Paspalum Grass Maintenance Tips
Paspalum uses 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.
Paspalum does very well with slow release fertilizers. These are ideally applied during early spring and fall, but an application can also be made in summer as needed.
Additional products that can provide a quick green up are foliar applications of seaweed extracts. Seaweed extracts can be found in products such as Panasea plus, Promax, and Kelplex. These are available online or at most nurseries.
The fertilizer and water requirements have made it a very popular grass since it uses 2/3rd’s the nitrogen of bermudagrass. The watering schedule is slightly different than a bermudagrass in that it can tolerate heat stress better on a 2-3-day watering schedule. (10 minutes per every day not watered). Slow release fertilizers maybe used to help keep water bills down by limiting growth.
For established paspalum watering deep and infrequent is best. Water every 2-3 days during the growing season and apply an inch of water per week.
The general rule of thumb is to apply 10 minutes of water for everyday your lawn is not watered. For extreme slopes or areas where water cannot penetrate the soil, it’s best to apply in a cycle soak pattern so water can infiltrate the soil without runoff.
Paspalum should be watered early in the morning to eliminate any environmental competition.
Paspalum has a wide range of mowing heights depending on its use. Paspalum can be maintained as a putting green or as long as 2 inches for a backyard.
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 to maintain desired 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 has been known to treat select broadleaves.
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 by 1/2 "inch prior to scalping for the fall. Maintain lawn at this height for two weeks prior to scalping. Next scalp the lawn down a little lower than the normal mowing height to ½” to ¾”.
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, 11-52-0, or 18-24-12.
Seed 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.
Apply one last fertilizer application after the turf has been mowed, and is growing well just before the first 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 a heavy frost, but with proper timing this will not be an issue.
During the cooler months of the year apply foliar fertilizers as needed to maintain color.
Paspalum will begin to grow when the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees for three consecutive days. At this time begin to gradually lower the height of the ryegrass and stop any fertilization.
Paspalum will emerge and take over the ryegrass as temperatures become favorable for growing.
Once the paspalum begins to emerge you can switch to a slow release fertilizer to reduce excessive top growth.
A good seasonal starter fertilizer is 11-52-0. 6-20-20, 18-24-12, or Soil Burst 4-4-2.
AERIFICATION AND/OR VERTICUTTING
(COMPACTION IS THE NUMBER ONE PROBLEM FOR HEAVY USE FIELDS/LAWNS)
For a warm season turf like seashore paspalum you can aerify and verticut during the growing season.
The amount of aerification and verticutting depends upon your individual turf and how much traffic it's receiving.
Light verticutting is best on paspalum during growing season (April-September)