Monday, February 4, 2013

Sustainable Turfgrass Training for Landscape Crews

One of the great FREE programs offered through University of Georgia's Cooperative Extension is a certificate program in Sustainable Turfgrass Management for the lawn-care guys who seed/sod, mow, fertilize, irrigate, and apply weed killers. The program has four major components.

The first section, called "Know What You Mow," teaches how to identify the six major turfgrasses found in Georgia and the unique needs of each kind of grass.

The second is "Creating Tough Turf," and it emphasizes how to care for and maintain grasses in ways that lead to healthier turf that needs less water.

The third section, "Water Smart Turf," includes how to troubleshoot basic irrigation system problems and how to change a damaged sprinkler head.

The fourth, "Smart Start Turf," explains pre-planting issues including site preparation and turf cultivar selection that can give a new lawn a healthy start.

At the end of the program, each participant receives a Certificate of Completion. If a company is interested in just one section of the training - for example, the training in troubleshooting irrigation system problems and in changing sprinkler heads - that also can be arranged (and Certificates of Completion for that component awarded).

Also when the training is completed, the company can advertise that its employees are certified in Sustainable Turfgrass management (or in a particular section of the training, if only one section was done). For smaller companies needing an edge in the marketplace, this can provide a real boost.

Participants receive checklists and easy-to-use tables to keep on hand (or in their trucks!) that will help them know the best times to plant each kind of turf, what the seeding rate should be, when to fertilize, and more.

The program and materials are offered free of charge, both to any landscape company or group and to its employees, as part of the outreach of the University of Georgia.

For more information, contact Becky Griffin (pictured above, in red), Turfrgass Program Associate, through Cobb County's Cooperative Extension Office at 770-528-4070 or