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From The Ground Up

Is Your Lawn Starting To Get ‘Crunchy’

By Pamela Redwine

The Yalobusha County Forestry Association will meet Thursday, July 7 at 5:30 p.m.  The topic of the program will be Prescribed Burning and the speaker will be John Gruchy, Conservation Resource Biologist for the Private Lands Habitat Program with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.  

A meal will be served.  The meal is sponsored by the Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program, USDA Forest Service, Mississippi Forestry Commission, and MSU Extension Service.  Please call the Extension office at 675-2730 by noon on Wednesday, July 6th to register.


For most of North Mississippi, the last month or so has been very dry.  Your turf may be showing the signs of this dry period by wilting and becoming ‘crunchy’.  This dryness can cause the grass to be stressed and make it more susceptible to other problems.  You can help your turf by watering it correctly and only mowing when it is necessary.

While each yard may be a little different, there are a few general guidelines that apply to all, and one of them is watering.  Turf grasses need an average of one inch of water per week and no more.  It is best to provide this one inch in two or three heavy waterings rather than in six or seven light waterings.  Watering lightly every day causes the grass to be dependent on water.  This also keeps the grass wetter and creates more disease problems.

When you water the lawn is also important.  If you have an automatic irrigation system, set it to run in the early morning hours (3-4 a.m.).  This will allow the turf to naturally dry off with the dew.  If you are using a manual sprinkler or a water hose, water early enough in the evening for the turf to dry off before the dew begins.  This will help to prevent disease problems.

Mowing correctly is another important aspect to maintaining healthy turf.  Never cut more than one-third of the overall leaf surface at any one mowing.  Cutting too much at one time can leave the turf with a white appearance and also leave clippings on the lawn, a sure sign of not mowing regular enough.  If you are mowing often enough, there should be no need to ‘bag’ the clippings, they will simply fall inside the turf canopy and turn into organic matter.  

Lastly, don’t mow just because it is the weekend or because it has been one week since the last time.  Mow only when the grass actually needs it.  During these hot, dry periods the grass will not grow as fast and doesn’t need to be mowed ‘just because’.  Besides, if you mow every eight days instead of every seven, you will mow FOUR less times this year.  Even for those of you who like to mow, this is good news.

Remember, the healthier the grass the better it can handle stressful situations.  Keeping it watered regularly and consistently and only mowing when it is necessary will help it be as healthy as possible.  This can help you to have a beautiful, healthy lawn.

To find out more about turfgrasses, check with your local MSU Extension Service office and pick up a copy of Publication # 1322 – Estab-lish and Manage Your Home Lawn.   


Article provided by Dr. Jeff Wilson who is a horticulturist serving northeast Mississippi with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service.

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