Its time for all of us to go through some kind of Transition.
For the Turfhead, it usually happens sometime before Memorial Day. Regardless of what sort of climate you find yourself going to war in, there is going to be a metamorphosis, wherein somehow, some way, your turf goes from something to something else.
Warm season grass jockeys have always understood things along these lines pretty well… and today are fortunate enough to have some tools to induce transition like the end of a long awaited bus ride. It wasn’t always easy before this.
Cool season folks have some of the same, wherein grass wakes up to the thrashing of the dew whips and flogging of the spray rigs after a long winter nap. It may not be as dramatic as Bermuda emergence, but there is still a move from what was… to what will be.
Second, (and this is the really tough one), you need to stop doing things for Miss Spring Turfgrass of Right Now and begin courting Miss Dog Days of Summer of Job Keeping.
It’s the “what is” (now) that gets missed. I’ve blathered on about the soil thermometer enough by now that you know I feel anyone not getting deep into soil temp data is going to miss something. So that’s a “given”, as it were. What else can get missed? How about not looking at your fertility moves with an eye as to what “creating some now” may do to you later. Yup, Wally the Grass God, those big cheap apps of ammonium sulfate seemed like just the ticket for the Cinco de Mayo Scramble and Macarena Dance attendees to be able to revel in the amazing green grass of your creation. But when the grass is knee deep for the Independence Day Backwards Course Challenge, then who really wins? Dead even perhaps? Let’s hope for no high soil temps in your future if you decide to play this game.
Transition is this amazing time of patience when all of us have to really get out two things: First, the Crystal Ball, wherein you remember to rub and see that somehow, some way, longer days and higher temps are coming — and that’s a fact. You may not know the hour and the day, but it is darn sure coming and making a few calendar oriented predictions is way important. Second, (and this is the really tough one), you need to stop doing things for Miss Spring Turfgrass of Right Now and begin courting Miss Dog Days of Summer of Job Keeping. Getting the second one to say yes is a much harder job. But she won’t still stick around if you decide to put all your focus on impressing Miss Spring.
Plan your transition, carefully. Watch the soil temps. Ease up on the fertility. Groom a little. Topdress. Dial in heights of cut and mowing patterns. Lay off the water (read This Post about that topic) and if you do water, do it perfectly. Test your soil and water to eliminate guess work. Don’t get so close to the grass you can’t see. Clean your office. Train your crew. Don’t swing at any high pitches because you’ve been bored or because someone wants more from the turf sward than it is ready to give.