A GROWING CONCERN: Make the grass greener on your side

Secrets to great grass on the Peninsula

THE DEW NOW is extremely heavy on the grass, and both the car and any clothes left out are wet.

This means that both the day and evening temperatures are decreasing and the soil surface of your lawn is moist every morning.

We all know that very soon your grasses (and weeds in it) will be growing at an accelerated rate.

With that said, 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 in headlong, let us first begin with a basic, an absolute tenet.

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 — GRASS: Grueling Repetitive Annual Seasonal Service. GRASS.

It is the grueling and service aspects of the lawn we will be mostly addressing here, and how to mostly take them out of the picture.

That leads us next to the tenets of an easy, weed-free lawn with far less hassle.

1. Your lawn must be mowed at a height of 3.5 or 3.75 inches (or higher).

2. A few weeds are acceptable, natural 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 low-weed lawn, you will over-seed twice a year.

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

7. Deep waterings are far better than watering often, even weekly.

See how easy it is going to be?

Just a Lucky 7 of tenets how to dramatically improve your lawn, reduce the workload, lessen the weed and naturally green up the lawn during summer.

A tenet is a principle held true by members of a profession or movement — and this is a movement.

So at this point, lets 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.

Getting the dirt

The very next step is a soil sample.

With the help of the Clallam conservation District, 360-452-1912 ext. 5. Or better yet, go to www.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 and amount of lime and organic fertilizer to use per 1,000 square feet.

The bare facts

But today, let us finish with the over-seeding — 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 over-seeding twice a year, in both fall and early spring (actually late winter), new grass seedlings will grow and consume space.

Over the course of a few years, there will be few open areas for weeds to germinate.

For you see, grass seed, too, can only grow on bare space.

So year after year, season after season, little open ground will exist for weeds.

Then, too, a thick lush lawn, mowed correctly (see tenet 1, and it is No. 1 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 here comes the real secret trick.

The temperature required for most turf weed seeds need to be in the forties or higher for proper germination, but grass 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 then again in late February, we gain the upper hand by having newly applied grass seed sprout but no weed seeds germinating.

This allows you to plug the holes (bare space and 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.

Still start this autumn by following the seven tenets of a great lawn; but remember — the greatest tenet is to stay well all.

Happy Labor Day!


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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