A GROWING CONCERN: Make the grass greener on this side

FOR WEEKS NOW, my readers have been asking for more information on over-seeding and drastically changing your grass to a far more efficient and better-looking lawn.

Before we dive headlong into a several week series, let’s begin with a basic definition and absolute tenets.

First, most people are greatly confused because they believe grass is a word for a particular plant. Well, you are wrong.

Grass is actually an acronym, G-R-A-S-S.

Grueling,

Repetitive

Annual

Seasonal

Service

It is the grueling and service aspects of the lawn we will be mostly addressing here for the next few weeks — and how to mostly take them out of the picture.

That leads to the tenets of an easy common green and weed-free lawn with far less hassle.

1. Your lawn must be mowed at a height of 3.5- to 3.75- inches minimum.

2. A few weeds are acceptable, actual and expected.

3. Lime is the miracle drug of the lawn.

4. You will not use chemicals on your lawn. Organic is the only way to go.

5. In order to have a green, thick, lush, no-weed lawn, you will overseed twice a year.

6. Rye and fescue grasses are the most desirable types for your lawn here on the North Olympic Peninsula.

7. Deep watering is far better than watering often or even weekly.

See how easy it is going to be?

Just a few “Lucky 7” ideas to dramatically improve your lawn, reduce the workload, lessen the weeds and naturally green up the lawn during the summer.

So at this point, review the list once again and see if you can actually subscribe to this new and vastly superior method of a greener lawn with less work, effort, time, money and resources.

The very next step is a soil sample with the help of the Clallam Conservation District, so make sure you call them at 360-452-1912, ext. 5. Or better yet, go to clallam.ssc.wa.gov for all the relevant information.

You will need to do this because tenets 3 and 4 can only be properly applied in the correct amount if you get your soil tested and receive the recommendations on amounts of lime and organic fertilizer to use per 1,000 square feet.

But today, let us finish with the overseed, tenet 5, for it is a real miracle worker.

First and foremost, weeds can only grow where there is a bare space or where an annual weed will die out and create the bare space required for future weed production.

The principle is simple: By overseeding twice a year, in both fall and early spring, actually late winter, new grass seedlings will grow and consume space, and over the course of a few years there will be few open areas for weeds to germinate.

For you see, grass seed can only grow on bare space. So year after year, season after season, little open ground will exist for weeds.

A thick lush lawn, mowed correctly (it’s tenet number one for a reason), will crowd out, shade over and thus kill new weed seedlings.

A lush, thick lawn is a very aggressive plot of plants that few weeds, if any, can adequately compete with.

But now, we come to the real secret trick.

The temperature required for most turf weed seeds needs to be in the 40’s or higher for proper germination, but a seed can germinate at 33 degrees.

It is this ability of grass seed to germinate well here any month of the year that is the real advantage.

By sowing in both early, early November and then again in late February, we gain the upper hand by having newly applied grass seed sprouting but no weed seeds germinating.

This allows you to plug the holes (bare space in open ground) twice a year only with your selected high-quality, low-weed seed, high-germination grass seed and to not have weeds compete with this new grass.

The effect of this phenomenon in only a couple years is astounding.

Next week, we’ll talk about grass seed, what to buy and how to apply. In the meantime, go get your soil tested.

________

Andrew May is a freelance writer and 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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