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Grass & Lawns

Updated on June 18, 2013

Grass & Lawns - The Emerald Carpet Outside Your Door

Grass - Blades Of Glory

For most homeowners and commercial facilities, the ideal landscape is one that's simple to maintain: a green lawn. Grasses are described as "native" when grown naturally in North America. Not all grass is the same. There is a huge array of grasses that adapt to North American climates on prairies, in areas of high humidity, drought, wind or colder climates with short growing seasons. When it comes to grasses in North America, the particular genus that grows wild is referred to as invasive. This type of grass, unlike hybrid grass grown from seed, determines it's own rate of growth and tends to propagate quickly and without restriction.

Blending Grasses For A Perfect Lawn

Many landscapers know it takes more than one type of grass to create the most durable and attractive lawn. It's important to know the climate zone, type of soil and amount of traffic involved before attempting to create a blend of grass seed that is best. For instance, in eastern North America, the choice may be a blend of Kentucky blue grass, Perennial Rye Grass and red Fescue. Southern and warmer climates of North America may choose a blend of Red Fescue grass with Kentucky Blue Grass to withstand heat and humidity. In prairie areas, or more arid areas of western North America, a combination of Perennial Rye Grass with Buffalo Grass withstands long periods of drought and high heat temperatures. Most landscape supply yards and professional landscapers can determine which combination of grass are best.

Uncommon Design With Grasses - use grasses to accent your landscaping design

Grasses: Versatile Partners for Uncommon Garden Design
Grasses: Versatile Partners for Uncommon Garden Design

For every garden element, from borders, pathways, and containers to location challenges such as shade, slopes and screening, Ondra's capsule "designer's choices" offer brief but essential descriptions to aid in plant selection and planning considerations, and quick-reference lists highlight grasses that work well in such diverse conditions as hot-and-dry sites and low-and-wet bogs.


The Lovely, Languid Lawn

Nothing is more attractive than a wide expanse of green lawn and is a veritable invitation to take off your shoes and feel the earth beneath your feet. Stable, green lawns don't just happen. Plan to make your lawn a hobby in all seasons. Because, that's what it will take to perfect your skills and talents to turn out the most spectacular lawn in your neighborhood.

Grasses For Livable Landscapes - over 1,000 photographs

The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes
The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes

Taking a broad view of gardening with grasses, Darke acknowledges the ornamental attributes that enhance private plantings and looks at the myriad possibilities for using grasses in natural areas and public landscapes. A notable photographer, Darke includes more than 1,000 entrancing photographs to illustrate grass family members, from grasses and sedges to rushes, restios, and cattails. Issues of sustainability and ecology color Darke's thoughtful approach


The Beginning Of A New Lawn

When it comes to residential lawns, always look to the soil first to help determine the quality of your lawn. If the soil isn't nutrient-rich loam or topsoil, it can still be salvaged to make a great lawn. This is usually true in western North America where the growing season is short and a lawn has to roll with the punches of drought and arid climate. Ideally, if the lawn is new, this is the time to consider at least an inch to an inch and a half of top soil as a base. Be sure to remove all of the root systems in existing soil before adding a layer of top soil or loam. Next comes the grass seed. The soil can be seeded manually or with an automatic seeder for a more even layer of seed. This should be done at the beginning of a growing season or shortly before the end.

The Organic Lawn

The Organic Lawn Care Manual: A Natural, Low-Maintenance System for a Beautiful, Safe Lawn
The Organic Lawn Care Manual: A Natural, Low-Maintenance System for a Beautiful, Safe Lawn

Tukey, the editor and publisher of People, Places & Plants magazine, offers gardeners what he calls "how-to methods for safe, effective lawn care" and avoiding the use of chemicals. He explains how to evaluate lawn-care needs, how grass grows (what he labels grass anatomy), how to create healthy soil, and how to select grass that is drought tolerant and disease and pest resistant. There are chapters on starting a lawn from scratch or refurbishing an existing lawn, making the transition from synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, watering, weeding, dealing with pests and diseases, and mowing and maintenance.


Seeding And Germinating

One method to getting seed to grow faster is to use a large poly tarp to cover the newly seeded soil. This helps prevent wind from carrying off soil and seed. Be sure to give it the very first light spray of water before covering. The heat from the sun will begin to germinate the seeds after a few days, depending on type of grass seed and the weather. Don't forget to remove the tarp as soon as shoots of green are observed. For existing lawns, it's a good idea to use a rototiller on the soil before reseeding and germinating. Rototilling insures all root systems have been removed.

The Real Work Of A Beautiful Lawn

once you have it keep it beautiful

Once the lawn begins to sprout little blades, it's important to give it a light watering. Use a gentle spray until blades are sturdier. Grass should be allowed to grow no more than an inch before it is mowed. Mowing isn't a slash and burn process. It should be done carefully; ideally, with a mulching mower to avoid a build-up of thatch that will later require a strong cavex rake to remove. How often mowing is necessary depends on the growth of the grass.

Fertilize at least once or twice a year. Use fertilizer with correct nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus values and lawn chemicals that are environmentally safe and don't run off into groundwater. Your landscape supply store can help you make the right choices for both grass seed and the fertilizer to keep it lush and healthy.

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