Producing quality lawns in Virginia can be challenging. Geographically, Virginia is located in what is known as the transition zone for turfgrasses. This means the climate can be hostile to both cool-season grasses (Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue) and warm-season grasses (bermudagrass, zoysiagrass). However, with proper cultural practices, a healthy lawn can be established and maintained.
There is no time of year that generates as much excitement in the management of lawns and landscapes as spring. Sales of all lawn and garden products soar as many homeowners strive for the best looking lawn possible. However, your enthusiasm for returning the lawn to tip-top shape should be tempered enough so that you make sound agronomic and environmental management decisions. Smart choices now will result in a healthy, dense turf canopy that will better withstand the environmental extremes of the summer months.
Sampling the soil to determine pH and nutrient levels is always a prudent choice in developing a management program for a lawn, especially if a soil test has not been done within the past three years (Figure 1). Any time of year is appropriate for sampling. A majority of Virginia soils are acidic and need to be amended with periodic applications of lime.
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