CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Homeowners often wonder if they are making the right decisions in their yards. Charles Harris, owner of Sandhill Turf in Candor, NC, co-founder of Buy Sod, Inc., and co-founder of Harmony Brands shared some advice with WBTV News Saturday Morning viewers about choosing the right type of sod and properly caring for it.
His advice follows:
How to pick the right sod
Choosing the right sod doesn't have to be confusing. All you need to know is how you want your grass to function. For those high-wear areas where you'll be playing croquet and fetch with the dog, just ask your retailer for Play; for normal-wear areas where you'll just be relaxing in a hammock, the ideal is versatile Home; and for the sides of the house or less-than-full-sun areas that get low amounts of sunlight, just ask for Shade.
Know your soil type. Is it loamy? Sandy? Clay? This will help determine your watering frequency, as some soil types retain water better than others.
Choose the right time to water. Early morning and late evening are generally the best times, so that you won't lose water to evaporation or wind. Your city or county may also have water conservation measures that restrict watering times. If that's the case, check with your county extension service for additional irrigation tips.
Make sure your lawn gets ¾ inch of water each watering session. We like the tuna can approach to measuring. Place empty tuna cans at various points, all within range of your sprinkler system. Run your sprinklers for 30 minutes. Then measure how much water is in each can. If you've collected about ¾ inch of water, then you know you need to water for 30 minutes. If it's more or less, then calculate how much you need to adjust your watering times.
Use a screwdriver to measure water penetration. Water should penetrate the soil by 8 to 10 inches after each watering session. Push a screwdriver into the turf. Measure how far it goes in.
Check each sprinkler head. Examine the position and calibration to ensure that you're watering your grass, and not the patio or driveway. While you're at it, look for leaking or broken sprinkler heads.
Mulching and fertilizing tips
Mulch any landscaping surrounding your lawn. Mulching helps reduce weeds, which can spread into your turf.
Fertilize during the growing season. Check with your county extension office to determine the proper fertilizer and application schedule for your specific turf type.
Keep your grass about three inches high. Higher grass has deeper, more extensive root systems. Grass that is mowed too short will put all of its energy into growing the blades instead of the roots. Maintaining higher grass also shades out weeds, and helps your lawn retain water.
Remove no more than one-third of the grass blade with each mowing. You may need to mow more often during the active growing season.
Leave grass clippings on the lawn. They will return nutrients to the soil.
Keep your mower blade sharp. This will help avoid torn, brown edges on the grass blades.