NCSU Lawn & Landscape Research
May 23, 2017
U of Maryland Lawn Care Research
May 25, 2017

At the time of a 2015 scientific study by NASA, American lawns covered an area that is approximately the size of the great state of Texas, making them triple any other U.S. crop. Studies also show that 90 percent of homeowners find having a well-maintained lawn is very important and only 33 percent of homeowners feel that they possess the skills and lawn maintenance knowledge needed for keeping their lawn and garden healthy and looking good. That’s not only a lot of lawns but also plenty of homeowners who are looking for accurate info about how to care for them. One excellent place for that is the Penn State Center for Turfgrass Science where you can find a wealth of online info and publications that cover everything from establishing your lawn to properly maintaining it, as well as managing lawn pests and diseases that can destroy it.

About Penn State Ag Studies

During the early 1800s, Experiment Station was founded on Ag Hill at Penn State. In 1861, the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State awarded the very first baccalaureate agricultural degrees in the country. Now, the College of Agricultural Studies at Penn State invests close to $97 million annually in graduate study and research. Included in their research are almost 250 Agricultural Experiment Station projects conducted by the Penn State faculty as part of the university’s land-grant mission.

Valuable Lawn Care Research

Their lawn maintenance and yard care related information can help homeowners and lawn services, not only in PA but in all areas of the country. From cool-season turfgrasses to home lawn fertilization, weed control, irrigation, mowing, and much more, it’s all covered on the Penn State website and in a user-friendly language that everybody can understand.

Managing Weeds

You can download a free booklet from this page, which was prepared by the university’s Professor of Turfgrass Science, and is entitled “Weed Management in Turf.” It includes useful info about numerous different types of weeds and how to identify them, as well as weed control methods. It also provides additional information about weed life cycles, broadleaf weeds, and a comprehensive guide to chemical weed control for specific weed groups. You’ll find just about everything in this booklet about weeds, and the only way that you could get better weed control is to hire a lawn care service pro and let them deal with those pesky weeds while you relax and enjoy life instead.

Managing Lawn Diseases

On this Penn State Ag page, you can download a PDF report that includes everything you need to know about lawn disease diagnosis and treatment, environmental and soil conditions that contribute to lawn diseases, and much more. It also covers trade names, as well as generic names for common turfgrass fungicides, and a comprehensive summary of proven strategies for lawn disease management. From Anthracnose Foliar Blight to Yellow Patch, you can learn plenty about the symptoms, disease control, cultural cycles, and chemical control to help you with dealing with lawn diseases.

Diagnosing Lawn Problems

Determining what is causing damage to your lawn can be difficult. Sometimes it automatically gets blamed on lawn pests or diseases. A careful diagnosis involving certain aspects of environmental conditions and climate can help you on your road to solving the problem. Proper treatment starts with a proper diagnosis. It is also important to learn how to factor in any fungicides, fertilizers, herbicides and/or insecticides that your lawn has received, as well as amounts used, application methods, and the timing involved. All this and more is covered on this page along with mowing tips and hints, irrigation and dry spots, diagnosing fungi, and dealing with common lawn pests.

Directory of Insect Fact Sheets

From the Agrarian Sac Spider to the dreaded American Cockroaches and down the long alphabetical list to the zebra jumper, you can learn enough about common insects to last you a lifetime. And, if you grow your own veggies in your garden, the Pests of Vegetables link will help with pics and advice about pests that afflict specific types of vegetables. There’s also a handy link to Vegetable Insect Pest Management Sources of Information. This page will give you a long list of References for Growers publications to help you keep your vegetables safe from pests. Lawn pests, like white grubs, sod webworms, and more are also covered in-depth with close-up pictures to help you identify them and the pest control products needed to treat them.

Lawn Care Doc Search

It’s easy for valuable research and information to get hidden in a database. The Penn St. website allows you to conduct lawn care related research for pretty much everything you can think of regarding turf care including lawn aeration, fertilization, repair, mowing, and more. Use their search box to refine your search for other topics.

Lawn Renovations

You’re undoubtedly familiar with what a home renovation can do for the value and functionality of your home but did you know that lawn renovations can restore any areas of your lawn that have deteriorated over time? Yes, you can significantly improve the condition of your lawn without having to plant a whole new lawn by just doing a lawn renovation. This page on the university’s website explains everything you need to know about turf deterioration causes like poor drainage, thatch, lawn pests, soil acidity, and shade issues. It also offers not one but three step-by-step lawn renovation programs, based on the time of year and the overall condition of your lawn.

Controlling Grassy Weeds

One of the more difficult weed issues that can affect the health of your lawn is a combination of annual grasses that can pop up during the summer months. They can include some common types like barnyard grass, crabgrass, foxtails, and goosegrass, to name a few. There are a number of chemical and cultural methods that you can use for effectively controlling them. Using a preemergence herbicide can be effective although a bit tricky, as are postemergence control methods. Your best bet for grassy weed control is to make it a part of a professional lawn maintenance plan. Give us a call if you’re in our service area of Georgia or, if not, call a local professional lawn care service.

Lawn Management

Successful seasonal lawn management requires a number of best practices, which are outlined on this page. It contains a turf management calendar guide to help you with that management process and the step-by-step info includes seeding, overseeding, fertilization, sodding, and liming. And, the section on proper mowing is very informative since many homeowners are not quite sure how high to mow, and how often, as well as whether or not it is necessary to remove the grass clippings for optimum results during all seasons. In addition, this page contains other info, such as the steps in the lawn aeration process, dethatching, and weed, insect, and disease control.

Establishing a Lawn

If you have purchased your beautiful new home recently but the lawn and landscaping aren’t in yet, then you’ll be able to find plenty of helpful advice on the lawn establishment page of the Penn State website. It will direct you through the entire process step-by-step. How nice your yard turns out is, of course, dependent on how well you plan it. So, everything from planning to planting and proper maintenance are crucial elements. This page will guide you through some possibly uncharted areas as a homeowner, like identifying your soil condition and grading and preparing for your new yard, as well as seeding, mulching, sodding, and pesticide use.

Grass Identification

One of the basic principals of proper grass care is knowing just what type of turfgrass you are dealing with. Each grass species reacts differently from others when it comes to fertilizing, weed control, mowing, and liming. And, one of the most crucial issues involves pesticides. Although a specific pesticide may work well without causing any damage to one type of turfgrass, it could very well cause severe harm or even kill off another. That’s why identification is so important. This page will help you with the all-important job of identifying your turfgrass species before you start making any decisions about your lawn management. Knowing your turfgrass can lead to a more beautiful yard.

Lawn Mowing Tips

This page will probably be of interest to more homeowners and yard care services than any other one on this site. After all, you may not need any of the other sections if you don’t have any pest or disease problems, or a need to put in a new yard. However, you can’t escape the issue of mowing. And, proper mowing is a must for keeping your yard looking well-manicured and beautiful. Yes, it’s time-consuming and having a lawn care service is a better option, but if you’re doing the mowing yourself, you want to ensure that you’re doing it right and benefiting your lawn rather than harming it. So, this page will walk you through cutting height and frequency, and even covers mower maintenance and safety.

OK, so obviously the Penn State site has enough pertinent info about lawn care and maintaining your garden to keep you up at night for a week trying to absorb all of it. But, on your quest for a perfect, green lawn, this is a site you will want to bookmark.