Turf Management #675164 - Ask Extension

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Turf Management #675164

Asked August 10, 2020, 3:35 PM EDT

Our cottage is in Benzonia Township and there has never been a properly seeded lawn. We have put in a new well, septic tank and leech field which has created an oasis of sand with patches of weeds. We want to plant a durable turf covering an acre or so that can survive in sandy soil. We’re hoping not to bring in multiple yards of black dirt but will do it If that is your advice. What seed types and percentages, preparation and irrigation assuming we proceed next month (September). Thanks much. 

Benzie County Michigan

Expert Response

Hello,

 Kentucky blue grass, fine fescue and perennial rye mix is a good start for Michigan lawns. Considering you are planting an acre of grass you may want to consider some of the area as a utility turf and use the tougher utility type species,  with the traditional lawn being closer to your home and other buildings.

 As time goes on lawn growing conditions will favor  one or more over the other species and the types of grass that are happiest in your  growing conditions will thrive. Start with a soil test , first—. It will tell you what soil amendments are recommended- https://homesoiltest.msu.edu

Here are the steps for establishing turf—

 

   https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/tips_for_seeding_lawns_in_september

 

https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/turfgrass_species_and_cultivar_selection_e2912

https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/purchasing_quality_turfgrass_seed_read_the_label

Follow the best lawn practices that research shows work well in Michigan: Mow  no shorter than 3 inches, mulch clippings, fertilize  2 to 4 times per year in amounts according to a soil test; irrigate 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water per week including rainfall, divided across 3 to 5 doses; irrigate early in the day so grass leaves are dry by sunset;  soil test performed every 3 years to determine how much fertilizer your lawn needs, your soil type and your organic matter percentage. Aeration once per year usually in fall, especially on  clay soil, helps with compacted soil and can be top dressed with ¼ inch compost to increase organic matter in the soil. Aeration also helps when you are over seeding the lawn to get good soil to seed the contact.

References:

https://homesoiltest.msu.edu

https://www.canr.msu.edu/home_gardening/lawns/

http://www.msuturfweeds.net

http://www.msuturfinsects.net

Commercial and utility types-

https://extension.psu.edu/turfgrass-seed-and-seed-mixtures

http://safesportsfields.cals.cornell.edu/grasses-for-sports-fields

 

    

 

Laura Sheffer Replied August 10, 2020, 9:06 PM EDT

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