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New videos provide fall lawn care tips


The head golf coach at Virginia Tech, Jay Hardwick, uses a shovel to dig up some soil. He's checking to see whether there are any layyers of clippings and dead roots. Virginia Tech Head Golf Coach Jay Hardwick digs up soil to check for layers of clippings and dead roots, called thatch.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 17, 2012 – In a new series of videos, Virginia Tech experts show homeowners how to care for their lawns this fall so they have lush green yards come springtime.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Virginia Cooperative Extension has continued its series, “A lawn to Dye for,” with three new videos that address fall maintenance. The university’s head golf coach, Jay Hardwick, and Extension turfgrass experts walk homeowners through the proper way to aerate, compost, and dethatch their yards. Following these tips can result in a lawn that resembles the pristine Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech, home of the university’s golf team.

“Our fall lawn care strategy will keep your yard looking healthy and your neighbors will be asking you your secrets,” Hardwick said.  

The free videos can be found on Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Lawn and Garden website and are also available in the college's iTunes U collection.


One video explains the need for dethatching. Layers of clippings and dead roots, called thatch, can build up between the soil and the grass. Normally, thatch retains moisture in the soil and nourishes the turf as it breaks down. But when thatch becomes too dense, it prevents water and other nutrients from reaching the roots.

“Dethatchers cut through the thick layer that chokes the roots and  allow lawns to breathe by giving the root system direct access to oxygen and nutrients,” said Mike Goatley, an Extension turfgrass specialist and professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences.

The Virginia Tech Turfgrass Research Center conducts cutting-edge work to develop new varieties of grass and provide expert lawn care. The new videos offer an easy, free way for the public to take that expertise home.

For more lawn management strategies, visit Virginia Cooperative Extension's Turf and Garden Tips website.

Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the resources of Virginia's land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth. Through a system of on-campus specialists and locally based educators, it delivers education in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. With a network of faculty at two universities, 107 county and city offices, 11 agricultural research and Extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers, Virginia Cooperative Extension provides solutions to the problems facing Virginians today.

Video series provides fall lawn tips

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Virginia Cooperative Extension have produced a new series of videos on fall lawn care tips titled “A lawn to Dye for.” Homeowners will learn how to aerate, compost, and dethatch their lawns. 

Soil testing goes digital

Farmers, homeowners, and landscapers can now receive the results of their soil tests online, thanks to the Virginia Tech Soil Testing Laboratory in the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences.

The lab typically processes more than 50,000 soil samples annually for farmers and urban clients. Normally, it took five to eight business days to perform a routine soil fertility analysis and for the results to be received in the mail.

“Now, the grower can see the results immediately after the reports are generated, which may be just two or three days after the lab receives the soil sample,” said Steve Heckendorn, laboratory manager. “Clients are still encouraged to contact their local Virginia Cooperative Extension agents with help in interpreting the results.”

For more information, visit the Soil Testing Lab online or contact your local Extension office.

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