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Interesting read on soil temperatures and grass growth

Posted by nc_lawn_nut NC (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 17, 08 at 15:18

A report published by the North Carolina State University Turf Council ("Soil Temperature Reports Aid Managers" March 31, 2005) shows the impact of soil temperature on cool and warm season turf. Knowing where you are at in this
range should help you understand how bad your turf is hurting right now.

Excerpted from the report:
The following is a partial list of soil temperatures (F) at the 4-inch depth that should be of the association with certain biological events.

Cool Season Grasses
90F Shoot growth ceases.
77F Root growth ceases.
70F Maximum temperature for root growth of any consequence.
70F Time to plant grasses in late summer.
60-75F Optimum temperature for shoot growth.
50-65F Optimum temperature for root growth.
40F Shoot growth ceases.
33F Root growth ceases.
20F Low temperature kill possible if temperature subsequently drops
rapidly below 20F
Warm Season Grasses
120F Shoot growth ceases.
110F Root growth ceases.
80-90F Optimum shoot growth.
75-85F Optimum root growth.
74F Optimum time to overseed bermudagrass with ryegrass in the fall. Time to plant grasses in the spring.
64F Expected spring root decline is triggered and roots turn brown and die within 1 or 2 days.
50F Root growth begins to slow below this temperature.
50F Chilling injury resulting in discoloration is possible.
50F Initiation of dormancy occurs resulting in discoloration.
25F Low temperature kill possible.

Syringing to keep greens cool.
Below are two short articles on syringing to keep turf cool. The first is from Karl Dannenberger (Ohio State University) showing the impact of syringing, the second from David Kopec (University of Arizona) discussing syringing vs.handwatering.
http://www.turfgrasstrends.com/turfgrasstrends/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=99488
http://ag.arizona.edu/turf/ccps699.htm


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Interesting read on soil temperatures and grass growth

Excellent, thanks for sharing.


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RE: Interesting read on soil temperatures and grass growth

Very useful information, and I figured I'd bump it back up on the forum as some of us are trying to figure out when to apply that last application of fertilizer for the year. This soil temperature map should help, too (I got it off of another thread in this forum):

Soil Temperature Maps

I'm assuming once the soil temperature is consistently in the low 40s, then that would be a good time for the final fertilizer application for cool season grasses, right?


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RE: Interesting read on soil temperatures and grass growth

Skizot--I let the grass tell me when it's time. What I do is wait fot the top growth to stop, but the grass is still green. When it hits that stage, I figure it's time for the last feeding.


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RE: Interesting read on soil temperatures and grass growth

  • Posted by jimtnc 7b Raleigh tttf (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 16, 08 at 7:10

Good stuff. It looks like around here the soil temps are around 60-65, which should be optimum for grass growth, unless you are stuck in a lot of shade like I am. Oh well, time to cut down a few more trees and plant a few smaller ones.


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RE: Interesting read on soil temperatures and grass growth

Jim, you could plant that type of fescue that grows in the shade... chewing fescue? creeping fescue?


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RE: Interesting read on soil temperatures and grass growth

The fescues that grow in shade are collectively called fine fescues. If I remember correctly, these include creeping red fescue, hard fescue, chewings fescue and sheep fescue. I don't think sheep fescue is used as a lawn grass very often. It may be because it uses so little water and it would suffer with the rainfall in most of the US. I'm using creeping red and sheep fescue in my back yard, hoping to cut my water usage to near zero.


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RE: Interesting read on soil temperatures and grass growth

  • Posted by jimtnc 7b Raleigh tttf (My Page) on
    Fri, Oct 17, 08 at 6:59

Ya know, I must be getting old...or else I have already arrived. I don't know why I haven't even thought about putting out some of that shade fescue and try it where it's shady. Thanks guys, I might get some tomorrow. I still have a little time left here so I might be able to get some to come up.

It kills me to walk over my lawn and see the damb soil, like I've never had grass here before. I mean it really pisses me off after the years of babying this friggin' lawn, and poof...gone. I have spent untold hundreds of dollars trying to get this place looking nice, and I have to start all over again. Geeessshhh!!


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