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Paspalum Grass Maintenance Tips
- Paspalums use 66% less nitrogen than bermudagrass, and should be treated with 2-3 lbs./1000 sq. ft. of total nitrogen per growing season.
- Do not exceed 4 lbs. of nitrogen/1000 sq. ft. per growing season.
- It is best to use organic type or slow release fertilizers. These are ideally applied during early spring and fall. Paspalums do not require nitrogen during the summer months to maintain color, but a high phosphorus rate is recommended. Ideal fertilizers for this application include our Soil Burst, or a 11-52-0, Milorganite, and "Seasonal Booster" 7-7-7.
- During the summer months or in areas with high salt content it is important to maintain a high level of phosphorus and to periodically check your calcium, magnesium, manganese, and iron rates. These can be applied with a foliar or granular application to achieve desired results. The color of the paspalum in the summer is a direct reflection of your micronutrients and is not as dependent upon nitrogen like in bermudagrass.
- Foliar applications of seaweed extracts in the spring encourage a deep root system. Seaweed extracts can be found in products such as our Soil Burst, Panasea plus, Promax, and Kelplex. If your turf is dormant, it is a good idea to apply granular manganese and zinc to help speed up spring color, along with an organic fertilizer such as Soil Burst or Milorganite. When the soil temperature is above 60 degrees (May 1st) apply an application of 6-20-20 or similar product high in P and K to promote spring rooting.
- The fertilizer and water requirements have made it a very popular grass, as it seems to dislike nitrogen and thrives on organic materials such as milorganite. The watering schedule can be very different than a bermudagrass in that it seems to tolerate stress better than bermudagrass on a 3-4 day watering schedule. (5-10 minutes per every day not watered). Organic type fertilizers maybe used to help keep water bills down. Sea Spray is very prone to scalping with excessive water and fertilizer so it is best kept to a minimum.
- For established paspalum watering deep and infrequent is best. You will want to water every 3-4 days during the growing season and apply an inch of water per week.
- The general rule of thumb is 10 minutes of water for everyday your lawn is not watered. For example if you water every third day you will water 30 minutes. If you have extreme slopes or areas where water cannot penetrate the soil or runs off, it is best to apply the 30 minutes in a cycle soak pattern. This would be to set your clock for two cycles during the morning and a soak time in between to allow water infiltration and control excess runoff.
- Paspalums should be watered early in the morning to eliminate any environmental competition and so the leaf dries faster eliminating any disease potential.
- Paspalums have a wide range of mowing heights depending on the specific variety. Paspalums can be maintained between 1/10" for the finer leaf bladed plant and between ½" to 2 inches for the coarser varieties.
- Decide on a desired length for the turf. Continue to mow maintaining this height so that no more than 1/3 the height is being mowed off at one time.
- Grass should be mowed 1-2 times per week for coarse varieties and 5-7 times per week to maintain grass at putting green height.
- Pre-emergent herbicides can be applied in February and post-emergent grasses can be applied during the growing season.
- Rock salt and water solution can be used to treat selective broadleaf weeds
- During the cooler months of the year paspalum can be overseeded to maintain winter color. When nighttime temperatures are in the low 60's it is ideal to begin the overseed process.
- Raise the height of your lawn by 1/2 "inch prior to scalping your lawn in the fall. Maintain your lawn at this higher than normal height for two weeks prior to scalping your lawn. When the height is raised you will scalp the lawn down a little lower than your normal mowing height as to not injure the paspalum. Your lawn can be mowed around ½" on finer paspalum such as Platinum or Sea Isle One and to ¾" on coarser paspalums such as Sea Spray.
- A light verticut can be performed at this time to open up the turf canopy followed by mowing to clean up any additional debris left on the turf.
- Apply a starter fertilizer to the mowed down turf such as 6-20-20, 16-20-0 or 18-24-12.
- Seed your lawn with perennial ryegrass at a rate of 10-12 lbs./1000 sq. ft. Use a high end seed blend that will provide a deep green color throughout the winter months.
- Apply water 3-4 times throughout the day for 5-7 minute cycles to keep the seedbed moist during germination and grow in of the ryegrass.
- After the seed has been down 10 days apply a second fertilizer to stimulate the ryegrass growth such as 15-15-15.
- You will want to apply one last fertilizer application after the turf has been mowed and is growing well just before we receive any frost. The best time for this application is early November and some good fertilizers to use are 15-15-15, 21-7-14, or 15.5-0-0 (calcium nitrate).
- These fertilizers applications are very important as ryegrass does start to get a yellow tint after we receive heavy frosts but if it is actively growing prior you will have no trouble in the winter.
- During the cooler months of the year apply 7-7-7 or 16-4-0. Granular fertilizers will not work during the colder months so it is best to use foliars in December, January, and February.
- When soil temperature reaches 64 degrees for three consecutive days you will start to see active growth of the paspalum. At this time you will want to begin to gradually take down your ryegrass mowing heights and stop any fertilization.
- The paspalum will emerge and take over the ryegrass as temperatures become favorable for growing.
- Once the paspalum begins to emerge it is important to manage the grass with organic fertilizers and put away any fast release fertilizers that will cause excessive growth to the paspalum.
- Apply an organic fertilizer such as 11-52-0 or Milorganite to stimulate paspalum growth throughout the spring and summer. This is an application that should be applied around April 15th-May 1st to maintain growth and color throughout the summer.
Aerification and/or verticutting
(COMPACTION IS THE NUMBER ONE PROBLEM FOR HEAVY USE FIELDS/LAWNS)
- For a warm season turf like seashore paspalum you will do these aerification and verticutting activities typically during the late spring, summer and if needed early fall.
- These activities used in the spring will help transition and encourage bermuda grass growth by opening the canopy allowing sunlight in.
- Top-dressing after verifications is recommended to fill-in the holes/gaps. This will promote new growth and improve soil structure.
- The amount of aerification and verticutting depends upon your individual turf and how much traffic it's receiving. Aerification/verticutting/top-dressing may only be needed once or twice a year and the top-dressing portion can be done monthly or more during the summer on high use fields.
- Light verticutting is best on seashore paspalum only done during growing season (April-September)