A GOOD EXCUSE

The establishment season has officially begun for cool-season turfgrass regions. I generally have to reseed my one-acre home lawn every year. Yeah I know, as associate publisher and editorial director of Grounds Maintenance magazine and more than 35 years in this industry, my neighbors should view my lawn as the epitome of perfection — a uniform, verdant green with no weeds, no bare spots and no insect or disease damage. I must confess, this is not the case. O.K., it looks better than most lawns in the neighborhood, but it is not perfect.

When asked, I offer these explanations for my imperfect lawn:

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  1. I am using it as a test plot to evaluate local weed, disease and insect pressure and efficacy of curative approaches.

  2. I'm evaluating the adaptive features of a number of cool-season turfgrass blends and mixtures under non-irrigated, transition-zone conditions.

  3. I stress my turf to the extreme so that I can compare renovation techniques and the equipment of various turf manufacturers.

  4. I abuse my turf so that I can photograph it and use the photos in Grounds Maintenance as examples of turf problems.

I come up with new excuses every year so that my neighbors don't get tired of the same old ones. Let me know if you have heard any other excuses that I might be able to use.

But this year is different: I won't be renovating or reseeding. In the Midwest, we have been blessed with cool weather and ample rain at well-timed intervals to keep my lawn from its usual decline. This poses a problem for me — I won't have distressed turf to rely on for photos and evaluation. I guess I'll have to paint the house this year instead of reseeding.

Speaking of seeding, Hank Wilkinson provides his views on new and different turfgrasses and where we are headed. Why is it that there are thousands of grasses, but only a relative handful are suitable as turf? Wilkinson answers this and many more questions in the opening feature “The Next Big Thing” on page 10.

If your turf is beyond renovation and must be re-established, there are a couple of articles in this issue that will especially interest you — ”Chemical Update: Non-Selective Herbicides” on page 44 and “Successful Sodding” on page 32. The Chemical Update provides you with a comprehensive list of non-selective herbicides and fumigants for cleaning up your site prior to re-establishment. Steve McGuirk, ASLA, provides a step-by-step approach to improving your success with sod.

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