alaska
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Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:30 pm
Location: Birmingham UK

My Newish Lawn is Dying

Hi,

Hoping someone might be able to give me some advice? We moved in to our house two years ago and completely re-landscaped the exterior. We have an unusual garden shape to the rear that is quite narrow and quite shaded (by the house, fencing and trees). The lawn area is about 8 m by 4 m south east facing.

I bought a "shade resistant" turf and spent a considerable amount of time preparing the ground - e.g digging out obstructions/stones and mixing in topsoil/peat with existing soil to create at least a 0.5 m zone of good quality compact soil upon which the turf I thought could establish.

I watered the lawn daily at first and kept everyone and thing off it for a season. It looked fantastic and there was no immediate trouble with the lawn establishing - it all grew very healthily and after a period of establishment I strimmed it rather than mowed it so to not cut it back too short. it lasted like this for one spring/summer.

By the next year the lawn had became very patchy all over. I attempted some restoration/re-seeding and added lawn feed/restorer but this failed to have an effect (I installed a net cover to keep birds off and watered). Now two years later it is looking terrible and in my mind beyond recovery.

The question I have is whether any of the more experienced people on here think it is my soil, the shaded environment or the trees. Is there a particular type of more resilient turf I could try ? Should I chop down the two trees and dig out the roots ? Did I do something wrong in the first place ? The trees immediately border the lawn - one is a deciduous about 8 m tall, with approx. 3 m crown (sorry I don't know what species it is) the other is a conifer about three metres with less than 1 m spread.

One way or another I am going to start again so any advice to ensure I get it right this time would be great. If required I can send some photos ?

I would be very grateful for any advice.

Thanks

Bestlawn
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Alaska, I can't be sure exactly what you did, but I can be certain that if the seeds you selected stated "shade tolerance" then it is. So I doubt switching to something different will help. The only thing on that note is you want to be sure it is shade tolerant and not just that it tolerates "moderate shade" or "sun and shade." You need a deep shade species.

Yes, it could be the soil and I always recommend a soil test to determine nutrients, pH balance, and soil structure. A good lawn begins with good soil, so ask your nearest garden center where you can get soil testing done there in the UK. Ordinarily, the garden center will try to sell you a test kit, but those are usually inaccurate, unreliable, and they don't test for all that you need to know. Tell them you want a professional lab to do it for you. The lab will send you their own test kit with sampling instructions, and you will send it back to them. The cost is minimal. Here in the US, they cost $15-25.

Normally, I might ask a poster to please describe more in depth so I can have a good idea of what they did and how often they did it. Instead, I'm just going to provide the proper way to irrigate and mow your lawn. I do pick up a couple clues though. One is that watering daily is necessary to get it established but after that, frequent watering is very damaging. Another is I don't know what "strimming" means LOL. I'm in the US, and we don't have such a term. However, mowing it back short is exactly what your new grass needed. After it establishes to about 2.5-3 inches, cutting back to 1.5 or 2 inches stimulates growth. Also whatever tool or machinery is used to do the strimming would need to have a very sharp blade. Dull blades, and that includes mower blades, is also damaging.

Watering, mowing, and fertilizing the grass are cultural practices that are most important in lawn care. Dull blades, improper watering, improper mowing, and fertilizing at the wrong times (or too much fertilizer) all cause stress to the grass plants. A stressful state is a weakened state and renders the grass unable to grow well and also makes it vulnerable to disease.

Following are the proper ways to irrigate, mow, and fertilize your lawn........

Your lawn needs one inch of water per week (including rainfall) and should be applied all at one time. This is what is referred to as deep but infrequent irrigation. Using tuna cans placed in various places, run the sprinkler to obtain one inch of water in the tuna cans and time it. Run the sprinklers each week for that amount of time in every section to achieve one inch of irrigation all over. One inch will moisten the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches. This encourages the roots to grow deeply. The soil will pull the water downward. The roots will grow down looking for water and nutrients. Each week, be sure to take rainfall into consideration.

Irrigation should be modified during the hot periods of summer, particularly during heat waves. To relieve heat stress and prevent drought stress, water the lawn more frequently. Divide the weekly irrigation schedule in half to provide water twice a week for half the amount o f time. If it normally takes one hour to provide an inch of water, then irrigate twice a week for half an hour during the hot weeks of summer. Divide irrigation schedule into thirds during heat waves. Again, if it normally takes one hour to provide one inch of moisture, irrigate three times a week for 20 minutes.

Always mow high at 3 inches or higher on a regular basis. Mowing high permits proper photosynthesis. That means the grass needs sunlight to grow. The shorter the blades of grass, the more you impede the photosynthesis process. Photosynthesis takes place at just about the middle of the grass blade. Ever notice the grass is yellowish closest to the soil? The reason is that as the grass utilizes sunlight to manufacture its own food, chlorophyll is produced to give the grass its green color. It is very important to remember you should never remove more than one third of the grass blade at a time or you shut down the food factory, which causes stress. You may wish to mow once a week or 2-3 times a week, depending on how fast the grass grows. Either is fine just so long as no more than one third is cut off at once.

Infrequent deep watering and frequently mowing high are the two crucial points of lawn care. Anything else you do is secondary to these cultural practices. Proper watering and proper mowing are what encourage a healthy growing environment for a lush green lawn that is able to crowd out weeds.

Your shady grass needs about 2 pounds (I know you need to translate that) of nitrogen per year divided into 3-4 separate applications of roughly half a pound each.

Fertilize in mid-Mid.

Do not fertilize in summer at all (no matter what the product packages say) unless it is with an organic source. If you do not use organic fertilizers, then don't fertilize in summer no matter who/what tells you to do it.

You can fertilize 2-3 times in the fall - September, October, and/or November. Applications are 3-4 week intervals. If you choose to fertilize 2 times in fall, then skip the October application.

Fall is the most important time for fertilizing, and the very last one of the year should be timed such that you get the most bang for your money.
Last edited by Bestlawn on Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

cynthia_h
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UK: strimming
US: string-trimming (i.e., weed-eater or weed-whacker)

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

alaska
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Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:30 pm
Location: Birmingham UK

Bestlawn,

Thanks for the detailed reply. When I did the landscaping I actually bought turf (rolled variety) and it was this that looked so good until it became patchy. Maybe I did over water as water didn't seem to drain away very well and as I said I did this quite frequently. Based on your advice I'm sure I over fertilised and I did this in the summer - a bit of an ill informed knee-jerk reaction. There was also fertiliser included in the lawn restorer I tried several times.

I will test the soil I think - I guess this should have been an obvious thing for me to do since I am a contaminated land consultant by trade. I can probably do this myself using some of the labs I know here in the uk.

I will investigate the shade types too. Someone also suggested just re-turfing a small area to see if it establishes before investing in turf for the whole area.

Anyway when I attempt this again - I will follow your advice.

Thanks

Bestlawn
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Okay, I see. The rolled variety we call sod, meaning instant lawn. Sorry I assumed you planted seeds. You said "establish," so I thought I had caught a clue in that.

I know the problems can be overwhelming sometimes and some points get lost in trying to explain everything, but you just gave me another issue, even though you didn't realize it. water didn't seem to drain away very well means the soil is compacted. Just what you need, huh? But remember, a good lawn begins with the soil. Something else is I don't think you should test the soil yourself. How do you know what to look for or test for?

You don't have to do a test plot. Sod (or turf) will root into the soil if done properly. I can see all the effort you put into preparation, and I commend you for it. The only problem was you did what seemed logical because you didn't know what needed to be done.

At this point, you have three options:

1. You can purchase and lay more turf
Sounds pretty costly to me. I don't recommend it because I don't think you really need to, but the decision is up to you since I am not there and cannot actually see what is going and how it looks.

2. You can work with what you have
I know how often grass can bounce back from seemingly the worst circumstances. If the problems are from too much water or fertilizer, the grass normally recovers with proper care. However, if yours never really rooted well, then again I cannot say for certain. You can better determine if it is well rooted into the soil. On this same note, some of it might not come back at all, in which case you can purchase just one or two rolls of turf just to patch some bad spots.

3. You can ask the sod farm (wherever the turf was purchased) for some of the seeds. They often allow existing customers to buy the seeds for the same reasons as you. Sodding/turfing failure is fairly common because people don't know exactly what to do. So they often will sell the seeds to people like yourself. You just have to be able to tell them what turf (the name of it) that you purchased. Sow the seeds to repair bad spots. So much cheaper than buying more turf.

Whichever you decide to do, heed the instructions below first, and I want to reiterate - a good lawn begins with the soil.

1. Get a soil test and follow its recommendations and intervals of applications. If the test does not check for soil structure, then add organic matter in the very least. Compost can be spread at 1/4 inch (you need to translate) per 1000 square feet. That works out to 1 cubic yard per 1000sf.

2. To relieve compaction, core aerate or cheat and apply a liquid aeration product like Nitron A-35 or Aerify.

3. If you plant seeds or lay more turf, following is irrigation schedule that will transition you from the initial establishment stage and on into deep and infrequent watering.

water 15-20 minutes twice a day for two weeks
water 20-30 minutes once a day for one week
water 30-45 minutes once a day every other day for one week
water 30-45 minutes once a day twice a week for one week
move into deep irrigation, increasing the time to provide 1 inch of water all over and decreasing the frequency to just once a week.

Starting off, the schedule supplies roughly 1/4 inch of water, then increases that amount while decreasing frequency of application at the same time. Like practically everything that concerns lawn care, this schedule is a general guideline and should be modified to accommodate your specific conditions. The lengths of time should be modified if you have an automatic sprinkler system since that will not take as long to provide adequate moisture. So, decrease amount of water (time) but maintain frequency as is. The tuna cans test is recommended. If it is still especially warm, you may want to irrigate 3 times a day (10-15 minutes if necessary) for that first couple weeks. Your objective is to keep the upper 1 inch of soil moist and not let the seeds dry out.

4. First mowing is when the new grass reaches 2.5-3 inches. Cut it down to two inches. Early mowing is beneficial to help it establish more vigorously and promote tillering. Then, you want to gradually raise the mowing height to desired length of 2.5-3 inches and maintain it there. At this point, when it grows up to 4-4.5 inches, mow to keep it cut at 2.5-3, not shorter.

Step 4 only applies if you plant seeds. If you lay turf, then mowing short is not necessary.

Well, if you are terribly confused between this post and my last one, just remember this one helps get your lawn going. My previous post is for maintenance. Let me know if you have any questions.

cynthia_h, thank you for explaining what strimming is. I was kinda lost on that one, but only the term itself because I think a lot of people make the mistake of that practice.

The Helpful Gardener
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BL, lots of good info; you addressed the water issues well and I love your mowing advice :D but we haven't addressed the key issue yet. Alaska what do you mean by "quite shaded"? Even a shade resistant :?: variety won't grow in the dark. It may well be that lawn is not the right plant for this spot... and sod in this country comes in one flavor, bluegrass (which needs more water, more fertilizer, and is more disease prone; really an unsuitable plant for the job, forget the color...) and I can just hear the salesman now. "Shade? SURE, this resists shade, it resists bullets, it resists passes from fast girls..."

Certain trees can be allelopathic to the point of killing lawn, and shallow rooted enough to compete for food and water; Norway maple spring instantly to mind as one that can do all three. Shade, shallow roots and allelopathy in one plant, that's do it. So maybe all three?

Seeding with a hard/fine fescue mix might help, but this sounds like a do-over rather than a refurbish. Check you photoperiod on this area (hours with sun) and find out what that tree is, and we'll talk...

Scott
Scott Reil

Bestlawn
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"Shade? SURE, this resists shade, it resists bullets, it resists passes from fast girls..."
Oh, that's so funny! Love your humor.

Helpful Gardener, I did address the shade issue by making sure he understood he has to double check the grass is truly shade tolerant. I try not to be confusing, at least not too confusing, by giving posters the benefit of doubt in their own ability to think. In other words, I brought it to his attention, and he acknowledged that by committing to investigate. What I didn't do is instruct him on what to do should he learn the turf does not tolerate shade as he was informed. He will determine what he should do about being sold on misinformation.

He lives in the UK, and I doubt a sod farm would promote Bluegrass as shade tolerant or they'd have some serious explaining (or lying LOL) to do. Other than that, I have to disagree with the Bluegrass maintenance requirements you state. It doesn't require "more" of anything. That is really common misunderstanding and entirely untrue.

Allelopathy? I can imagine his confusion now and would rather throw in the towel LOL. Throwing something like that into the mix becomes too much to absorb and overwhelming on top of being overwhelmed. I'm afraid you missed his clues, one of which was to state the lawn established just fine the first year. Allelopathic effect would not allow it to get rooted at all really. Another clue was him saying the lawn is patchy all over. It's slim that one tree would have that type of effect but really isn't likely both trees are allelopathic, so the affect wouldn't spread all over the lawn.

Alaska, something I didn't think to ask is if you are certain you don't have an insect problem like grubs (or other) and that you don't have a rodent problem in the lawn like moles or voles. I think I would like to see your pictures afterall. How may I view them. Can you load them to a photo hosting site like Photobucket, or do you want to email them?

Please forgive my references, Alaska, if you are a woman.

The Helpful Gardener
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Bestlawns, I have been making my living as a corporate trainer for an organic lawncare company for several years, and both attending and teaching courses for NOFA (the leading organics training in the country)on this subject for some time. I am a certified nurseryman and have been doing this for decades, so I do not post information lightly or without accredidation...as for the sod lawn being fine in the first year, well it had its own soil the first year, right? Perhaps serious root to root contact was less pronounced?

Bluegrass cultural requirements for fertilizer run around 7-8 lb.s of nitrogen per thousand sq. ft. This exceeds the needs of any rye or fescue by over 100% (most of which require around 3-4lb.s per 1K). As for water, when people say blue grass is drough tolerant, they are technically correct; bluegrass is the very first grass to brown out and go dormant when it does not get the plethora of water it needs, and it will even survive as a brown, burned out mat longer than some of the fescues will. But as an acceptable looking turf, bluegrass requires a good deal more water (and yes, I am aware of breeding programs, mostly using Texas bluegrass, to change this...) It also has a higher disease susceptibility, with some diseases almost exclusively seen in bluegrass, like necrotic ring spot or melting out. It is the biggest generator of thatch of any grass species in lawn use, creating havens for sod webworm and chinchbug, two of the bigger insect scourges, and it is hopeless in shade where it's use assures powdery mildew to follow. Not to mention its monocultural status, which does nothing to help its disease issues...

All in all it is a poor choice for the average home lawn when preserving the ecological balance is of any consideration. If that isn't an issue, if you want to simply continue higher water use, despite evidence we are running out in this country, continue high nitrogen fertilization with ammonia salts, despite the evidences of NPS water pollution, and continue the use of fungcides and pesticides despite the detailed evidence of their damage to amphibian and piscine poulations and growing evidence of human health risks, then bluegrass is just fine...

I did not water my lawn once last year, and it stayed green all year long. I do not use bluegrass (although a little still exists); I have overseeded with TTTF in sun and fine/hard fescues in the shady areas. Most importantly I have been organic in practice for a few years and developed 18+ inches of roots, a goal you cannot reach with bluegrass and chemical fertilizers (high nitrogen feeding has been shown to be detrimental to blue grass root development, making it yet more water dependent). I am trying to convince people there is another way to do this other than contributing to water use and pollution, something I have been committed to for some time. I try to maintain an open mind when I see folks recommending chemical treatments for lawn and garden; it's a free country. But when I do put something on this site it is not a whim or a rumor, I have done homework...

HG
Scott Reil

Bestlawn
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The Helpful Gardener, you really don't have to prove yourself and your credentials to me. It really doesn't matter, as it does not negate my own knowledge and expertise I don't boast about. I'm afraid it is often so-called experts who spread misinformation. For example, there is no such thing as root to root contact. Perhaps you wanted that to mean root to soil contact because there were no roots in the soil when he laid the sod, remember? And there shouldn't be.

Another example is Bluegrass does not require 7-8 pounds of nitrogen, but 3-4 lbs/1000/year of nitrogen, as I stated and as is stated [url=https://www.midnightkentuckybluegrass.com/img/pdf/MidnightStarTechSheetUpdated.pdf]here[/url] and [url=https://www.turf-seed.com/bin/products/moonlighttechsht.pdf]here[/url], as do the tech sheets of all Bluegrass varieties/cultivars from any producer. They require 3-4lbs or less. Not one variety has ever required more.

Another example is your reference to the plethora of water it needs, which again is untrue. As I stated, it needs 1 inch of water per week, as all the cool season types require. In hot weather and during heat waves, the 1 inch should be spread out through the week since the grass needs refreshment just as you and I need to be hydrated during exceptionally hot weather. It's just that a beer or Pepsi won't do the trick on the grass. Well actually, a few beers would work wonders on it.

Another example is your disdain for the dormancy survival mechanism. As you say yourself, Bluegrass survives hot weather without moisture much better than the others because of dormancy, and then it emerges from dormancy none the worse for wear once temperatures are again favorable or moisture becomes available. Unlike Ryegrass and Tall Fescue, Bluegrass will not need renovating/reseeding afterward. This proves they all need the same 1 inch of irrigation per week. Tall Fescue will outlast Bluegrass without moisture, but it will not survive dormancy. So, how does that make it better and Bluegrass so much worse? The difference is there are options with Bluegrass - the turf manager can irrigate to keep it green through hot temps or they can withhold moisture and let it go dormant. Either way, they will have a beautiful lawn that doesn't need renovating.

Another example is the hybrid programs with Texas Bluegrass are insignificant where northern areas are concerned. The effort is to push Bluegrass deeper south, not north where Bluegrass is the prominent lawn type.

Another example is your reference to disease, which is overcome by proper maintenance regimes. The fact is, many areas have innate pressure for certain diseases. The way to combat that is to select resistant varieties. That's partly the job I assume, to teach people proper maintenance practices and accurate seed selection when blending varieties.

Another example is your misunderstanding of the Bluegrass monoculture, apparently not aware of the classification program for determining genetic diversity within the species. A monostand is not recommended. A monoculture is perfectly acceptable and suggested.

Another example is your mention of the Bluegrass root system. Bluegrass does not have a horizontally extended root system. That is an inherent trait of the species, just as Tall Fescue, Fine Fescue (expect for Creeping Red), and Ryegrass do not have rhizomes. They tiller in a bunch-type manner, whereas Bluegrass tillers and is also sod-forming as it spreads vertically across the soil by way of rhizomes. There is nothing to condemn either way. They all have their merits in characteristics and traits.

Another example is your misunderstanding of the fertilizer/root growth/growing season relationship. Fertilizer has adverse affects when too much is applied or is applied at the wrong time of year. Again, that is partly my job - to teach people proper maintenance, as opposed to bashing something I don't know anything about.

Another example is your claim that nothing forms thatch like Bluegrass. Are you not aware of Zoysia? And not all Bluegrasses form thatch, there are many varieties that do not, and there are some very aggressive varieties that form thatch more readily than the others. Thatch is a good thing though. Excessive thatch is not. Thatch can easily be managed and/or minimized when the lawn is properly maintained.

As you can see, everything you have stated is rumor borne of misunderstanding, personal opinion, and lack of knowledge. And, I haven't suggested anything that is wasteful or harmful, in that proper care conserves resources. I advise what to do and when to do it. Their preferences and what type of products they use is up to them. The only specific suggestions I have made are organic in nature, such as corn gluten meal and liquid aerifyers.

I am not too big to think I cannot still learn many things. Please adopt the same motto. There is no doubt in my mind we can learn from each other.

The Helpful Gardener
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Bestlawn, Thank you for your post. Some of this I was aware of, some of this is new information (I was aware of Midnight and that some new cultivars are gaining attention from organic lawn folks, but Moonlight was news). I think we still disagree on a few points, but I think we've done that enough here; I will PM you to continue this discussion. You are certainly correct about one thing; I can certainly learn from you, and I appreciate your contributions here...

HG
Scott Reil

Bestlawn
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Oops, I just noticed that one is Midnight Star though I meant to link to Midnight.
I should learn to read better. LOL

The Helpful Gardener
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Bestlawn, do you find this cultivar to be retail available? I have trouble getting Midnight wholesale...

Any opinion on Pennington's Mallard? I have heard good things about that as well, although the rates are still 3-5 lbs. per K, higher than the 2-3 that you use for rye or fescues. This is for sports turf, so they are going heavy at four pounds of nitrogen...

[url]https://www.uky.edu/Ag/ukturf/Athletic%20Field%20Pubs/Maintenance%20Program%20fescue%20and%20ryegrass.pdf[/url]

I know, sports turf isn't lawn, and they do use bluegrass for sports turf, too, but for no-irrigation, low fertility systems, as often found in organic lawncare, I have found bluegrass to be more problematic in my experience. Perhaps this is more a New England issue than a national one, and Best Lawn made me look again at bluegrass. I applaud breeders attempts to breed higher quality plants to require less inputs and suit landscape requirements, and look forward to trialing Midnight (my friend Mike Nadeau at Plantscapes told me about this grass and said it's changing his mind about bluegrass). Live and learn...

[url]https://plantscapesorganics.com/[/url]

HG
Scott Reil

Bestlawn
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Would it surprise you to learn there are many Tall Fescue and Ryegrass tech sheets that recommend 4-5 lbs/1000/year? Check out the Tall Fescue and Ryegrass requirements at the producer site (Turf-Seed) I linked to below.

May we please be fair in our assessments and comparisons because, like the other TF & Ryegrass requirements, the ball field schedule you linked to recommends 4 lbs a year, not 2-3.

But we wouldn't go by a ball field's recommendation anyway. We have to only rely on producers and university extension service articles. Have I to expect now that you will go searching for 1 or 2 extension articles that suggest something different than the other 48 or 49 extension service articles?

Trouble finding Midnight wholesale? No way.

Midnight is a product of [url=https://www.turf-seed.com/index.php]Turf-Seed.Inc[/url]. I honestly cannot confirm if Turf-Seed still does direct and/or internet sales. I know they used to before Scotts bought the company. I was so ticked off over it because I don't like Scotts that I never checked after the sale 2 or 3 years ago. But do call to find out. They used to offer very good prices in direct sales.

Or, you can call [url=https://www.roseagriseed.com/]Rose Agriseed[/url]. Bill Rose was the owner of Turf-Seed and Pure-Seed (seed testing and breeding). He's the one who developed Midnight and the one who sold Turf-Seed to Scotts, then he began another business that includes wholesaling most of the Turf-Seed products that he used to own. He offers very good prices and is a nice guy. Not only does he wholesale (wholesale quantity is 50# minimum), he will also sell small quantities at wholesale prices.

If you want [url=https://www.turfconnection.com/seeds/kentucky-bluegrass/Mallard.pdf]Mallard[/url] specifically, Valley Green is the supplier on my list that sells it. It is very much like Midnight in that it's classified as a Midnight Type. But, I definitely would not recommend it if you have shade, Midnight either, not unless you have light-moderate shade and you are blending it with 2 or 3 varieties that are shade tolerant and powdery mildew resistant.

If you check out my list, one of the first things you will see on the site (not my site but was named after me) is the lawn showcase slideshow. All but two of the lawns are Bluegrass and only one is not organic. The others are organically maintained and the homeowners prefer it to synthetic. But, these are all lawncare whackos like myself, and I proudly had a part in converting them - both to organic maintenance and to being a lawn whacko LOL. They have lawn displays that are the envy of their neighborhoods. So, it's a fallacy that organic managers want near-zero input. They want showplace lawns with minimum and practical input, and that's what they have. I don't judge anyone who prefers zero input. My effort is to help people accomplish what they want or to help with problems. I just think some people believe minimum input means doing nothing or does not equate with a lawn they can show off, so they put no effort in it or they haven't met me. LOL

The Helpful Gardener
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I agree that the predominant mentality in lawn care is focused on higher level inputs to create nitrogen; the system I am teaching uses biology as the dominant pool of N in the cycle (as it stays put and self replicates) and concentrates on stimulating the biology for those results. We find that high density of biology can achieve fancy results on a low input/ low water regime, but understand that this is a concept a lot of folks are not completely comfortable with yet. Dr. Elaine Ingham's work is central to this idea and I recommend reading this to anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of organic culture in the wild (or in low input culture...)

[url]https://www.jstor.org/pss/1942528[/url]

Thanks for the seed listings BL, I will certainly peruse these. Your admonition on bluegrass in shade falls especially true to my ear, and I think this may be the biggest part of my personal dislike; I live in the oldest populated area and therefore the area of the country most in afforestation, even in the burbs. We have shade or partial shade as often as not, and this probably colors my perception as well. I have found the native grasses (Perennial rye, hard and fine fescues) to do well in these areas and to be happy on a corngluten app in spring and returned clippings with biological supplementation for the rest of the year (once established). I have also weaned lawns off of irrigation, another expense and input with ecological implications, allowing them to weather anything short of catastrophic drought on natural water sourcing. Elaine's Compost Tea Manual has a picture of her friend Hendrikus holding a perennial rye plant he grew with no inputs beyond compost and compost tea. It has four feet of roots; what drought can touch it? What grub can destroy it? This is the kind of lawn I want...

Gardening is not science really, more art, and there are lots of different kinds of art, most of them good. We can utilize science in our pursuits, but even scientists differ (just ask Elaine). We may disagree on points but agree on wholes and are moving away from bad practice in either case. I look forward to sharing notes...

HG
Scott Reil

Bestlawn
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An internet buddy of mine talks about Malcolm Beck and a lot about the forest floor. Another buddy talks a lot about the teachings of Dr. Ingram, and he also introduced me to compost tea. These two people are who convinced me of the merits of organic lawn care, and I learned a lot from them. Most of it I don't remember and really wish I'd saved some of their great posts. I'm not nearly as deep into it as you are, so I know I can learn a lot from you, too. I try to ween people off synthetics but in a nonjudgmental way. If they want to use chemicals it's up to them, but I can often accomplish bending their ear from time to time, especially when it comes to converting simply by using grains for protein, which converts to nitrogen, and how they can make the grass plants less dependent on them. Then they become more interested usually.

My name is Bestlawn and I'm a freak for Kentucky Bluegrass. There is my confession LOL. No 12-step program needed. Showplace lawns are my thing.
Last edited by Bestlawn on Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

The Helpful Gardener
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Hey BL, I totally get there is an element that will never go to a 6 inch no-mow wild fescue lawn (my wife for one, or I'd already be there), and you know what? I'm good with that. Room for everyone to work here, as long as you are being responsible and moving forward and I am sure you are from what I read...

HG
Scott Reil

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Cool Member
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:28 am

I had to change an oversight in my last post to say "nonjudgmental" way.

Smart woman, your wife. LOL



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