By Kristine Moncada
In 2019, the city where I live removed a tree from the public boulevard adjacent to my property. So in the early spring of 2020, the public works department came back to grind the stump, leaving what they called a “disruption” in the lawn. I was a little surprised at how much of the boulevard turf was “disrupted” (Figure 1) in the process of grinding a smallish, 12-inch-diameter stump. However, I was not surprised to learn that I was now responsible for caring for the public boulevard turf reestablishment (Figure 2).
Consequently, the city left me with a bag of turfgrass seed (which contained high amounts of annual ryegrass and “variety not stated” perennial ryegrass, but that’s another story!) and these instructions:
The City has removed a tree stump from the boulevard next to your property and has completed restoration. Please follow the lawn establishment guidelines below to establish your lawn. Lawn Establishment Guidelines - It is the resident’s responsibility to maintain the grass within the boulevard area. In order to re-establish your lawn, it is suggested that you water the disturbed area at least once a day for up to 3 weeks. You may need to water more or less depending on dry or wet weather conditions. The recommended water dose is ½” daily. Thank you for your cooperation.
The instructions were not very detailed so I wondered what happens when people with little plant knowledge (unlike me who works for the UMN Turfgrass Science team!) need to manage a restoration such as this. I imagined many people would have questions about the establishment process, in addition to how much to water, such as:
- When should the seed be planted?
- How should the seed be planted?
- What seeding rate should be used?
- When should mowing start?
- When should it be fertilized?
- What should be done about the weeds?
Fortunately, we have answers to questions such as these! We know that other homeowners have been in a similar situation and that is part of the reason why our team created educational materials for homeowners on establishing roadside turfgrass. On our Roadside Turf website, we have a section specifically devoted to homeowner education. It includes videos on topics such as planting, watering, mowing, fertilizing and controlling weeds. We also have a handy calendar guide that shows each step of the maintenance process. You can review all the materials in order or jump to a certain topic if you have a specific question. So don’t forget to visit if you need help with your lawn “disruption” (Figure 3). Best of luck with your turfgrass establishment!