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How To Create A Quality Lawn
How To Create A Quality Lawn

Video: How To Create A Quality Lawn

Video: How To Create A Quality Lawn
Video: How to Fix an Ugly Lawn in 5 Easy Steps 2023, March

Solving the problems of a quality lawn

A couple of years ago, on the pages of this magazine, I published a series of articles "From theory to action: the ideal lawn for the north-western climatic zone" with recommendations for the creation and maintenance of lawns in our region. There were responses, apparently many gardeners and summer residents took advantage of the advice.

But as time goes on, the magazine has many new readers who are interested in this topic, questions have arisen from regular readers, besides, a lot of different mixtures of lawn grass seeds have now appeared on our market. All this makes it advisable to continue talking about lawn problems …

lawn grass
lawn grass

If in the last series of my articles I tried to present the "lawn theme" in a certain academic sequence, now I want to dwell only on the main problems that our St. Petersburg summer resident often faces.

Let's start with the first problem facing the beginner connoisseur of English landscapes. What lawn mixture to choose for your "estate" so that its appearance is appropriate, and so that it is suitable, if not for the walks of the Queen of England, then at least fits into the available six acres, and the neighbor would not perceive your landscape work as a breeding ground of weeds.

First of all, when buying a mixture, you do not need to succumb to the charm of the beautiful name of the mixture and the magic of a bewitching picture from the life of English lords on the package. It is better to delve into the composition of the proposed mixture, no matter how fabulous it is called. For our climate, the most suitable herbs in lawn mixtures are various types of red fescue, do not confuse with meadow fescue, it will not give a good look to your lawn, it is better to sow it for livestock purposes.

Let's dwell on red fescue in more detail. I do not want to extol one or another variety, so as not to consider it an advertisement, but when creating lawns we use Danish varieties, as the most time-tested. By the way, you can really get to know them if you get to Moscow in the summer. There, at VDNKh, the Danes sow their herbs for general viewing. Nevertheless, I dare to name some varieties: Aniset is a slow growing variety with very good tolerance for mowing with a low cut. Elianor - has a low dense growth, increased resistance to drought. Hollywood - is distinguished by a high density of grass, and for our climate - excellent characteristics after the winter period. Pernille is the most disease-resistant, one of the narrow-leaved and very hardy cereals.

The Picnic variety deserves special attention, the density of its grass stand


contributes to the suppression of weeds, it has an increased resistance to wear. Most lawn mixtures include Echo, Rubina, Rapid varieties. These are fairly inexpensive, reliable varieties with increased drought resistance.

I will not give a list of all the world's known varieties of red fescue, but you should ask what varieties are included in the lawn mixture to be sure of the right choice.

The following types of red fescue, which are often included in lawn mixtures, are red hairy fescue and hard red fescue. Some varieties of hairy fescue: Cinderella - retains a dark green color until late autumn, has a thick cover. Napoli is distinguished by its shade tolerance and an exceptionally beautiful view. Symphony is the most disease-resistant variety with increased wear resistance. Hard red fescue can be represented by the following varieties: Simone - has a special resistance to diseases, good bushiness. Tamara - is distinguished by narrow densely growing shoots and high drought resistance. Medina - has the highest bushiness of all varieties, drought tolerant variety. Often, harsh sheep fescue and reed fescue are included in the lawn mixture. Here are the varieties of this fescue: Pamela - a variety,which is in harmony in color and density with red fescue and gives the mixture resistance to drought. Discovery - with a high density of grass and very narrow leaves.

Reed fescue - Cochise variety has narrow leaves, slow growth; Finlon variety - high wear resistance and drought resistance.

If you give a general description of red fescue, it will look like this. The foliage is significant, the leaves are narrow, resembling bristles in shape, tender, soft; located mainly in the lower part of the shoots. The root system is well developed; most of the roots are located in the soil at a depth of 15-18 cm. It is characterized by slow growth and development. It takes three years to achieve full development of the grass, but after mowing, it grows back quickly and forms mainly leafy shoots in large numbers.

Red fescue is characterized by significant winter hardiness; drought resistance is average. It is undemanding to the soil, as it grows on all soils - on light, medium and heavy; develops well on peaty soils, easily tolerates soil damping. It also develops well on sandy soils with a low content of humus substances and tolerates a lack of moisture. Differs in significant resistance to trampling. Holds the leaf mass well, remaining green until frost. Forms a dense and dense turf. To increase the

Sheep fescue (Festuca ovina)
Sheep fescue (Festuca ovina)

drought resistance of some varieties of red fescue, sheep fescue is added to the mixture, although there are very drought-resistant varieties among red fescue. However, a certain amount of sheep's fescue is often justified for decorative purposes, especially in English versions of lawn mixtures.

Here is a brief description of this culture. Sheep fescue (Festuca ovina L.) is a perennial, densely bushy grass. The height of the herbage reaches 30-60 cm. The leaves are located mainly in the lower root part and are dark green in color. The root system is highly developed, the bulk of the roots is in the soil layer at a depth of 25-30 cm. It is distinguished by significant drought resistance and winter hardiness. It develops well on all soils, up to dry sandy, on which it grows well, reconciling with a lack of nutrients. Does not develop in damp areas.

In the first year (when sown in spring) it forms small plants with short leaves. It throws out the stems only the next year, and reaches the full development of the grass stand 2-3 years after sowing. After mowing, it develops only leafy shoots. Winters well, starts growing very early next spring; keeps greens well throughout the season. Resistance to trampling is significant. Of the varieties used for sowing lawns, two are known. F. ovina var. tenuifolia is a narrow-leaved form of sheep fescue, which is shade-tolerant, has thinner foliage and forms denser turf. In England, it is appreciated as an ingredient in a mixture for creating thin lawns, especially on poor and stony soils.

F. ovina var. duriuscula - tough fescue, prized for its thin foliage and especially for its resistance to constant trampling. Differs in winter hardiness and drought resistance.

So, one of the main blocks of a lawn mixture is a combination of different types of fescue. This choice is justified by the fact that, being a polymorphic species, fescue is common in natural grass stands from tundra to steppe. The absence of elongated vegetative shoots and the near-ground position of the leaves determine the filling of the latter with the above-ground layer of the lawn, which lies below the cut level. Therefore, when mowing, most of the leaf blades are not cut off, and the decorative effect of the lawn is preserved.

Above I have listed the characteristics of some Danish varieties of fescue, but this does not mean that they are the best. The examples are given by me only for the purpose that when choosing a lawn mixture, you pay attention to the characteristics of the variety, which, as you can see, can vary significantly. This also applies to Dutch, German and Canadian varieties, which now abound in our market.

lawn grass
lawn grass

As for the price, at least if it is not associated with an advertising brand, and this happens quite often in our country, narrow-leaved, frost-resistant and disease-resistant cereals, as well as having outstanding decorative properties, are usually expensive.

It should be remembered that the lawn is not a pasture for livestock, and the seed rates should be optimally high to create such a density of sod, where there will be no room for weeds. Therefore, grass varieties must be adapted to thickened "lawn" sowing and give a very dense cover, but at the same time grow well in confined conditions. The usual lawn sowing rate is 4-6 kg of seeds per 100 m2. Various advertising recommendations promising lower planting rates usually result in more weeds, not savings. It should be remembered that a good lawn, with proper care and an optimally selected lawn mixture, is usually formed in three years.

If the climate of our northwestern zone were a little like southern Italy, or if the impact of the Gulf Stream came closer to us, as in England, then many lawn problems would be solved by sowing perennial ryegrass as lawn grass. Now you can find lawn mixtures on our market, which include this cereal in large quantities. As far as I know, frost-resistant varieties have not yet been bred. But this does not mean at all that it is necessary to reject those lawn mixtures where it is present. Usually 10-15% of perennial ryegrass seeds are added to a good composition. This is done, given its very rapid germination, the shoots of ryegrass create backstage for the more tender shoots of meadow bluegrass and species of fescue, as if shading from the harsh sun. When the main blocks of the lawn mixture develop, ryegrass gradually leaves the grass stand. You just need to pay attention to the perennial ryegrass varieties. The fact is that its leaves are wider than those of fescue, and against the background of a dense narrow-leaved carpet on highly decorative green coverings, it does not look. There are narrow-leaved ryegrass varieties, so they are desirable in a good mixture. Danish varieties include Danilo, Ase, Superstar. If you do not set the task of creating a perennial lawn, then mixtures with a high content of it can be used, the lawn is obtained when sowing such a mixture, it is quite decorative in the first year. If you do not set the task of creating a perennial lawn, then mixtures with a high content of it can be used, the lawn is obtained when sowing such a mixture, it is quite decorative in the first year. If you do not set the task of creating a perennial lawn, then mixtures with a high content of it can be used, the lawn is obtained when sowing such a mixture, it is quite decorative in the first year.

The second main block of perennial lawn mixture is meadow bluegrass. Let me remind you of his characteristics. The meadow bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) is a perennial grass root rhizome. The plant develops a large number of shoots and forms a dense closed continuous sod. Differs in significant foliage, with the bulk of the leaves located in the lower part of the shoots in the root part. The root system of meadow bluegrass is highly developed and penetrates much deeper than the arable layer - up to 30-40 cm and deeper, but the bulk of the roots is located in the arable layer - 15-20 cm.

lawn grass
lawn grass

It develops slowly and forms small plants in the first year. Reaches full development in the 2-3rd year. After mowing, slow growth is observed: it develops mainly leaves, without giving stems. Differs in significant winter hardiness and tolerates drought well. In relation to soils, bluegrass is undemanding and grows on all soils, except for acidic ones; achieves good development on fertilized sandy loam, loamy soils, on chernozem and improved peaty-boggy soils; develops very poorly on soils with excessive moisture. Prefers open sunny areas and partial shade places. In terms of resistance to trampling, it is a very valuable lawn grass. In addition, the meadow bluegrass retains its green appearance throughout the season, from early spring to late autumn, and also develops well in flooded meadows. When choosing varieties of meadow bluegrass, which is usually part of the mixture, you need to pay attention to the growth rate of the variety, frost resistance, appearance, and disease resistance. From the Danish varieties, Mardona - forms a grass cover faster than other varieties, it is a variety with a very high herbage density. Fast growing variety - Compact. Narrow-leaved - Wembley. Drought-resistant and the most frost-resistant, disease-resistant - Panduro.

So, we have solved the first problem - we have decided what composition our lawn mixture should be. We drew conclusions for ourselves that lawn grasses are very different in types and varieties, the quality of your future lawn depends on their varietal affiliation. Determined what and how much to sow. Problems remain, but the right mix is a good start.


So, we solved one problem associated with buying a lawn mixture, found a suitable composition of herbs, decided on the amount of mixture to be applied per 1 m? - decided that based on field germination, various losses, it is optimal to apply 85 g of grass seeds per square meter. Then we looked at the area set aside for the lawn and, we can say, found new problems.

Lawn soils

In the fall it was processed, but in the spring the impression is that in the fall they did not dig up, but drank beer. It is also difficult to explain to my wife that all the money was spent on the purchase of peat, compost, sapropel - some problems. What's the matter? In our climatic zone, soils are mainly sod-podzolic, somewhere peaty, somewhere - sandy, and chernozems are usually found in the south. Nature has distributed this way. Therefore, you should not abuse organic matter: it will not bring anything good, except weeds, to your lawn. And if you also have clay soil, then remember why they add manure to the clay when they make putty for apple trees. Our soils are cold, and the process of humus formation is very slow, so a completely different agricultural technique should be carried out than in the Crimea.

Microbiological activity on cold soils is very low, after such a manured lawn gets wet, the leg falls through, it is impossible to walk on it, only mud is obtained. If the land is very poor, then you can add floodplain or field soil. In general, you should regulate the looseness of your soil with coarse sand, ventilated peat, mineral fertilizers, acidity - with dolomite flour. We dig to a depth of about 25-30 cm. It is necessary to cultivate everything well, preferably with a milling cutter of a walk-behind tractor. Replenishment of humus in the future herbage will occur only due to the natural death of roots in the sod, with a regular mineral subcortex, the lawn will have an excellent appearance. You should know that the bulk of the roots of lawn grasses is located in the soil layer 5-10 cm.

Leveling the surface

It looks like we solved some problems with coarse sand, peat, mineral fertilizers and dolomite flour, and milling the soil. We solve the next problem with leveling our plot for a lawn with the help of a roller and watering. If there is no skating rink, level it with boards.

In terms of levelness, the surface should approach the dance floor, even if you spend a little more than a week, or even two, on this operation, then in the future there will be fewer problems with the lawn, including with weeds. And what about those summer residents whose lawn has been sown since the fall, but there were certain problems with flooding the site with melt water: something got wet, something got wet, the soil settled a little in the most "landscape places"; if your lawn looks like an abandoned dance floor, then that's good. In our soil and climatic zone, it will not work out that once I did the preparation of the lawn and forgot about it. Even in England, the need to control the condition of the lawn is remembered for centuries.

Moisture and flood resistant grasses

Lawn grasses also differ in moisture resistance. It consists in the ability of plants to maintain viability with excessive moisture, sometimes very long, and after the onset of normal conditions, recover well. Distinguish between plant resistance to flooding from the soil surface and resistance to flooding from below, from under the soil. Usually flooding with water from the surface occurs in the spring. The bluegrass is the most resistant to flooding and flooding. The unstable cereals include pasture ryegrass. It's okay, add good soil to low places, you can mix the soil with fertilizers, add dolomite flour. This flour, mixed with earth and scattered throughout the lawn, revitalizes our acidic soil very well, and the magnesium contained in it is a good corrector for the green color of your lawn grasses. In addition, the bluegrass, which is resistant to flooding, does not like acidic soils at all, red fescues still somehow put up with this evil, but they do not like flooding.

Damping out and soaking are usually observed under deep snow cover, when water stagnates with slow melting of snow. To speed up the melting of snow, you need to scatter ash over it.

Bulging of plants

It is noted with alternating thawing and freezing of the soil in winter. The soil settles and, as it were, squeezes out the plants, the tillering nodes are exposed, resulting in freezing and rupture of the roots. The meadowgrass suffers the most from this. Red fescue is distinguished by good winter hardiness. Meadow fescue belongs to plants that are not frost-resistant, but tolerate damping and soaking. Red clover, pink clover, perennial ryegrass die from freezing, damping and soaking. Taking into account the differences in the resistance to these natural factors of the individual components of your lawn mixture, sown earlier, during the spring revision, you can get a rather variegated picture of your lawn.

The intensity of light affects the intensity of plant growth, while the stems become elastic and acquire a certain shape. Thus, certain conditions of existence become necessary for a given species. Plants growing in different climatic conditions gradually adapt, make up the biocenosis of your site, and if you create the appropriate conditions, then the species composition of your lawn will gradually approach the English version, and not necessarily in two hundred years.

Longevity of lawn grasses

In perennial grasses, the aerial part of the vegetative elongated shoots dies off, and the shortened vegetative shoots of summer-autumn tillering persist and overwinter. In cereals, in the upper soil layer or directly at the surface is a part of the shoot, called the tillering zone, where buds are laid, from which new shoots grow every year, causing the vegetative renewal of herbs. Thus, perennial grasses can grow in one place for a number of years, but their longevity is not the same. In terms of life expectancy, they differ in not long-term - pasture ryegrass (3-4 years); medium long-term (from 4 to 5 years) - meadow timothy, meadow fescue; long-term (10 years and more) - red fescue, meadow bluegrass, bent grass.

Overseeding herbs

Spring regrowth of perennial grasses begins at an average daytime temperature of 3-5 ° C. Tillering in cereals occurs 2-3 weeks after the start of the growth of shoots above the soil surface. The energy of tillering depends not only on the type of plant, but also on the degree of its provision with water, light, and nutrients. Therefore, in the tillering phase, it is advisable to apply fertilizers both in spring and early autumn. For natural meadows, vegetative renewal is also characteristic, and, along with it, seed reproduction, therefore, in nature, grasses have a greater longevity. In our area and with our not always logical, from the point of view of nature, lawn care, I recommend, if not annually, then sometimes to oversow grass seeds. This can be done in spring or fall. You don't need to combine it with fertilizing and leveling the site, just as you don't need to dig it up. In natural conditions, grasses reproduce by self-seeding.

I do not recommend using regenerating mixtures that contain ryegrass, it quickly heals wounds, but freezes the next year. As a regenerating mixture, it is optimal to use meadow bluegrass and red fescue in a ratio of 50 to 50%.

apples on the lawn
apples on the lawn

Meadow bluegrass, although it is not able to quickly create a green cover - it will take 23 days - but if in other cereals the amount of root exudates and the suction power of the roots drop sharply by the age of 5-7, then these indicators hardly change over the years. For many years, it retains a high shoot-forming ability and vegetative mobility, and is resistant to frequent low mowing. There is a known case of good preservation of meadow bluegrass herbage after flooding with high water for 80 days. If it develops poorly in your herbage, then this suggests that you should increase the rate of application of dolomite flour, ash, i.e. your soil is too acidic.

Red fescue is good because it lacks elongated vegetative shoots, the ground position of its leaves determines the filling of the latter with the above-ground layer of the lawn, which lies below the cut level. Therefore, when mowing, most of the leaf blades remain uncut, and the decorative effect of the lawn is preserved. A characteristic positive feature of red fescue is the dark green color of elastic, glossy leaves, which retain this quality in cold and dry periods of the year. Thus, all the shortcomings of your lawn palette will be brightened up by overseeding a composition consisting of bluegrass and red fescue.

Watering lawns

Problems always arise in our unstable weather: often after cheerful spring days, the sun breaks out so that drought begins. Watering lawns is necessary systematically, as needed, taking into account the days with precipitation and their amount, cloudy days, the duration of drought and the composition of the soil on the lawns. Watering is carried out in such a way as to moisten the topsoil to a depth of 5-6 cm. It must be remembered that slight watering with wetting only a layer of 1-3 cm is not only not useful, but also harmful. Watering is carried out especially carefully and regularly on lawns in the period from sowing to germination. This is done necessarily by a fine spray method so as not to wash off the seeds and seedlings at first after their appearance. In the absence of precipitation, it is necessary to water the lawns after mowing and mowing. From a lack of moisture, the grass turns brown on them.

Weed control

Problems arise with the appearance of weeds. Herbicides in the hands of an ordinary summer resident often do not bring anything positive except harm to the lawn. The spread of weeds is largely facilitated by the lack of proper and timely lawn care, improper selection of the lawn mixture, and thinned grass stand. In the fight against weeds, weeding, careful selection of weeds from the site (especially rhizomes), and timely mowing of lawns are used. Although weeding is considered labor intensive, it must be done systematically, especially on shallow lawns. The first time it is done in the spring, soon after germination. During this period, weeds stand out sharply in their development and can be easily removed.

The main task is to remove them, if possible, entirely, with a root or rhizome. After weeding, all weeds are carefully, without scattering over the site, taken away from the territory. The second weeding is done before mowing. Performing two weeds in the spring to a large extent ensures the cleanliness of the lawn, and in the future weeding can only be done selectively. To remove some weeds that are sufficiently rooted, sometimes it is necessary to use knives to cut roots or rhizomes at a certain depth (15-20 cm). After the weed has been pulled out, the surface should be leveled, the grass mixture can be sown.

Controlling annual weeds is greatly facilitated. It is important to prevent their blooming and subsequent seeding, and this is achieved by timely mowing of the lawn. A good gasoline mower is better than any herbicide. The second important factor: since weed seeds sprout quickly and develop even faster, it is worth sowing lawns after the weeds that have appeared by the day of sowing have been destroyed in the areas not yet sown.

Trimming and dressing

The better the lawn care, the fewer problems with it. If the edges of the lawns are neglected and there is not enough care for them (overgrown with grass, trampled), then they spoil the overall appearance, violate the harmony. Trimming the edges of your lawn is a simple but necessary maintenance operation. Make it under the cord. The first pruning is done in the spring after the snow melts; in total, it is carried out two to four times during the season.

Lawn grasses for normal development need nutrients and feeding. With a lack of nutrition, the herbage is thinned out, because even during the mowing of lawns, a significant amount of nutrients is carried away, which can also lead to its clogging with weeds. The introduction and choice of fertilizers, their amount will largely depend on the composition of the soil and on its physical properties. Now in our market there are a lot of different complex fertilizers for lawns. Which one is best for your site is up to you.

But it should be remembered that our soils are most often acidic, and many fertilizing problems are associated with this phenomenon. Ash is used as a potash fertilizer; applied superficially over the lawn, from autumn - 8-10 kg per 100 m2, dolomite flour works well - 4-5 kg per 100 m2. Superphosphate as a phosphorus fertilizer is applied in a mixture with nitrogen and potash fertilizers at the rate of 1.2-1.0 kg per 100 m3. Potassium nitrate, which is valued as a nitrogenous fertilizer, is applied fractionally, in portions, 2-3 times during the season on the surface of the lawn, the general rate of its application is 3.5-4 kg per 100 m2. Modern fertilizers are supplied with appropriate instructions. Once again, I want to say that it is better not to use organic fertilizers on lawns, there is too high a probability of the introduction of weed seeds and diseases.

Turf care

The biological processes that take place in healthy turf promote normal plant growth. Therefore, turf care is very important. In addition to the surface application of various fertilizers, when caring for soil and sod, loosening of the surface layer of the lawn, sod is used, and the removal of moss that forms on its surface. Loosening of the upper sod layer promotes better air penetration into the lower soil layers, counteracts acidification, and affects its physical properties. Loosening of the top layer is done in the spring, as soon as the soil dries out a little after thawing and it will be possible to start work on the site. This operation is carried out with a metal rake, processed in two directions - along and across the site.

Loosening the upper layers of sod, at the same time remove the remnants of dead stems, shoots, etc. After such an operation, there is a stronger tillering and the formation of dense sod. Removing moss is also necessary as it degrades the physical properties of the soil and thinns the stand. If, after loosening, the exposed root necks of the grasses are observed, they are covered with good soil on top, in some places they are sowing seeds, if necessary. In the rest of their free time on the lawn, they enjoy its emerald greenery, because autumn is just around the corner, and there the lawn needs to be prepared for winter.

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