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Monday, 24 March 2008

How To Grow The Best Lawn Grass 3

After looking at whether you should be using grass, and what types of groundcover are best suited to your garden. The next step to consider, is how is your earth?

Soil is probably the biggest factor (that we can control), that has the most effect on the health of a lawn. Strangely enough its usually the part that most people give the least consideration to.

The ideal earth for most lawn grasses is a sandy loam soil with a pH of between 6 and 7. Too much sand and the water and nutrients leach away from the roots too quickly. Too much clay, and the roots sit in water for too long and don't get enough oxygen. The earth should go to a minimum depth of 150-200mm.

If you are looking to improve your soil - whether you have too much clay or sand, then you can't go wrong by adding copious amounts of compost. The compost adds nutrients to sandy earth, and has the effect of breaking down the hardness of clay soil. The costs may be higher to begin with, but over time the amount of work - weeding, fertilising or repairing will be reduced considerably.

Preparation of the area should involve the following:
  1. Remove any rubble or debris in the soil.
  2. Remove all weeds. If time is not an issue then allow the site to stand empty for a few weeks to allow any weeds to germinate, and then remove them by hand. Post-emergence herbicides can be used instead - but these should only be used if weeds are a serious problem.
  3. Level the area to be grassed, paying close attention to the slope of the soil. Make sure that water can drain away easily, and will drain away from buildings and pools.
  4. Add compost (weed free and completely decomposed is essential), and superphosphates (±30g per m2).
  5. Dig the compost and superphosphates into the top 100-200mm of earth.
  6. Adjust and even out final levels.
  7. Roll the soil to ensure an even surface. However, if the soil has even a medium clay content, never roll the soil when wet. This will compact the soil, and squeeze out any oxygen in the soil.
There are several methods of planting grass - each with their own advantages and disadvantages. These will be dealt with in a following post.


Garden Wise Guy said...

Good info on how to grow it, but the main question I ask of my student and clients is "will it be used for recreational purposes?" If the answer is "no" then why not find a more resource-efficient "floor" for the garden? Just as we wouldn't install shag carpeting in the kitchen, why do we put lawn in front yards (unless you're a compulsive exhibitionist nude sunbather)?

stoneware70 said...

I couldn't agree more - I've also tried to make this point in a previous post. I think a lot of people have an obsession with perfectly manicured lawns, whether they are suitable or not.
I must admit though - I haven't had any clients admit to wanting their lawn for compulsive exhibitionist nude sunbathing! I don't think I'll press them on their reasons though (just in case).

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