Are you a lawn-care whiz? Take this superintendent’s quiz to find out

A lush lawn with trees and flowers

Maintaining a healthy lawn takes time, effort and a bit of know-how.

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Lawn care is like golf. There’s always more to learn.

To test your turf-related knowledge, we’ve drawn up a pop quiz, compiled with help from David Phipps, a former golf course superintendent who now serves as Northwest representative for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. (Note: Answer key is at the bottom of the article.)


1-5 answers correct: You should have a rock garden instead

6-8 correct: You’re getting greener

9-13: Your lawn is the envy of the neighborhood

Perfect score: Did you intern at Augusta?


1. The “one-third rule” refers to:

a. The number of inches of soil needed to sustain healthy grass

b. The maximum percentage of a grass blade you should cut in a single mow

c. The percent of yard-care effort experts suggest exerting to get maximum returns

d. The ideal ratio of water to fertilizer in springtime applications 

e. The odds that you’ll actually pay as much attention to your lawn as you intended

2. The best time to apply regular fertilizer to a lawn is:

a. When rain is in the forecast

b. On dry turf

c. Before an irrigation cycle

d. All of the above

e. Under a full moon

3. The best time to apply weed-and-feed fertilizer to a lawn is:

a. Right before a heavy downpour

b. First thing with morning dew

c. When the turf is dry

d. After you’ve had your afternoon cocktail

e. All of the above

4. All of the following grass varietals are known to thrive in warm climates other than

a. Bentgrass

b. Bermuda

c. Zoysia

d. Paspalum

e. St. Augustine

5. All of the following are common lawn pests except:

a. Armyworms

b. Cutworms

c. Sod Webworms

d. Thunder bugs

e. Froghoppers

6. Lolium perenne is the scientific name for:

a. Zoysia

b. Perennial bluegrass

c. Bermudagrass

d. Perennial Rye

e. Perennial Bluestem

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Do you know your gasses? getty images

7. A 50-by-50-foot area of lawn generates enough oxygen to supply:

a. A family of four

b. A family of beetles

c. Steady airflow into the root zone throughout the summer

d. Any flowers in the surrounding beds

e. An hour-long scuba dive 

8. Liming a lawn refers to:

a. Planting citrus around it

b. Adding a soil amendment made from limes

c. Adding a soil amendment made from limestone rock, which decreases the soil’s pH.

d. Adding a soil amendment made from limestone rock, which increases the soil’s pH

e. Adding a soil amendment made from lima beans, which helps green up the grass

9. Thatch is

a. An overgrown patch of grass

b. A tightly mown patch of grass

c. A protective netting laid over grass to shield it from extreme temperatures

d. A layer of dead organic material between the soil and the turf

e. Poisonous to squirrels

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10. According to industry surveys, the average American homeowner spends this much time per week working on their lawn

a. 2 hours

b. 4 hours

c. 4 minutes

d. 8 hours

e. 1 hour

11. The best time to water is:

a. Middle of the day

b. Daybreak

c. End of the day

d. Just after sunset

e. Whenever it most annoys your neighbor

12. Fairy ring is a fungus that frequently appears on a lawn as:

a. Sparkly silver splotches

b. White starry patterns

c. Pale green circles

d. Dark green circles

e. A hologram of Tiger Woods

13. The average lawn should get roughly this amount of water per week:

a. A half inch

b. Two inches

c. An inch

d. An inch-and-a-half

e. Two inches

14. The best season to seed a lawn is:

a. summer

b. fall

c. winter

d. spring


1) b
2) d
3) b
4) a
5) d
6) d
7) a 
8) d
9) d
10) b
11) b
12) d
13) c
14) b

Josh Sens Editor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.