This year has been especially challenging for warm-season turf managers. What initially looked like a mild winter in the South has turned into many courses and field complexes dealing with winterkill on fairways, greens, and fields. Turf managers in the Midwest are facing more widespread issues, with some facing massive losses in fairways and rough. Whatever the reason you are trying to establish warm-season turf, here are a few tips to ensure you get the most out of your establishment projects.

The first step is to take soil samples and correct any issues hindering growth before starting your project. Winterkill and renovation projects are stressful, and adding another step in those processes can be easy to push aside. But if you are tasked with doing these jobs, make sure you are addressing any issues that can hinder the growth of quality turf. By performing a simple soil test, you can handle any deficiencies in your soil and help ensure that your sod, sprigs, or seed will have the best opportunity to succeed. If you contact your ATS representative, we will take soil samples for you and discuss what products can help you move forward.

Secondly, make sure you do research when choosing the correct cultivar for your turf stands. It seems like there is always a new cultivar hitting the market these days, so call your turf friends, ask your reps, and look at NTEP trials when deciding what cultivar to use in your establishment projects. A little legwork will help you pick the best grass type for your situation. Also, looking at cultivar-specific maintenance requirements for your turf stands is key. The biggest challenge that turf managers are facing is labor, so labor-intensive cultivars could be a significant factor when choosing a cultivar.

Next, make sure you are choosing the right products for pre-planting. A couple of good options for pre-plant products are Nature Safe 8-3-5 and a 1-2-1 NPK analysis, like 12-24-8 from Lebanon. These products will address the soil’s elemental and microbial conditions before you begin to establish your turf stand. During this time, it is also important to ensure that your soil’s pH is in the optimum growing range. Add lime or sulfur if needed to ensure proper nutrient uptake.

Once your turf has begun to root, it is time to address your post-plant needs. There are many different granular options, depending on where your project is located on your property. If you are dealing with golf course greens, Lebanon and The Andersons have several great granular options at a lower SGN for you to choose from. If you are dealing with fairways, roughs, or fields, ATS has a great 16-28-12 granular product that is effective at a lower cost and higher SGN. Once the turf has established enough to put a sprayer on it, Foliar-Pak has some great products to help finish the project. The products below, combined with your favorite wetting agent, makes an excellent post-planting foliar spray:

If you are dealing with a warm-season establishment project, reach out to your Advanced Turf Solutions representative. We are here to help you make informed decisions regarding your project.