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Fans surround the 8th green Fans surround the 8th green during the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.
Fans surround the 8th green during the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.
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Published: Saturday, 8/11/2012

Jamie Farr Classic inspires would-be turf doctors

BY KELLY HEIDBREDER
BLADE COLUMNIST

Thousands of eyes will be on Sylvania's Highland Meadows as some of the world's best female golfers walk the links. And it isn't just eyes on the groomed course, but thousands of feet. The grounds crew at Highland Meadows has been working for months to get the course in top shape. So, how can you make your lawn look lush like this? You will need to turn on the sprinkler.

Turn it on

I don't know about you, but my lawn has been on vacation for most of the month of July. As it slumbers, it is dry and brown. This dormant stage is your turf's way of survival. When it is too dry, it will do what it can to conserve any bit of food or moisture it gets.

If you want a lush, green lawn, a regular supply of water is essential. But figuring out how much can be a little tricky. If your lawn is really dry like mine, then any water is helpful. But if you want to get a bit more scientific with it, you will want to give it enough water to soak into the entire root layer. For most types of turf, that means the top six to eight inches to keep the root zone wet.

Let your sprinkler run for 30 minutes, then wait about 18 hours. This will let that water soak into the top layer of your lawn. Use a spade to slice through the sod and see how far down the water has penetrated. Hopefully, the water will have soaked into that top six to eight inch root zone. If it is patchy or still dry, you will know it takes longer than a half hour to get that entire layer wet.

If you are lucky enough to have a little sand in your soil, then you many not have to water as long or as often. About an inch of water can penetrate about 12 inches with sandy soil. Heavy clay soils can be a bit more stubborn. An inch of water may only sink in about four inches.

Fixer upper

I've heard many neighbors belly-aching about their lawns and saying they think they need to replant the entire yard. Hold on to your rototiller. Many lawns that haven't had regular irrigation can still snap out of their dormancy.

Before making plans to fire up the rototiller and rip up the dead grass, wait until late September. The cooler temperatures will give your turf some relief. The early fall weather should bring a more regular supply of rain.

But if you can't revive it after some garden CPR, then you will have to give up and start over. Look across the yard and if less than a third of your turf is still dead, then just rake up those areas and patch the bare spots. If you have more dead patches than good lawn, then, you may consider reseeding the entire lawn.

This seems drastic step, but the weather will be on your side. Dig out the dead grass, rake out all of the clumps and debris, leaving only lightly tilled top soil. Mix in some composted manure, then seed it with a good quality mixture of seed that it is customized for the type of sunlight in your yard. If you have shade, pick shade loving seed like bluegrass. If you have a lot of sun, stick with a mix of perennial rye.

If you keep it lightly watered, your new seeds will start to sprout in just 10 days and you can baby it a little longer until frost. Then, you should have lush links just like Highland Meadows. Well, maybe pretty close.

Contact Kelly Heidbreder at getgrowing@gmail.com.



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