Common Arkansas Grass Types
Bermudagrass-The most common grass type found in Central AR, bermudagrass thrives in full sun, shows good drought tolerance, and stands up well to heavy foot traffic. With proper watering and fertilization bermuda grows very quickly, easily recovering from damage. This aggressive growth can also make it an invasive weed in flowerbeds that is difficult to control.
Zoysiagrass-Another very common grass type that thrives in Central AR, zoysia prefers full sun, but unlike bermuda, will tolerate some shade, and shade loving varieties do exist. Zoysia does not grow as quickly as bermuda which can make its recovery from damage a bit slower, but with proper care it will provide a thick lawn that withstands wear and looks great. Though not as aggressive as bermudagrass, it can be just as difficult to control once it invades flower beds.
St. Augustine-Not as common in Central Arkansas as bermuda or zoysia due to its low tolerance to high foot traffic and cold temperatures, St. Augustine has the advantage of being very shade tolerant.
In the early spring, bermudagrass and zoysiagrass benefit from scalping after the last chance of frost. Do not scalp St. Augustine lawns. Scalping is simply mowing at a low height and bagging the clippings to remove thatch which allows the ground to warm , promoting a quicker green up. Scalping can also aid in preventing fungal diseases that thrive in an excessive thatch layer.
During the regular growing season, bermudagrass and zoysiagrass can generally be cut at 1.5″ to 2.5″, though some varieties can be cut as low as .5″, if the terrain allows. St. Augustine should be cut between 2.5″-4″.
During the growing season, 1″-2″ of water should be applied each week. The best time to water is early morning to avoid excessive evaporation during the heat of the day and fungal disease from being wet at night. It is best to water to a depth of 4″-6″, to promote deep growing roots and healthy turf.
Bermudagrass needs the most nitrogen of the common Central AR grass types. Fertilizer can be applied at a rate of 1 lb. per 1000 sq feet of turf every 4-6 weeks between May and August, .5 lbs./1000sq. ft. can be applied in September. Zoysiagrass needs less nitrogen, recommended rates are .5 lb. per 1000 sq. ft. in May, .5 to .75 lbs/1000 sq. ft in early July, and .5 lbs in mid August, not to exceed 2 lbs./1000 sq. ft. in one year. Do not fertilize in September. St. Augustinegrass has the same fertilization schedule as zoysia, but the annual limit is slightly higher at no more than 3 lbs./1000 sq. ft.
Annual weeds reproduce by seed and can largely be controlled by pre-emergent herbicides that stop the weed before it appears by preventing seed germination. This group is divided into two sub-groups– Summer annuals which germinate in spring and grow throughout the summer and winter annuals which germinate in the fall and grow throughout the winter. Some common summer annual weeds are crabgrass, goosegrass, and knotweed, while annual bluegrass, henbit, and chickweed are common winter annuals.
Perennial weeds reproduce by seed and vegetatively by means of creeping roots, rhizomes, stolons, tubers, or bulbs. The ability to reproduce in this way makes perennial weeds much more difficult to control than annuals. Common summer perennials are nutsedge and dallisgrass. Common winter perennials are dandelions and wild garlic.
Broadleaf weeds can be annual (knotweed, henbit, chickweed) or perennial (dandelion, dock, white clover). Annuals are largely controlled by pre-emergent herbicides while perennials are controlled by post emergent herbicides.