Northern Utah Turfgrass Management Calendar


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    Northern Utah Turfgrass Management Calendar


    Kelly Kopp, Professor/Extension Water Conservation, Turfgrass Specialist
    Michael Caron,
    Extension Associate Professor
    Helen Muntz, 
    Extension Educator
    Jaydee Gunnell, 
    County Director/Extension Professor/Horticulture

    December 2017 | Horticulture/Turfgrass/2017-05pr


    Cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass or the fescues, may be seeded any time from midspring to early fall, but late summer is the optimum seeding time in northern Utah. The warmth of the soil in late summer is more advantageous for seed germination than the wet and cool soil conditions of the spring, allowing for faster germination (allow 4- 6 weeks before expected first frost). In addition, cool-season grasses planted in the late summer will have both the cool fall and spring growing seasons to establish before the heat and dryness of the summer months returns.

    Annual weed pressure is also lower in the late summer and early fall than during the spring months. Warm-season grasses, such as buffalograss or blue grama, should be seeded in the spring or early summer months to take best advantage of the warmer temperatures that they prefer.

    Refer to:

    Preparing Soil for Turfgrass Establishment-Northern Utah
    Turfgrass Cultivars for Utah


    Map of Utah counties, northern ones highlighted


    Turfgrass management calendar for different varieties



    Overseeding bare patches or areas of thinning turf may be accomplished in late winter, early spring, or fall. In the spring and fall, a disk-type seeder may be used to drop seed into slits in the soil. Alternatively, overseeding may be done following routine aeration practices.

    Refer to:

    Preparing Soil for Turfgrass Establishment-Northern Utah
    Turfgrass Cultivars for Utah


    Sodding may be done at almost any time of the year provided water is available for irrigation. However, sod should not be laid when the soil is frozen. Sod may be laid prior to freezing, but care should be taken to keep it from drying out during the winter months. Appropriate soil preparation will also improve sod root growth.

    Refer to:

    Preparing Soil for Turfgrass Establishment-Northern Utah
    Turfgrass Cultivars for Utah


    Fertilization is the most important management practice for improving the overall quality of turfgrasses. Have soil tested every 2-3 years to obtain fertilizer recommendations for phosphorus and potassium. Routine soil tests for nitrogen, however, are not available. Instead, recommended nitrogen applications of 2-4 pounds per 1,000 sq. ft. annually are based on turfgrass research performed at Utah State University. Standard recommendations are to apply 1 pound of actual N with each fertilization.

    Soil testing is available through the Utah State University Analytical Laboratory and soil testing kits and instructions are available at all USU County Extension offices.


    Mowing is the most basic management practice and one of the simplest things that may be done to improve grass appearance. In northern Utah, mowing should start when active growth begins in the spring and should continue until the grass stops growing in the fall. Ideally, no more than one-third of the total length of the grass blades should be mowed off at one time and clippings should be recycled into the lawn. For example, if the grass is 4 inches high, mow no lower than 3 inches. Higher mowing heights improve grass resilience to hot weather. Consider a minimum mowing height of 2.5 to 3 inches. The exception would be the last mowing, which should be shorter (1.5 in.) to help avoid disease issues over the winter/early spring months.


    Aeration removes plugs of turf and soil creating a system of large pores that facilitates air, water and nutrient movement into the soil. Aeration may also improve soil compaction and encourage microbial activity to break down excessive thatch. Aeration should be timed to coincide with periods of active grass growth (early to mid-spring and/or late summer to early fall for cool season grasses and early to mid-summer for warm season grasses). Core aeration using a hollow tine aerator (3-4” length, ¼-¾” diam.) is recommended. For best results, aerate in one direction and once again at 90 degrees to the first direction. If aeration is performed in the spring, consider an application of preemergent herbicide where weeds have been prevalent.

    Weed Control*

    Establishing and maintaining a healthy, dense turfgrass stand is the best defense against weeds. However, there are several options for weed control should weeds become problematic. Control of annual weeds (crabgrass, spurge) may be accomplished by applying preemergence herbicides prior to weed seed germination in early to midspring. Broadleaf weed control may be accomplished by applying postemergence herbicides during periods of active weed growth. For both preemergence and postemergence herbicides, choose products labeled for control of the weeds of concern and carefully follow label instructions to avoid non-target plant damage.

    Weed Control Options for Residential Lawns in Utah.


    Irrigation is typically necessary to support healthy turfgrass growth in northern Utah, though different turfgrass species have different water requirements. The efficient use of water for irrigation is also critical, not only to conserve limited water resources, but also for the health of the grass plants. In addition to following a schedule based on turfgrass water requirements, irrigate early in the morning to avoid evaporative losses of water and avoid windy times of the day. Also, check irrigation systems monthly for leaks, broken or clogged sprinkler heads, and other maintenance issues. 


    Irrigation frequency chart


    Reference Simple Sprinkler Performance Testing fact sheets:

    Simple Sprinkler Testing for Box Elder County
    Simple Sprinkler Testing for Cache County
    Simple Sprinkler Testing for Davis County
    Simple Sprinkler Testing for Duchesne County
    Simple Sprinkler Testing for Juab County
    Simple Sprinkler Testing for Morgan County
    Simple Sprinkler Testing for Tooele County
    Simple Sprinkler Testing for Wasatch County
    Simple Sprinkler Testing for Weber County
    Simple Sprinkler Testing for Salt Lake County
    Simple Sprinkler Testing for Summit County
    Simple Sprinkler Testing for Uintah County
    Simple Sprinkler Testing for Utah County


    *Precautionary Statement:

    All pesticides have benefits and risks; however, following the label instructions will minimize the risk and maximize the benefit. Pay attention to the directions for use and follow precautionary statements. Pesticide labels are considered legal documents containing instructions and limitations. Inconsistent use of the product or disregarding the label is a violation of both federal and state laws. The pesticide applicator is legally responsible for proper use.

    Utah State University is committed to providing an environment free from harassment and other forms of illegal discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (40 and older), disability, and veteran’s status. USU’s policy also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment and academic related practices and decisions. Utah State University employees and students cannot, because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or veteran’s status, refuse to hire; discharge; promote; demote; terminate; discriminate in compensation; or discriminate regarding terms, privileges, or conditions of employment, against any person otherwise qualified. Employees and students also cannot discriminate in the classroom, residence halls, or in on/off campus, USU-sponsored events and activities. This publication is issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kenneth L. White, Vice President for Extension and Agriculture, Utah State University.