Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A lovely lawn.

When we first moved into our house, six years ago, the yards were disasters. Heavy clay soils, no yard management for years and Foxtail Grasses as high as our elbows. The yards were quite large and the back yard was peppered with huge, tall, untrimmed trees.

Three years later the front yard began to look nice. Another year later we decided to seed the front with grass. As of this year I am pretty pleased with how it looks. But that means it is time to deal with the back yard.

Knowing this was coming someday I had tried a few varieties of grasses in out front yard planter, where it is shady and I often forget to water. This would be quite similar to the environment in our backyard. I finally found success with a Fine Tall Fescue. It is nearly feathery and seems to grow happily no matter how much I abuse it and how much my kitten loves to sleep in it.

Fescues are great for those who want to use less water, mow only a few times a year, have clay soil, have shade and don't want to have to mess with it very much. And, personally, I think they are lovely. Downside is that if you have lots of traffic on your lawn, it won't be a good choice for you.

Because the backyard is going to be such a challenge to overcome a decade of neglect I figured I had better get knowledgeable about how to really put down a lawn. It turns out that I am really fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest, as many of the grasses grow quite abundantly here. There are a few things to know to do to have the best results, and here they are:

For Fine Fescues:

Begin in late summer with a starter fertilizer raked throughout your ground.

Choose rhizome type fescue seed.

In early Fall broadcast 5 pounds of seed for every 1000 square feet.

Once each Spring, Summer and Fall broadcast 3 pounds nitrogen for every 1000 square feet.

Each early Summer apply weed and feed if weeds are a problem for you.

Keep mowed around 2-3 inches.

Give a firm raking once a year to break up thatch.

Now, if you would like to find some Fescue seed for your yard, I would recommend going to Prairie Nursery. I looked through a lot of sites and found their pricing to be excellent. They work specifically with natural and regional seeds, so you know your money is doing more than just getting you some great grass seed. For Fall seeding they begin shipping on September 17th. Check them out here: Look for their No Mow Lawn Mixes.

Cheers to a lovely lawn.

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