Grassroots are actually the foundation of every growing turf. Most lawn owners exert much effort into seeing that their lawn is properly taken care of. They water, they mow, they aerate, they seed, and as far as the turf looks good on the top, they assume they are doing alright.
All the efforts expended on lawn maintenance may yield little or no results, if the grasses are not deeply rooted. Stimulating root growth is actually what every lawn owner should be after. If that is settled, you’ll have little or no problems managing a thriving lawn.
Why You Need To Focus On the Roots
The root of your turf grass is not just an appendage in its composition. It’s actually the link between the turf and the soil. It performs very critical functions that contribute to the growth of your grasses.
As much as the turf is important, below are certain reasons why you should be concentrating on the state of your grassroots instead:
#1. Absorption of Water
One of the basic functions of plant roots is to absorb water needed for the growth of your grasses. Its roots are the primary medium by which water is absorbed and transported to other parts of the grass.
Water, as we know, is an essential component. Some of its benefits, amongst others, is that water helps to maintain turgidity, as well as helps in the transportation of several other materials.
Water replaces moisture loss that occurs as a result of mowing and transpiration, water as well as aids the process of photosynthesis.
A deep root system will easily access water and promote growth, whereas, a shallow grass root will find difficulty accessing water and might eventually dry up under drought, or the heat of the summer sun.
#2. Absorption of Nutrients
Plants’ roots help to absorb from the soil other necessary mineral nutrients that cannot be gotten from the atmosphere. These nutrients are required for photosynthesis for the production of carbohydrates, which supplies the necessary energy needed for plant activities.
These nutrients also aid in the production of necessary enzymes, lipids, and several other compounds needed for plant growth and development. Deeply rooted lawns are able to absorb fertilizers and mineral nutrients easily.
#3. The Roots Help to Anchor the Grass to the Ground
The roots of your grass serve as an anchor for it. Deeply rooted plants provide more stability and are less prone to slipping.
#4. Transporting and Synthesizing Of Hormones
The roots of your grasses are needed for producing, synthesizing, and transporting certain essential plant hormones.
#5. Storing Of Carbohydrates
The carbohydrate produced by the shoots is thereafter stored in the roots. This Carbohydrate produced, serves as the energy source for activities that promote plant growth and development.
#6. Encouraging Microbial Activity
Plant roots encourage the activity of microbes. Healthy roots produce organic materials that serve as a source of energy for the microorganisms located around the root zone.
These microbes act as agents in helping to break down organic matter into compounds possessing some of the nutrients the plants need.
How to Promote Root Growth
It’s is important to keep an eye on the following, as they greatly influence growth:
#1. Regularly Inspect the Lawn
As much as this might seem a little basic. If you keep to this simple hack, you’ll have no problems handling your lawn.
Regular inspection of your lawn will keep you updated on certain things you should be doing to ensure that your grasses keep blooming. You’ll be able to know the effect of various conditions on your grasses, and this will give you an idea on how to manage and leverage on those conditions.
You should know things such as knowing how and when to irrigate, when to apply fertilizers, knowing when to aerate, knowing the requirements of your grasses based on changes in the atmosphere, etc. Knowing all of these will keep you armed and help you properly manage your lawn.
#2. Dealing with Thatch
Thatch of about ½” is safe and even essential for the growth of your turfs as it allows for moisture retention in the soil as well as the regulation of soil temperature. But it can prove to be an issue when it begins to exceed an inch.
Excess thatch build-up can hinder the absorption of nutrients, fertilizer, and water. It can also lead to a breeding site for insect pests and disease-causing organisms.
Deep root develops when the plant has access to all the necessary components for its growth. Therefore, for you to promote root growth in your grasses, you’ll have to properly manage thatch and ensure that it remains within the acceptable range of half an inch.
Foot traffic and general movements on the lawn can lead to it becoming compacted. It’s advisable to manage such as they can affect rooting. You could make use of agronomic scheduling methods to decrease wear and promote root growth.
#4. Irrigation and Watering
This is something that is always stated, but less emphasis is given on the “how-to.” Your grass needs to be adequately watered. But how do you know you’re watering correctly?
Irrigation will need to be done based on the specific needs of your grasses, its stage of development, and the season of the year. How often and how long the irrigation process will go on depends on environmental factors, root zone, traffic, etc.
One generally accepted advice is to water infrequently but deeply. Doing this will promote a deeper and more extensive root system.
Overwatering reduces rooting as water fills up the space for oxygen, which is needed for respiration. When this happens, the plant lacks the energy needed to absorb and translocate other essential plant nutrients.
#5. Fertilize Rightly
So many times, we want to make sure our grasses are receiving the best of what they lack, we also want to hasten their growth and ensure that they are as healthy as can be. And so we turn to fertilizers for help.
Watering, mowing, and fertilizing are regular lawn maintenance practices that we need to sustain to have a lush and beautiful looking lawn, but if they are not done correctly, we might be hurting our lawn in the process.
It is necessary to fertilize correctly, to know the varying needs of your turf per time and fertilize accordingly. If this is done correctly, you’ll not only be achieving a naturally glowing field; you’ll also be promoting a healthy root growth inside.
#6. Mow Correctly
There is a link between the height of your grass and the depth of its roots. It’s advisable not to cut your lawn very low. It will result in deeper roots.
This is more evident in cold season grasses such as ryegrasses and fescues. They shouldn’t be mowed frequently, and they shouldn’t be mowed too low. A lot of people mow their grasses quite low, which shouldn’t be the case. Though, warm-season grasses are less affected in their rooting by low mowing.
That being said, not all grasses are intolerant when mowing height is concerned. Some grasses thrive better when they are mowed low. The point is, know the appropriate mowing height for your turf grass and stick to it.
#7. Leverage on the Available Sunlight
Turf grasses that grow in locations with plenty of sunlight are usually stronger, having healthier and sturdier root systems. Choose shade-tolerant grasses and cultivars, or better still go for tree canopy pruning.
Roots are the foundation of a turf. Attention to the growth, development, and health of the root system can ensure not only a vigorous, highly performing sports field, but also result in the conservation of precious environmental resources.
Your grassroots is actually what you should be aiming at maintaining when managing your lawn. Shallow roots will pose a problem to the growth and development of a healthy lawn, while deeper roots will help in promoting your lawn’s health.
Your energy really should be exerted on what happens beneath the surface. If that is properly managed, you can rest assured that you’ll have a healthy, vigorously growing, and verdant lawn.