May 20, 2020
The Master Gardener program provides research based information for gardeners. Below are a few notes taken from the turf management portion of the program.
• Rough bluegrass is probably the best grass in Montana for shady areas.
• Kentucky bluegrass is the best grass for open sunny areas with well-drained soil.
• Annual ryegrass can be used as a cover crop following vegetable production.
• The standard lawn mix is 60% Kentucky bluegrass, 30% creeping red fescue and 10% annual ryegrass.
• Zoysiagrass does not grow well in Montana. Montana summers are not warm enough for warm-season grasses.
• The Lawn requires one inch of water per week. A tuna fish can in the lawn is a great measuring device when sprinkling. When the can is full, you have applied one inch of water on your lawn. Water 2” per week when temperatures are at in the 90’s and hotter.
• Always water the lawn in the morning when the temperature is rising.
• Thatch is not made from old grass clippings. Thatch is a woven layer of living and dead tissue (rhizomes) between the dead tissue and the soil surface. Thatch does not create turf problems until it is greater than ½ inch thick. Core aeration is the only way to reduce thatch. Power raking only removes old grass blades and if performed to late, can damage the crowns of the turf.
• Ideally, 1/3 of the grass plant should be mowed at a time. Generally 2-2.5 inches is recommended for mowing height. Higher mowing height promotes more extensive root systems.
• If the lawn is mowed twice a week, clippings do not need to be removed.
• Low maintenance fertilizing on turf is 1 application on Columbus Day.
• Medium maintenance fertilizing on turf is on
See Page 3: Green
Memorial Day, Labor Day and Columbus Day.
• High maintenance fertilizing on turf is early spring, Memorial day, Labor day, early October, and late October.
• 25-5-5 is a great fertilizer for lawns. 21-0-0 (ammonium sulfate) is also recommended because it has elemental sulfur which makes grasses more resistant to disease.
Montana State University U.S. Department of Agriculture and Montana Counties Cooperating. MSU Extension is an equal opportunity/affirmative action provider of educational outreach.