A GROWING CONCERN: Get out implements of destruction

NOVEMBER IS HERE, and with its arrival comes the advent of many specific chores and technical applications — none so much as your lawn and its care.

This needs to be properly acknowledged.

Getting the right pieces together for any big chore is the real, true challenge, and the lawn requires many tasks and implements of destruction.

Making sure to use them right and master these tools, which will allow you to have the perfect lawn (if that’s what you really want).

That got me really thinking about my yard, grass, what’s going on environmentally, the expense, time requirements and the reason for turf.

So let’s keep this really sweet and simple.

To grow and maintain a great yard of turf lawn, you need to follow these 10 rules, skipping none:

1. You must have great soil that holds nutrients well and provides good drainage (this is why sandy loam is so perfect).

2. Lime to keep your pH between 6.8 and 7.2, and apply it twice a year.

3. Avoid compaction, which is foot traffic patterns from mowing, but also traffic from your pets, kids and car.

4. Because compaction happens, aerate. If you don’t, the soil drainage and nutrient levels fall every three or five years. Please refer back to rule No. 1.

5. Add lots of organic nutrient because grass is a never-ending guest at the table of gluttony and reacts poorly to hunger pangs.

6. Use organic everything, because chemicals can kill the soil’s microbes and fungi. That leads right back to rule No. 1 with a bypass down the storm drain and into our watersheds.

7. Raise that mower up. All the above rules will be trashed in some manner if you cut through the canes of the turf grasses.

8. Overseed twice a year as weed control. Sow grass seed now and again at the end of March.

9. De-thatch when you aerate, because if you are doing all of this stuff, your grass will be growing like gangbusters.

10. Relax, because a weed or two is not bad, nor is a shaggy lawn for a while, or a yard covered with leaves for a few days.

And that’s my own personal rule: Relax. Grass takes a lot of time to maintain to a look of greatness.

Even though I dream of getting an expensive ride-around mower to make the chore easier, leaving the lawn alone (except for lime) and cutting it only several times a year keeps it green, lush and self-sowing without much noise, pollution, time allotment or effort while improving the soil.

My lawn is among the woods, the kids and all manner of varmints’ play there and other places, so for me and my lifestyle, this works quite well to leave it alone.

But follow these 10 rules and whammo: a picture-perfect lawn is yours.

________

Andrew May is an ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email news@peninsuladailynews.com.subject line: Andrew May).

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