The southern state of Georgia is known for its sunny and warm climate, perfect for growing a lush lawn since most grass species thrive with lots of sunshine. Several Georgia-specific management tips and cultural care strategies can help you boost your Georgian lawn's health for optimal growth and appearance.
Lawn Grass Varieties
Choosing a lawn grass species that thrives in Georgia's soil and climates will reduce the amount of care and maintenance your lawn needs throughout the year. For cool-season species, the University of Georgia recommends tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass and perennial or annual ryegrass. For warm-season choices, the university suggests hybrid Bermudagrass, centipedegrass and zoysiagrass. If your Georgia lawn is shaded, the university says St. Augustinegrass is the most shade tolerant option available in the state.
In Georgia, most lawns require approximately an inch of water every week during the spring, summer and fall growing season. The exact amount of water needed will vary according to the type of soil you have (e.g. sandy soils need more frequent watering than loamy soil) and the grass species you're raising. Generally, apply enough water to moisten the ground to a depth of 8 inches. For the best results, the University of Georgia recommends watering before sunrise or after sunset.
Georgia's soil nutrient levels range widely by area. Find exactly what minerals or vitamins are lacking in your soil by using a soil testing kit, available from your regional Georgia cooperative extension office. If you don't want to spend time testing your soil and creating a customized fertilizing schedule, the Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture recommends using a complete lawn fertilizer like a 16-4-8 or 12-4-8 product, available from most garden stores. In Georgia, enough fertilizer should be applied to supply approximately 3 pounds of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet of lawn per year. The center suggest splitting the total fertilizer amount into three applications supplied in early spring when the lawn starts to emerge from hibernation, again in the middle of the summer, and a final application approximately two months before the first frost date in your area.
After mowing your lawn, leave the grass cuttings on the surface of your lawn. These clippings will decompose over time and return nutrients to the soil, saving you the time that would otherwise be spent on raking while also feeding your lawn and boosting its health.
Pre-emergent herbicides stop weed seeds from germinating, saving you time later in the year by keeping weed invasions at bay before they can even start. For the best success, such herbicides need to be applied to the lawn before the soil heats up enough for the weeds to sprout. The University of Georgia recommends that you spray your lawn with a pre-emergent herbicide before March 5 in southern Georgia and before March 20 in northern Georgia.