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How do we improve the turf quality of our association’s turf?

Many homeowner associations in the mid-Atlantic region have poor quality turf. There are many reasons for this. High clay content, low organic material, back filling at construction time with construction debris, rocky soil, sandy soil, compaction, poor drainage are the biggest contributing factors.

Community Landscape Services takes a common-sense approach to improving the chances of making your turf look its best.

Step 1:

Community Landscape Services begins with taking soil samples to determine the pH of the soil and different nutrient analysis which are helpful for the fertilization and liming management. Some tests report organic matter along with other pertinent information.

If the pH is not in the correct range, fertilization is a waste of time and money as the acidic environment affects the absorption of the nutrients in the soil.

Step 2:

Translating the soil sample results and applying them to your site.

Once the right pH and chemical balances are understood, we look at compaction, soil composition, sun and shade exposure.

Step 3:

In most cases we will recommend, rototilling designated areas to a depth of 4-6” to loosen soil and removing unwanted debris, grading the area with York and hand rakes, applying 10-12 pounds of seed selected for each designated area, and adding ¼ - ½” compost to the disturbed and seeded area.

This process allows for substantial root development, drainage and airflow.

Once the seed has germinated, proper care and maintenance ensues.

The association will end up with a heathy stand of turf. Additional watering is always helpful but difficult. Healthy turf responds by going dormant in hot, dry conditions and bounces back with moisture and cooler temperatures.

The mowing process is also critical. We often see far too many communities cutting their grass too frequently and too short. This is detrimental to the overall health of your turf. Turfgrass leaf above ground closely corresponds with the roots below ground. Mowing at 3.5-4” allows the turf to shade out some weed seed and not become overly stressed. It is better to not stress the lawn by mowing too often or too short in wet and dry conditions.

This process works! There is very little return on investment with aeration and seeding, which is common in many specifications. Poorly irrigated soil conditions are not conducive to pulling cores in August and September, and 4-6 pounds of seed per 1000 square feet is inadequate.

Rutting, tracking and scalping are not good for turf. They expose bare soil areas that may become receptive to weed seeds, and erosion is also an issue.

In summary, the Professionals at Community Landscape Services will work with you to achieve your goals. This takes more work and effort than most specifications call for, but it is the most successful way to establish a lush, healthy turf for the community.


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