think about making those applications.  Many individuals wait too late to apply their pre-emergent herbicides and then wonder why they still have problems with winter weeds in the lawn once these annual weeds germinate and start to grow, most of the pre-emergent herbicides will have no effect on the weed.  the same is true for summer weeds like crabgrass, when you start to see this grass it’s too late for a pre-emergent.  However, using this chart to help you determine when you need to make applications can assist the IPM program and be part of your written guidelines for the grounds program.  Click on this link to download and save Preemergence Herbicide Guide

Water-Wise landscaping is a term used to describe quality landscaping that conserves water and protects the environment.  Depending on where you live, your community may limit your outdoor water use during the summer months.  However, the time to plan your yard, community garden, or outdoor entertaining area is now.  Water Wise Checklist for Texas Home Lawns by Dr. Becky Grubbs is something you can share with teachers, administrators and others as a way to help them make the most of their outdoor time during this time of physical distancing.  Knowing when to mow and what height you should mow certain grass species is part of the IPM process.  Do you have tightly packed soil?   When was the last time you aerated your lawn or turf areas.  Print and share this document.

Finally, one last document to help you with managing your sports fields with reduced staff.  Dr. Segars sent us this new BMP’s For Texas Turf during COVID-19 there are great tips about watering and mowing to consider.

Do Well Be Well and We will Get Through This

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