5 Turf Management Tips You Need to Know

[fa icon="calendar"] Sat, 11/28/2015 - 11:00 / by Lynn Tootle


Have you ever watched a sporting event and looked at the turf in the stadium or arena and wondered to yourself “how much time do the groundskeepers spend preparing for these events?” We have, and we’re here to share the top 5 turf management tips we know!

Use Plenty of Fertilizer

When choosing fertilizer for your turf, make sure to choose a variety with a high first ratio number. This number is indicative of the percentage of nitrogen found in the fertilizer, which helps enhance the growth of leaf blades.

The other two numbers in a typical fertilizer ratio represent phosphorous and potassium, which both play important roles in blade growth. A helpful way to understand the best fertilizer is to measure your soil to determine the pre-existing nutrients already present, and then add to it and balance it out to healthy levels using your fertilizer.

In the Southern United States, fertilizing at forty-day intervals from April through September is ideal. Luckily for us, the fertilization process tends to start and end when we start experiencing heavier rainfall, which helps the soil.

Water Regularly

Water your turf regularly with water that has a low salt content, and determine the best irrigation strategy for your soil. If you’re planning to use subsurface irrigation, install the lines before the dry summer months start to make sure your soil is receiving optimal moisture and that the grass can grow over the trench before play begins.

If you’re using above-ground irrigation, make sure that the irrigation heads have overlapping coverage so no areas are missed, and since strong winds can influence the way the water is distributed. Irrigate after fertilization to soak the roots, and be sure to check the moisture depth periodically with a soil probe.

Aerate, aerate, aerate!


Aeration is the method of moving and fracturing the soil to ensure that it is receiving proper air and rainfall down into the root zone. Soil compacts easily around stationary playground equipment and anywhere else which experiences a lot of foot traffic.

Extra footfalls and activity on your soil cause compaction, and heavy use doesn’t leave a lot of time for the grass to actually grow and repair itself. Regular aeration can help aid this pesky issue.

Use the Right Mowing Methods

When mowing your grass, be sure to use a mower with a sharp rotary blade or a reel-type mower blade. This is an important step, as using the wrong blade can undo months of your hard work fertilizing, watering and aerating the soil because a dull blade tears the leaves, making them pale. Even worse, a dull reel-type mower blade can pull the leaf blades and stems away from the roots of the plants.

The most important part of this process is timing. Understanding when to fertilize, aerate, mow and water, and how each steps affects each other, is key to maintaining eye-catching turf.


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Topics: lawn care

Lynn Tootle

Written by Lynn Tootle

K. Lynn Tootle is the General Manager of GroMasters Inc., a division of TideWater Landscape Management Inc. Lynn is a certified arborist and turf grass professional, a past president of the Coastal Landscape and Turf Professional Association and a graduate of the Urban Ag Leadership program. He graduated from Clemson University in 1999 with a BS in Wildlife Biology and a minor in Forest Resources.

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