Ken and Linda Gribek spent three days fitting together the puzzle pieces of sod that will one day become their lush, healthy lawn.
Linda Gribek (left) and her nephew BenTrotman, fit pieces of sod together in the front yard of Gribek's Clarks Hill home. She learned about laying sod at the Extension service seminar.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
The two - with a little help on the last day - laid 10,000-square-feet of St. Augustine sod around their home on 40-acres in Clarks Hill to keep the land from washing away, and from tracking Georgia red clay into the 2-year-old house.
With all the work that went into the new lawn, the Gribeks want to make sure it strongly establishes itself this fall and winter, so Mrs. Gribek attended Gardening at Lunch on Tuesday at the government complex.
The lunch seminar, held by the Columbia County Extension Service, focused on fall lawn care. Many homeowners do not know what to do with lawns in the fall and that is the source of many questions for County Extension Agent Charles Phillips .
Phillips discussed the most important aspects of fall lawn care including irrigation, weed control, fertilizing and overseeding.
"It was very timely for us to know what to spray," Gribek said. "The sod is a big expense and we want it to last and be healthy."
According to Phillips, the first step in any lawn care is a $5 soil test, which will let you know whether the pH needs to be adjusted and what, if any, type fertilizer the soil needs.
A fall fertilization is not recommended on warm season turf grasses such as bermuda, St. Augustine and Zoysia, the most popular kinds in this area. After Sept. 1, when days get shorter and temperatures are dropping, the grass is beginning to go dormant and not absorbing nutrients.
"In the winter, grass needs water," Phillips said. "It does not need as much, but it still needs water."
He has seen many lawns go without water through cooler months and others coddled too much with waterings every other day. Lawns should be watered with at least an inch of water soaking six-inches deep every 2-3 weeks during the fall and winter months to encourage a strong deep root system, Phillips said.
"The worst thing you can do for grass is water it every other day" Phillips said.
He said weed control is what he answers the most questions about. Spraying for winter weeds should be done by mid-October to keep them from sprouting and going to seed, he said. Gribek liked that Phillips specified what to spray for weeds on each type of grass. She paid attention to any tips that would help her new lawn survive.
She plans to wait until the spring to spray a pre-emergent herbicide, as a fall spraying may harm the establishing grass.
The seminar was the first of a monthly series of the topics that Phillips gets the most questions about. The next meeting will be Friday and will focus on pansies, winter's garden color.
Meetings are at the Government Complex Auditorium on Ronald Reagan Drive. They are free and open to the public, but lunch is not provided.
For more information, call (706) 868-3413.
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