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Jan 19 @ 11:40 am

Similar to dormant trees and shrubs, warm-season sod can be successfully installed during the off-season, October through April. And with the proper preparation and care, in some areas it is even possible to successfully establish sod during the winter.

Low temperature injury is one of the main problems associated with off-season installations. According to the University of Georgia (UGA) Extension office, if you live north of Atlanta, it may be wise to wait until early spring to avoid low temperature injury to new sod. However, if you live in or south of Atlanta, barring an unusually cold year, successful winter sodding is possible.

Preparation & Care

Proper preparation is important for establishing new sod any time of year, but particularly during the off-season. UGA Extension experts recommend the following tips for fall, winter or early spring installations.

man installing sod on lawn
  • Have your soil tested for pH and nutrients. Add any amendments, such as lime, sulfur, phosphorus or potassium, prior to installation.
  • Till the area to loosen the soil down to a depth of six inches.
  • Level, smooth and lightly water the area but do not saturate it.
  • Install the sections of sod tightly against one another and roll them to increase root-to-soil contact and minimize creases.
  • Extreme dryness, known as desiccation, is another dormant sod killer. Do not overwater, but do ensure the new sod gets at least an inch of water from rain or irrigation each week.
  • Do not fertilize until overnight lows consistently remain in the mid-60s. Then fertilize with 1 to 1.5 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.

Painted Sod

If you’re planning to install dormant sod, you don’t have to wait for spring to enjoy a green lawn. NGTurf’s painted sod provides a striking green lawn from day one. Whether for a new home or for a landscaping project, the vibrant, natural color of our painted sod adds instant curb appeal with lush green grass that will make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood.

  • Green:

    Painted sod arrives green and stays green for two to three months.

  • Family friendly:

    The green pigment is nontoxic, making it absolutely safe for children, pets and wildlife.

  • Eco-friendly:

    Our painted sod is free of harsh chemicalsbiodegradable and 100% environmentally safe.

tractor painting a dormant sod field green

 

  • Mess-free:

    The sod arrives dry and colorfast, so there is no mess, and the vibrant green color won’t bleed or fade

  • Convenient:

    Painted sod installs like any other sod, with all the convenience of a dormant sod, but with no overseeding necessary.

one year NG Turf sod warranty seal

Questions?

If you have any questions about installing sod off-season or about our painted sod, contact our Certified Turfgrass Professionals at 770.832.8608 or  info@NGTurf.com. 

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As the trees turn golden and the weather starts to cool, autumn provides more than just a scenic backdrop; it offers a vital window to prep your lawn for the coming year. Soil testing in the fall is an essential part of this process, and it’s one that can have a significant impact on the health and appearance of your grass come springtime. At NG Turf, we believe in empowering our clients with the knowledge to keep their turf lush and green all year round. 

Why Soil Test in the Fall?

Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking that lawn care is a spring and summer activity. While those seasons are important for maintenance, the groundwork (pun intended) for a thriving lawn is laid in the fall. Here’s why fall soil testing can make a difference: 

Lower Activity Levels

In the colder months, both plants and pests are less active. This makes fall the perfect time to assess soil conditions without the noise of active growth or infestations. 

Time to Amend

After testing, it takes time to adjust the soil’s pH and nutrient levels. The fall allows ample time for any amendments to take effect before the growing season begins. 

 

Professional Insight

Fall soil testing provides a snapshot of your lawn’s health, giving experts time to analyze the results and offer tailored advice before spring comes. 


Click to learn more about
how to soil test your lawn. 
 

What Does Soil Testing Measure?

Soil testing typically evaluates several factors critical to lawn health: 

  • pH Levels: An imbalanced pH can lock away essential nutrients. Most types of turfgrass thrive in slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 6-7). 

  • Nutrient Levels: Macronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are vital for grass growth. Testing will identify any deficiencies or surpluses. 

  • Organic Matter: Healthy soil contains a good amount of organic matter for water retention and fertility. 

  • Trace Elements: Elements like calcium, magnesium, and sulfur play a role in overall plant health. 

Steps to Take After Testing 

  • pH Adjustment
    If the soil is too acidic or alkaline, lime or sulfur can be applied to balance it out.

  • Nutrient Boosting
    A tailored fertilizer can fill in the gaps where your soil is lacking in essential nutrients.

  • Organic Amendments
    If your soil tests low in organic matter, adding compost or manure can improve structure and fertility.

  • Consult the Pros
    If the test reveals more severe issues, like heavy metal contamination, it may be time to consult professionals for remediation options. 

Fall soil testing is not just an item on your autumn to-do list; it’s an investment in the year-round health and beauty of your lawn. By identifying imbalances and deficiencies early on, you’ll be well-equipped to make informed decisions that will yield a lush, green lawn in the spring. And that’s something worth falling for. 

 

Questions?

Don’t leave your lawn’s health to chance. If you have questions or concerns about soil testing, fertilization, or any other aspect of lawn care, give our Certified Turfgrass Professionals a call at 770.832.8608 or email at info@NGTurf.com.  

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Sports are a big deal in our culture – from Little League baseball to the Super Bowl and all the way to the Olympics. Often times, the field on which the game is played is overlooked by players and fans alike. Maintaining an athletic field requires time, effort, and precision that most people don’t even consider. The next time you’re at a game, take a look around and appreciate all the work that went into making sure the field is just right. 

Factors to Consider

There are a number of factors to consider when selecting the best type of grass for outdoor sports. Different sports have different requirements of the grass on which they are played. In order to meet those requirements, one will need to consider common concerns such as durabilityrecovery, consistency, resistance to pests and disease, and even how well it performs in shady areas.  

 
 

Factors to Consider When Selecting Sod for Athletic Fields

  • Durability
  • Recovery
  • Consistency
  • Drought Resistance
  • Resistance to Pests and Disease
  • Shade Performance

Best Grass Type by Sport

Each sport is unique as they utilize the playing field in different ways and therefore it is important to understand which types of grasses are best for each sport.  

 

Football

In football, there is less contact between the ball and the grass than in other sports, so grass consistency is less important. However, due to players wearing cleats and the roughness of the sport, the grass can take a beating, making traffic tolerance and recovery extremely important.

In the northern United States and the transition zone, there are three primary types of cool-season grasses used for football fields: bluegrass, tall fescue, and perennial ryegrass.

grass zone map

In the South, Bermudagrass is most commonly used for football fields. If the athletic field or stadium gets full sun, Bermuda is the way to go. 

 

Golf

Golf is a sport that is heavily dependent on the quality of its grass playing surface. In fact, golf uses more different types of grass than any other sport. Every aspect of the game, from the club you use to the way you swing, is heavily influenced by the type and quality of the grass on the course.

Golf course grasses have a large impact on a player’s golfing experience. A number of grass types are used on golf courses, each with its own pros and cons. The types of grasses differ from region to region in their ability to withstand both cold and heat.

In the Southern United States, Bermudagrasszoysia, and fescue are commonly used on golf courses. Of these three, Bermuda is most often used due to its ability to withstand wear and tear. You can commonly find Bermuda on putting greens due to its fast recovery rate. 

On golf courses it is important to have varying lengths of grass around the course. Bermuda is very receptive to being mowed at a variety of heights, making it a top contender. 

In the North, bluegrass and perennial ryegrass are commonly used for fairways and tees. 

 

Multi-Sport

Let’s face it, many recreational fields are multi-sport fields, where football, soccer, lacrosse, and rugby are all played on the same surface. Luckily, most sports have similar requirements where traffic tolerance and damage repair rates are the most important factors. 

Bermudagrass is one of the best grass types for multi-sport athletic fields and grows well in the South and the transition zone. Bermuda is dense, fast-growing, and repairs itself quickly. Not only is Bermudagrass durable, and user-friendly for the intense wear of sports it also has a fast spring green-up. 

During winter months, dormant Bermuda can be overseeded with perennial ryegrass to provide year-round use. 

 

Baseball

When walking into a ballpark one of the first things that catches your eye is the lush, green, perfectly maintained grass spreading across the field. 

Bermudagrass is perfect for ballparks in hotter, drier areas since it is dense, has excellent traffic tolerance, and quickly recovers from injury. The most commonly used type of Bermudagrass for ballparks is Tifway 419

baseball fields installed with TifWay 419 bermuda sod, atlanta georiga
one year NG Turf sod warranty seal

At NG Turf we offer a wide range of sod for sale, including many different grass varieties. Whether you are looking for bluegrass for a football field or Bermudagrass for a golf course our Certified Turfgrass Professionals can help you evaluate your unique athletic field needs and choose the best grass variety to suit your specific sport. Give us a call at 770-832-8608 or email info@NGTurf.com. 

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When it comes to your lawn,
 gardening, or landscaping projects it’s important to know the difference between lawn soil and topsoil. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are actually quite different. Let’s take a look at the key differences and similarities between the two.

Composition, Density, and Nutritional Content

Composition

Lawn soil is composed of rocks, clay, and compacted dirt, whereas topsoil contains loose dirt, sand, healthy microbes, and organic matter.  

 

Density + Nutritional Content

Lawn soil is denser and more compact than topsoil. Topsoil’s looser density allows it to better absorb nutrients from the sun, air, and water.

 

Lawn Soil

Lawn soil often contains rocks, clay, and compacted dirt making it dense and heavy. Using too much lawn soil when attempting to establish new grass in your yard can limit growth and cause drainage issues. Rocks and clay contained in lawn soil can impede drainage and slow grass growth. 

Lawn soil is often sold in bulk to fill large holes and level soil on commercial and residential properties.  

lawn soil
topsoil

Topsoil

Topsoil contains loose dirt, sand, healthy microbes and other organic materialsTopsoil is packed with nutrients and is much less dense than lawn soil, making it better able to absorb nutrients from the water, sun, and air. Its loose and lightweight properties make topsoil perfect to encourage new root growth in lawns and gardens.  Sand typically found in topsoil helps promote filtration and water retention.  
 
Topsoil is readily available at garden and home improvement stores.

Lawn Soil vs Topsoil: When to Use?

While both soil types are used in lawns and gardens, determining how much lawn soil and topsoil to use can be tricky – too much of either soil type can produce undesirable results. However, by combining the two soils in the right proportions, you can achieve optimal results.  

Each soil type serves a specific purpose. Rocks and clay in typical lawn soil often create less than desirable conditions for growing new grass making topsoil essential. In contrast, adding too much topsoil can cause root suffocation and drainage problems. Excessive topsoil can also leave soft, uneven spots in the lawn leading to fungal growth, mold, and weeds. 

 
 

Lawn Soil vs Topsoil: Commonly Used

  • The general rule of thumb is to use topsoil for the top 3-6 inches of the lawn.
  • Lawn soil is often used to fill large holes and level soil on commercial and residential properties. 
 
 

Aeration

If soil is too compact or contains too much clay, topsoil can be mixed into the exiting lawn soil. This process aerates the soil and helps to cycle the nutrients.  If soil is too compact or filled with clay – till until loose, then add topsoil and rake into existing lawn soil. 

Over time, topsoil naturally changes to lawn soil as it becomes compacted and saturated. 

rake clearing soil of rocks and sticks in preparation for new sod
wheelbarrow full of compost for topdressing lawn

Topdressing

Spreading a thin layer of topsoil, knowing as topdressing, annually helps rejuvenate the lawn’s soil while allowing existing grass to grow through. 

Soil Testing

The soil under your lawn feeds your grass, shrubs and trees, and over time, important nutrients become depleted, affecting the health of your grass and other plants. 

In addition, your soil’s pH level may become too acidic or too alkaline to support healthy growth. Testing your soil gives you detailed information, so you can feed your grass, shrubs and trees the balanced diet they need for optimum health.  

soil testing bags from local extension office

Always test your soil before laying new sod or planting new trees or shrubs. For established lawns and landscapes, the rule of thumb is to test every two to three years before fertilizing in the spring. 

Home testing kits are available at home and garden centers, but for a small fee, you can send soil samples through your local extension service for thorough testing and expert recommendations. 

one year NG Turf sod warranty seal

Questions?

Have more questions about caring for your lawn? The Certified Turfgrass Professionals at NG Turf are happy to answer any lawn care questions you may have. Give us a call at 770-832-8608 or email info@NGTurf.com. 

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Ask any homeowner and they will likely tell you that weeds are the biggest nuisance in the yard. Most of the unwanted vegetation that populates our lawns in early spring actually gets its start in the fall and grows through the winter. The best way to control these winter lawn crashers is to stop them before they start with pre-emergent herbicides.

gardener spraying preemergent herbicide to prevent weeds in lawn

Pre-emergents work by killing seedlings after they germinate but before they emerge through the surface of the soil. Fall is prime time to keep winter weeds from ever breaking ground. Treating early ensures fewer weeds sprout, producing fewer seeds. With pre-emergent herbicide in the fall, your lawn’s weed population will be significantly reduced come spring.

When to Apply Pre-emergent Herbicide

Because these herbicides don’t work on seeds or on plants that have already emerged, timing is important. Too early and the seeds won’t have germinated. Too late and the plants will already be up.

  • To control winter weeds like annual bluegrass, henbit and common chickweed, the University of Georgia (UGA) Extension Service recommends applying pre-emergent herbicide when temperatures fall between 65° and 70°F at night.

  • For spring weeds like crabgrass and goosegrass, re-apply in February or March before soil temperatures reach 55°F.

How to Apply Pre-emergent Herbicide

Pre-emergent herbicides are available in both spreadable granules and sprayable options. Both need to be applied evenly across the lawn to work effectively. Most homeowners find the granules easiest to apply, but if you opt for the sprayable type, be sure to read the instructions carefully and mix accurately.

man with pump sprayer of pre emergent
hands holding pre emergent spreadable granules
 

According to the UGA Extension Service, pre-emergents will not harm most established turf grasses, flowers, shrubs and trees. WARNING: Pre-emergent herbicides can severely damage newly seeded lawns. If you have a new or freshly over-seeded lawn, wait until the grass has been established for a full year before applying pre-emergents.

Year-Round Weed Control

Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet capable of eradicating the endless variety of insidious and persistent weeds. Although pre-emergents will not win every battle against every weed, they should be the mainstay of your arsenal. For the most common invasive weeds, applying pre-emergent herbicides twice a year will go a long way toward keeping your lawn beautiful year-round.

one year NG Turf sod warranty seal

If you have additional questions about weed or herbicides, our Certified Turfgrass Professionals at NG Turf are happy to answer any lawn care questions you may have. Give us a call at 770-832-8608 or email info@NGTurf.com. 

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The first day of fall on September 22 ushers in cooler weather, or at least the promise of it, and also signals shifts in cultural practices for turfgrass professionals. Fall is a crucial transition time for both warm and cool season grasses, and expert care given now will benefit grasses not only for the fall but well into next spring and summer.

Soil Testing

“One of the least expensive things professionals can do that has the biggest impact on turfgrass is to collect soil samples for testing,” said Jutt Howard, NG Turf VP of Business Operations. As an example, Howard points out the common mistake of waiting too long to apply lime on warm season lawns. “It takes several months for lime to lower acidity levels, so soil test and apply any recommended lime now in order to give turfgrass a stronger start in the spring.”

soil testing bags from local extension office

Merett Alexander,NG Turf’s VP of Golf Course Sales agreed, emphasizing the importance of soil testing for proper fertility. “You can fertilize, but it will be wasted if the pH is out of balance because the grass won’t be able to absorb the nutrients properly.”

Established lawns with balanced pH require soil testing every two years, but experts recommend soil testing for new lawns or acidic soils once per year until the proper pH balance is sustained. In addition, testing every year is an easy way to tailor fertility for optimum benefit and plant vigor—exactly what every turfgrass pro works to achieve.

Fall Fertility

Warm season grasses transition from growing season to dormancy during fall, indicating a change in fertility application. “Although you want to pull back on nitrogen going into the fall, now is a great time to apply phosphorus,” Howard explains.

Nitrogen encourages top growth, interfering with the transition to dormancy when warm season grasses typically shift from top growth to energy storage in the roots, rhizomes and stalons. Phosphorus promotes root growth, however, helping turfgrass prepare to survive winter months.

On the other hand, cool season turfgrasses, like tall fescue and bluegrass varieties, are just gearing up for their peak growing season, so fall is prime time for nitrogen-rich fertility application. Again, soil testing will give you the exact formula for amending the soil to achieve optimum growth and overall turfgrass health.

Southern Blue sod variety from NG Turf

Winter Weeds

Fall is also time to get the jump on winter weeds. A fall and a spring application of pre-emergent herbicide will significantly reduce weed propagation throughout the year. Because these herbicides don’t work on seeds or on plants that have already emerged, timing is important. Too early and the seeds won’t have germinated. Too late and the plants will already be up.

tall, unsightly weeds next to a sidewalk, best time to fertilize lawn

To control prevalent weeds like annual bluegrass, henbit and common chickweed, the Unviersity of Georgia (UGA) Extension Service recommends applying pre-emergent herbicide when temperatures fall between 65° and 70°F at night.

For spring weeds like crabgrass and goosegrass, re-apply in February or March before soil temperatures reach 55°F.

Pest Control

fall armyworm on blade of grass

Armyworms

As their name suggests, fall armyworms usually appear in early fall, but they may show up as early as July or August, feeding on all turf varieties.

Armyworms harm grasses by chewing the plant tissue and creating ugly web patterns in the leaves. The armyworm larvae strip foliage in one area of a lawn and move as a group, to the next source of food, leaving significant damage in their wake. Application of Bt insecticides, which are nontoxic to humans, offers the best control to eradicate the caterpillars without harming beneficial insects.

fire ant on blade of grass

Fireants

Fire ants may pose no real threat to turfgrass lawns, other than their unsightly dirt mounds, but they do pose a threat to humans and animals. Because fire ant colonies thrive in extensive underground tunnels with up to half a million ants and multiple queens per acre, wiping them out entirely is nearly impossible.

The most effective method for control is to apply broadcast bait each fall and spring. Spread bait in a four-foot radius on and around the mounds, being careful not to disturb the ants in the process. For persistent mounds, follow up with liquid insecticide poured down into the center of the mound. Once activity ceases, the mounds can be safely knocked down.

one year NG Turf sod warranty seal

Questions?

Have more questions about caring for your lawn in fall? The Certified Turfgrass Professionals at NG Turf are happy to answer any lawn care questions you may have. Give us a call at 770-832-8608 or email info@NGTurf.com. 

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If you’re a dog owner, you probably already know dogs are hard on grass. Even if you have a magically well behaved dog who does its business and then plays quietly on the lawn, your grass can still sustain damage. Let’s take a look at some of the best grass for dogs.

When it comes to tough grasses, Bermuda tops the chart. This warm season grass is wear resistant, which means it will stand up to fido’s running, jumping and playing without showing as much wear and tear. And if your dog digs or scratches at the ground or simply urinates, and causes damage, Bermuda recovers quicker than other species by spreading to fill in bare spots.

Choosing the Best Sod Variety Bermuda TifTuf sod dogs on lawn
 
Tiftuf certified bermuda sod logo

TifTuf™, one of the hardiest Bermudagrass varieties, not only offers great wear resistance and recovery, it also keeps its green color while using 38 percent less water. Exceptional drought tolerance and low maintenance make TifTuf a top choice among homeowners.

 

If your lawn is partially shady, however, zoysia provides a better solution than Bermuda, which can struggle in shady spots. Zoysia, another warm season grass offers medium high to high wear tolerance and shade tolerance. Plus, like Bermuda, zoysia is dog friendly, spreading to recover from damage that your fuzzy family member might cause.

freshly laid lawn of zoysia sod
 
zeon zoysia logo

Zeon®, a high performance zoysia, features higher shade tolerance and wear tolerance than other zoysia varieties. It also provides more disease and drought resistant. Zeon also requires less fertilizer to maintain a strong, healthy lawn.

 

Two brand new hybrids now give homeowners hardy grass options for green lawns year round. Cool season grasses Southern Blue™ and Sunbelt Blue™, which are crosses between Texas and Kentucky bluegrass, offer the best shade tolerance of any species in our area. It is a more durable grass than tall fescue and also recovers without overseeding—two important features for pet owners.

Southern Blue Bluegrass sod
 
Southern Blue logo
sunbelt blue

Unlike tall fescue, these innovative new bluegrasses can spread horizontally, allowing them to repair damage on their own. They are also designed for enhanced heat and drought resistance. For a year round green lawn with pets, Southern Blue and Sunbelt Blue are the best options in our area.

 
 

Of course the best way to keep your lawn free of damage from pets is to build a dog run where they can pee, poo and play to their hearts content while the rest of the yard remains pristine. Read more about this and other helpful tips in our post How to Protect Your Lawn from Dog Urine.

one year NG Turf sod warranty seal

Questions?

And as always, if you have questions about planting sod or growing grass, contact our Certified Turfgrass Professionals at 770-832-8608 or email info@NGTurf.com. 

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Contractors and sod producers across the Southeast are excited about a new cool season turf option that is specifically bred for the transition zone.  Fescue has been the standard for decades but maintaining acceptable turf quality during the summer has always been a challenge resulting in the need to overseed each fall.  

Turf Breeders set out over 15 years ago to find a better suited cultivar and after years of research and trials, two new bluegrasses are coming to market.  Southern Blue is now available for sale and another is in process of being released. 

Southern Blue Versus Tall Fescue

Southern Blue was developed through a partnership between Texas A&M and NG Turf. It is a cross between Kentucky bluegrass and Texas bluegrass, giving homeowners another sod option for a year round green lawn.

Southern Blue and tall fescue share many attributes, however Southern Blue is clearly the best cool season grass for our area, here in the transition zone.

 
grass zone map
 

Differences

Rhizome Root System

The biggest difference between Southern Blue and fescue is found underground. Southern Blue’s root system includes rhizomes, which are like horizontal stems growing under the soil surface. The grass plants shoot up to the surface along these rhizomes, and as the rhizomes spread, new grass plants form. Fescue does not have rhizomes, so each tuft of grass is its own separate plant.

rhizomes

Recovery

Because it can regenerate by creating new grass plants along its rhizomes, Southern Blue can more easily recover from damage and wear. If a fescue lawn sustains damage, it cannot regenerate and must be reseeded or repaired with pieces of new sod to repair the area, costing money and time.

Heat and Drought Resistance

While all cool season grasses slow down and go into a somewhat dormant state in the summer months Southern Blue is in a league of its on. With proper irrigation it possesses a greater ability than fescue to withstand summer heat and drought conditions in the transition zone. 

Similarities

Cool Season Grass

Southern Blue is a cool season grass like fescue, doing the majority of its growth in the cooler temperatures of spring and fall. These grasses do not go dormant during winter, but their growth slows significantly during the cold of winter and heat of summer.

Leaf Blades

Because they are cool season varieties, both Southern Blue and tall fescue keep their dark green color all year rather than going brown in winter. Both offer medium texture blades that perform best at heights of two to four inches.

Shade Tolerance

Just like fescue, Southern Blue tolerates shaded areas well, making it a great choice for yards with sun to partial shade.

Questions?

Southern Blue logo

If you are interested in a Southern Blue lawn, contact our Certified Turfgrass Professionals at 770.832.8608 or info@NGTurf.com.

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Here in the Southeast, winters aren’t nearly as harsh as in other regions, but home landscape enthusiasts and professionals still must prepare for cold weather. Winterizing lawn equipment by following these tips ensures we’ll be ready when next spring calls us back into the yard.

Power Equipment

Once the leaves finish falling, it’s time to ready your power tools for winter storage.

For gas-powered equipment:

  • Drain the fuel by running the engine out gas, or fill the tank with fresh gas and add a fuel stabilizer. If you opt for the latter, use as much fresh gas as possible since gas older than 30 days cannot be properly stabilized. Run the engine for a few minutes to get the fresh gas through the engine.

  • Replace the oil with fresh and change oil and air filters.

  • Check all nuts and bolts to be sure none have vibrated loose.

  • Inspect wheels, belts and other moving parts, replacing any that appear worn or cracked.

  • Move batteries and chargers for battery operated equipment indoors rather than leaving them in the garage for the winter. Exposure to winter’s temperature fluctuations shortens battery life and may cause premature failure. Carefully coil any power cords and store in a garage or shed.

  • If a recent mowing left your grass with a ragged appearance, it’s time to remove the blade and have it sharpened. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions for recommended sharpening techniques, or find a local shop to sharpen the blade for you.

Hand Shears and Cutting Tool

  • Clean your shears and loppers with steel wool and mineral spirits or a foaming-type bathroom cleaner.

  • Check the tension screws and sharpen blades using a broad file only. Beware — using a power grinder may cause metal blades to overheat and lose their tempering, making them more likely to chip or break.

  • Clean garden hand tools with dishwashing liquid and dry thoroughly. Smooth any rusted spots with steel wool or a wire brush, and sharpen blades of shovels and hoes with a file.

  • Apply a light coat of multi-purpose oil to all metal surfaces, and treat any wooden handles to a coat of linseed oil.
hand held pruning shears trimming rose bush

Hoses and Sprinkler Systems

  • Drain garden hoses by lifting them overhead one section at a time until empty.

  • Check for leaks and repair or replace damaged sections.

  • Replace any worn washers you see, and then store your hoses in a garage or shed out of the sun. Exposure to UV light reduces a hose’s usable lifespan.

  • Drain and store hoses after each use throughout late fall and winter.

  • For an in-ground irrigation system, consider hiring a professional to protect it from freezing. For most homeowners it is well worth the moderate cost. The process requires careful calibration of an air compressor to avoid damaging in-ground sprinklers.

  • Clean pressure washers, too, making sure their pumps function properly before storing.

Pots and Containers

  • Don’t forget about these lovelies. As soon as your potted plants die back, empty, wash and sterilize the containers with a 4-to-1 ratio of water to bleach.

  • Store pots in a shed or garage to keep them dry. They will be ready for refilling next spring.
garden pots in the tool shed for winter
 

Questions?

Whitesburg, GA sod near me

If you have questions or need more information about preparing for winter, contact our Certified Turfgrass Professionals at 770.832.8608 or email at info@NGTurf.com.

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Fall armyworms are grass eating caterpillars that, as their name indicates, move in large groups and can cause significant damage to lawns, especially if new sod was recently installed. Find out more about fall armyworms, how to identify them, and how you can get rid of them if they are dining on your grass. 

What are Fall Armyworms?

The fall armyworm is the most common cause of damage in turfgrass on golf courses, athletic fields, and home lawns. The fall armyworm arrives in the southern United States  almost every year and can rapidly damage previously healthy grasses.

Armyworms are the caterpillar (or larvae) of a small brownish-gray moth that moves north from Florida each spring and summer. 

Since the armyworm can not survive even mild winters, it reinfests the southern states of the US all over each year.  It takes time for generations of these moths to spread from south to north, which is why armyworms typically appear in late summer and early fall, hence the name fall armyworm.

fall armyworm on blade of new sod

*Be sure to pay close attention to your lawn for armyworm activity every year from July until the first frost.  

Armyworm Life Cycle

armyworm life cycle chart
 

Armyworms have four stages of life: egg > larvae > pupae > adult

Stage 1: Egg

armyworm egg mass on a leaf

Adult armyworm moths fly and mate at night. The female will lay eggs in batches of a few dozen to several hundreds. The eggs are small, white and laid in clusters. 

The female does not discriminate when choosing a place to lay her eggs. Eggs are known to be to be found on just about anything; the underside of tree leaves, fences, bleachers, water coolers, light poles, even golf flags.

Stage 2: Larvae

After only a few days the eggs hatch and the caterpillars (larvae) feed and grow for 2-3 weeks. Armyworms feed throughout the day but are typically most active early in the morning and late in the evenings . 

The larvae phase is when the caterpillar cause damage to grasses and plants. 

armyworm larvae on a green leaf

Stage 3: Pupae

armyworm pupa on a leaf

Once the larvae are full grown they will burrow into the soil 1-2 inches and form the pupal stage. The pupal stages lasts between 11 to 13 days. Pupae are smooth and reddish brown in color. 

Stage 4: Adult Moth

Adults then emerge to mate and lay eggs. Adults typically live about 2 weeks. There will be several generations each year. 

armyworm moth in lawn

How to Identify Armyworms

  • Fall armyworm caterpillars range in color from yellow-green, green, or shades of brown to grey.

  • Newly hatched armyworms are lighter in color, but darken at they mature.

  • Their most identifiable trait is a light colored inverted Y between the on the head. 
armyworm identification
fall armyworm identification
  • Armyworms have a broad, pale band along the top of its body, contrasted with dark bands along its sides. 
 
Still not sure if you have armyworms?

 If there is any doubt whether armyworms are present in your lawn, pouring soapy water on the grass (1/2 oz. dishwashing soap/gallon water) will bring armyworms to the surface quickly. If present, the flush will irritate the caterpillars, causing them to leave their hiding places in the thatch to escape the irritant, and will become visible in about 30 seconds.
 

Armyworm Damage

Armyworms can cause serious damage to turfgrasses. The damage caused by fall armyworms is usually very distinctive, but not always. Armyworms cross the grass as a group and therefore will create a noticeable line between damaged and undamaged grass. 

Typically damaged areas will begin around where the egg mass has been laid and radiate outwards.

damage to a lawn caused by armyworms

Damage caused by fall armyworms often appears browned or burned patches resembling drought stress. If you have distressed patched of grass in your lawn, be sure to go take a closer look.  

While armyworm damage may seem to appear overnight, it is likely the larvae have been feeding for a week or more before noticeable damage appears. Newly installed sod is highly attractive to fall armyworms because it is well fertilized and well watered, and therefore is more susceptible to damage. 

Damage to established grass is mostly aesthetic, but newly sodded areas can be severely damaged or even killed by armyworm feeding.  If armyworms are identified and controlled early, grass recovery is expected without the need to replace the sod. 

Fall Armyworm Control

It is often said that knowledge is power. Knowing what when and what to look for is the first step to controlling armyworms. Look for signs of lawn and plant damage often, especially areas of your lawn that have recently turned brown.

If you spot the brown adult moth form of the armyworm, it is highly likely the armyworm caterpillar is nearby feeding on plants. Spotting armyworms early is critical in controlling the amount of damage they cause.

Natural Enemies

Preventative insecticide treatments are not practical since outbreaks of fall armyworms tend to be random. Natural enemies, such as birds, paper wasps, and ground beetles are quite good at controlling armyworms. Using unnecessary insecticide can eliminate those natural enemies and potentially cause a worse armyworm problem. By spot treating instead of blanket treating, armyworm’s natural enemies can be conserved.  

Insecticide Treatment

Proper timing of insecticide applications results in the best control. Normally, insecticide control is warranted when an average of three or more armyworms are present per square foot. 

Sevin, Dursban, Orthene or Conserve are effective insecticide treatments. Please be sure to read the label carefully and follow the directions. 

  Insecticide Application Tips: 
  • Time of Day: Treat in the early morning or late afternoon, when the caterpillars are most active.
  • Lawn Care: Mow before you treat if possible and then do not mow for three days after treatment.
  • Follow the Label: Be sure to read and follow all insecticide instructions carefully for targeted pest. 
  • Repeat: Armyworm reoccurrence is common, so even after you have treated it is important to diligently check for armyworm damage. You may need to treat multiple times to break the armworm life cycle. 

Summary:

 

  • Fall armyworms typically appear in Northern Georgia from July until the first frost 
  •  Inspect your lawn daily for armyworm activity from July thru the first frost 
  • Understanding the armyworm lifecycle informs best management practices
  • Control is easy and inexpensive from multiple products
  • If identified and controlled early, damaged grass caused by armyworms is expected to recover

Additional Resources:

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