Lawn Mowers


How to Install a Sod Lawn

November 21st, 2016 ernie Posted in Lawn Care | No Comments »

How to Install a Sod LawnWe covered how to seed a lawn in a previous post. In this post we will review the steps on how to install a sod lawn. One of the big advantages of installing new sod is that you immediately have a green lawn. There are a number of steps required to ensure that your lawn stays healthy and looking green the whole season. You don’t want to spend all of that money on a new lawn, particularly a sod lawn and then have it turn brown because you didn’t install it properly or look after it after the sod was laid down. The following are the steps that one should follow to ensure a great looking lawn.

Steps – How to Install a Sod Lawn

  • Choose high quality sod – if the sod already has brown spots or looks dried out, chances are it will not look very good or grow properly once installed.
  • Prepare the soil – make sure there is at least 3 inches of high-quality topsoil that is evenly spread across the area where you’re going to install the sod. There should be no gullies  or high points and you want to pack the soil lightly before laying the sod. Use a wide rake to level the ground and prepare it for the new sod.
  • Spread fertilizer and moisten soil – spread fertilizer evenly across the ground, avoid concentrations of fertilizer to avoid burning the new sod. Dampen the soil before laying the sod to provide a nice moist environment for the roots of the new grass.
  • Keep sod moist – once the side arrives at your home keep it moist and lay it as soon as possible. If it must sit in the hot sun for anytime, spray the sod with water. You want to keep the sod from drying out.

Laying the Sod

  • Start with a straight edge – always start along the straight hedge of your yard. A concrete driveway makes an excellent straight edge, or the side of your house for example.
  • Roll out the sod – One at a time taking care to maintain the straight edge that we mentioned earlier.
  • Place edges tightly together – wherever one piece of sod touches another. This will ensure that there are no small holes or areas that lack grass.
  • Cut pieces to fit – small areas and where you must fit in a small section of sod.  e.g. along the fence, around shrubs, or trees.
  • Roll to ensure contact – use a water filled rolling drum across your lawn. This will ensure that the sod is in contact with the moist soil underneath and to level out any rough edges.
  • Water thoroughly – lack of water on the new sod during hot weather is most often the cause for sod to dry up and die. For the first two weeks make sure that your new sod has lots of water so that the roots can establish themselves in the topsail underneath the sod.
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How to Repair Bare Patches in Lawn

November 7th, 2016 ernie Posted in Lawn Care | No Comments »

How to Repair Bare Patches in LawnBare patches in your lawn can occur for a number of reasons. Weak grass can die off during a dry spell. Disease and insects such as grubs etc can also cause patches of dead grass. Clearing weeds can leave more bare spaces! We will cover how to repair bare patches in lawn, but first there are some issues to consider.

How to Repair Bare Patches in Lawn – spring or fall

The best time to do repairs to your lawn is in the spring before it gets dry and hot. Early fall is also good when there is usually more rain and temperatures are lower. Leave enough time for the grass establish itself before going dormant in cold weather.

Begin by removing the dead thatch. Remove all weeds and any weaker grass around the spot you are working on. Add good top soil to ensure  the lawn will be level. Tamp the soul lightly.

Add lawn seed or sod. If you are applying lawn seed, spread it evenly and then lightly rake the soil to cover the seeds. Be careful to avoid leaving spots with no seeds.

Finally water the area gently. You should keep the soil moist until germination of the seedlings. Continue watering daily for several weeks until the new grass is well established.

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Removing Noxious Weeds

October 21st, 2016 ernie Posted in Lawn Care | No Comments »

Removing Noxious WeedsResidential consumers are always concerned about weeds invading their lawns and killing the grass. Removing noxious weeds or weeds that the consumer considers noxious is not the same as official lists from the government. A noxious weed list typically includes weeds that most home owners will never encounter. For example most people will never have thistles in their lawn. For farmers, thistles are a huge problem. Most consumers have to deal with dandelions in their lawns, which actually is not on the official obnoxious weed list! This post will focus more on the average urban consumer and what you can do to remove more common weeds such as dandelions, crab grass and other types of weeds.

Removing Noxious Weeds from Your Lawn

One of the most important things is to never allow the weeds to take over your lawn. If you maintain a healthy thick lawn, the weeds will have a tough time getting established. Never the less there will always be some that seem to make a toe hold in your lawn. When you see these weeds, remove them immediately so they do not become a problem.

There are several ways to remove noxious weeds from your lawn and gardens. The simplest and least time consuming method is to pull the weeds removing the entire root when you do. It may take an hour or so once a week but it is definitely worth it. Removing weeds on a regular schedule will allow you to keep ahead of them. It is also environmentally friendly.

If the weeds have over taken your lawn, you may need to spray the lawn with a weed killer of some kind. Note that many municipalities have outlawed many weed killers due to their impact on the environment. Choose the weed killer with care and apply following the instructions provided. Once they die off apply lawn seed and top soil,water until the new seedlings are healthy.

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How to Seed a Lawn

October 7th, 2016 ernie Posted in Lawn Care | No Comments »

How to Seed a LawnIf you decide you want to seed your lawn instead of using sod, you will need to follow different steps. We will outline how to seed a lawn using lawn seed, a rake, a roller and medium to light mulch. It is important to keep the new lawn seed watered to help germination and continue growth. Once you have established the right kind of topsoil for your lawn the first step is to rake the soil to establish a level lawn. There are a couple of important points to remember in the step. The top soil should be level to avoid puddling during watering or rain fall. There should not be any dips or high areas to avoid the lawn mower scalping the lawn when your are mowing.

How to Seed a Lawn

Once you are confident that the top soil is level and there is good soil everywhere, it is time to move to the next step. Sow the seed using a fertilizer spreader following the same steps for fertilizer. Avoid high concentrations and gaps in the lawn seed. Always cover the area twice with the direction of spread at 90 degrees to the first application.

Next you need to lightly rake in the soil and lawn seed. Avoid changing the concentrations and only cover the seeds by one eight to one quarter of an inch. Next roll the soil to compress the soil around the seeds and causes germination to proceed quickly.

You may want to add light mulch to help retain moisture in the soil and help the lawn seed get established. Avoid heavy mulch which could smother the grass seedlings.

Water thoroughly and regularly to help with germination and to help with lawn growth until it is well established. High light the area to with ribbons or bright string to keep neighbors and children from accidentally walking across your lawn.

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Sample Lawn Seed Mix

September 21st, 2016 ernie Posted in Landscaping | No Comments »

sample lawn seed mixA sample lawn seed mix will show the types of grasses and weeds that are included. Depending on where you live the percentages as well as the type of grasses may vary. A good sample list will show a very low percentage of noxious weeds. It will also show a high percentage of germination. Examine various seed products at your local store. While you might have to pay a little more for quality seed, it is well worth it. A high rate of germination and a relatively lower level of weeds will make your life much easier. Your new lawn will also look much better as well.

Sample Lawn Seed Mix

While it is impossible to keep all weeds out of a bag of seed, percentages of less than .03% should be typical. You will also have inert matter and some crop seed. Around 1% for inert matter and .01% is typical of these materials. Inert matter is chaf, dirt and miscellaneous matter sometimes manages to get included during the cleaning process.

The origin of the grass will be shown when it is more than 5% of the total. This is a clue to help you decide if this grass mixture will grow in your area. Germination rates are also shown. Germination rates decrease as the age of the seeds increases and as conditions for growing become less than ideal. 80 to 90% is typical in ideal conditions.

Finally the percentage of each type of grass is included. This percentage is by weight not quantity of seeds. This indicates the type of grass and consumers should confirm that this is the type of lawn that will do well in the area they live. Also the type of lawn they wish to grow.

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Tips for Seeding a New Lawn

September 7th, 2016 ernie Posted in Landscaping | 1 Comment »

Tips for Seeding a New LawnMany consumers opt for the less expensive option of seeding a new lawn rather than laying new sod. We decided to write a post about tips for seeding a new lawn to help our subscribers prepare the earth and choose the proper seed. The first tip is to choose good quality seed. Spend a few more dollars to purchase weed and disease free lawn seed. Spending a few more dollars now will save you a great deal of money in the future. No weeds or disease to be concerned about. The next tip is to choose the right grass type for the area in which you live. Some grasses do better in cooler climates while others are drought resistant and do well in arid climates.

Tips for Seeding a New Lawn

In addition to being adapted to where you live, is the lawn for decoration or will it receive a lot of traffic? Is there partial shading or will it have full exposure to the sun? How much tender loving care will the lawn need and do you have the time to spend on it? Read the labels to ensure that you purchase the correct lawn seed for your area and the local conditions it must tolerate.

Next read the label and description regarding how much lawn seed you will need for your new lawn. Have your lawns measurements ready so that you purchase the proper amount of lawn seed. Note that percentages of grass types are based on the number of seeds of each type in the bag. Not all will germinate for a variety of reasons.

All lawn seed will contain some weed seeds. These will grow and at some point you will need to deal with these weeds growing in your lawn. the label should indicate what percentage of seeds will be from weeds. Obviously the lower percentage you can get is better and will cost more as well. In the long run most consumers will agree that it is better to pay a little more rather than deal with a lot of weeds in the lawn.

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Installing a New Lawn

August 21st, 2016 ernie Posted in Landscaping | No Comments »

Installing a New LawnIt can be tempting when installing a new lawn to just grade the earth and begin installing the new sod. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. If you would like a healthy lawn for the long term. There are a number of steps that should be followed when installing a new lawn. We will cover these steps in this post. Look for more details in future posts. The installation of your new lawn whether it is being done by yourself or by a professional company you have hired. This will determine your expectations as well as how much your new lawn is going to cost to install.

Installing a New Lawn Steps

  • Examine the soil for weeds. Look  for types of soil, condition of the soil, amount of debris, grade, need for adding healthy soil over clay for example.
  • Remove all of the debris that may be on the surface or visible on the soil.
  • Remove all weeds, water the soil, wait for seeds to germinate and remove the new growing weeds.
  • Establish a rough grade based on leveling the soil and keeping in mind natural drainage.
  • Measure your lawn area so that you have an idea of how much grass seed or sod you are going to need.
  • Add nutrients to the lawn, e.g. topsoil over clay, organic matter
  • Add high phosphorus fertilizer will help the grass to thicken quickly
  • If you plan on installing an underground sprinkler system, now is the time to do so before the grass seed is sown or the sod is installed.
  • Establish the final grade. Depending on the size of your new lawn, you may want to use a rake or a larger instrument to level the lawn. This will also fill in low lying areas.
  • Roll the soil to firm it up. This will also level it before installing the new sod or planting the new seed.

Our next post will talk about planting new seed in your new lawn.

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Zoysiagrass

August 7th, 2016 ernie Posted in Types of Grasses | No Comments »

ZoysiagrassThe scientific name for Zoysiagrass is Zoysia species and can be found throughout the southern United States. It forms a dense fine textured lawn that resists weeds. It is good in heat and drought situations making it ideal for the south. It appears to be free from disease and insect pests although billbugs may bother it. It does take a while to establish itself and does not do well in short summers or cool environments. Its main weakness is that it is very slow to establish itself especially if summers are short and cool. The blades are tough to mow if left too long and it also can build up a great deal of thatch.

Zoysiagrass

It grows slowly in the shade, but does do better than Bermuda grass. Water needs are low to medium and the same with fertilizer. Zoysiagrass only requires .3 to .5 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet. It wears well and should be mowed at a height of one to two inches. Most home owners have found that it adapts best throughout the southern US.

Since it requires relatively little water compared to many other grasses, Zoysiagrass can tolerate less moisture for longer periods. You will not need to water your lawn as much as some other grasses during dry conditions.

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St Augustine Grass

July 17th, 2016 ernie Posted in Types of Grasses | No Comments »

St Augustine GrassThe scientific name for St Augustine grass is Stenotaphrum secundatum. It is a robust and fast growing grass type, tolerates salty soil and it is also a good shade grass. One main weakness is that Chinch bugs can do considerable damage to this type of grass and it tends to also thatch badly. It is one of the best shade tolerant species compared to all of the other grass types. St Augustine grass also needs lots of water and medium to high levels of nitrogen fertilizer. From .4 to .8 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet per growing month is required. Unfortunately it does not wear very well.

St Augustine Grass

The mowing height should be from two to three inches. Mowing too low allows weeds to take hold and possibly sunburn. Mowing too high allows thatch to build up quite rapidly. It is best adapted to southern California and mild areas of the southwest and golf coast states. It does best in neutral or alkaline soils.

If thatch does build up gardeners should consider de-thatching the lawn to allow air and nutrients to penetrate to the roots. Some gardeners will regularly de-thatch their lawns once per year to prevent extended buildup of the thatch in the lawn.

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Dichondra

July 7th, 2016 ernie Posted in Types of Grasses | 1 Comment »

DichondraDichondra micrantha is a warm season ground cover grass type that is actually not grass. It is a broad leaf plant that makes a lush, dense and bright green carpet when properly looked after and well maintained. It requires less mowing than many other grass types and is subject to only a few disease types mainly in the southwestern United States. A variety of bugs like the Dichondra such as cutworms, flea beetles, snails, and slugs.  Once weeds invade they are difficult to get rid of . This grass type is susceptible to alternaria in Texas and East-word. It also has better shade tolerance than Kentucky bluegrass and is generally considered to have good shade tolerance.

Dichondra Micrantha

Dichondra requires lots of water and medium to high amounts of fertilizer. Nitrogen in amounts of .5 to 1.0 pound per 1000 square feet per month. It does not wear well and cannot deal with a lot of foot traffic. It should be mowed to a few inches high in shaded areas where there is little traffic and lower in other areas, which helps to keep out the weeds.

It does well in hot conditions, but does not like humid conditions or temperatures below 25 degrees F.

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Centipedegrass

June 21st, 2016 ernie Posted in Lawn Care | No Comments »

CentipedegrassCentipedegrass is another warm season grass with the scientific name Eremochioa ophiuroides. It is a good low maintenance general purpose lawn that adapts well in poor soil conditions. It can also be aggressive enough to crowd out weeds and needs less mowing than most grasses. One big advantage is that this grass is resistant to chinch bugs which can decimate other grass types. This grass type can be a great low maintenance type of grass for lawns in the southern United States. It does not wear well and will only recover slowly from damage from too much foot traffic for example.

Centipedegrass

The Centipedegrass is coarse textured and has a light green texture. It can turn yellow from chlorosis and is also sensitive to low temperatures. Adding too much nitrogen will cause a build up of thatch. It is also fairly tolerant to shade.

Fertilizer should be in the range of .1 to .3 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet  per year. Usually the stated amount is per month. Note that this is the amount you should add per year for this grass type.

With a shallow root system, it can be sensitive to drought or dry conditions. Water often to avoid problems. mowing height is from one to two inches.

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Improved Bermudagrass

June 7th, 2016 ernie Posted in Lawn Care | No Comments »

Improved BermudagrassImproved Bermudagrass is a warm season grass with the scientific name of Cynodon species. Improved bermudagrass has most of the same characteristics of common bermudagrass, however it is generally it is softer with a finer texture and more dense than it’s counterpart. It also needs more water, should be mowed more often and requires more fertilizer to keep it looking great compared to common bermudagrass. Since it is thicker and more dense, thatch control may also be required from time to time.

Improved Bermudagrass

It is not tolerant to shade and needs lots of water in dry conditions, compared to it’s sister grass.  Fertilizer from .7 to 1.0 pound per 1000 square feet per month should be added to have a healthy looking lawn. This grass type has an excellent wearability compared to other grasses we have reviewed.

Mowing height is between 1/2 inch and 1 inch. It is well adapted in the south and southwest, the east coast and the eastern mid west.

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Common Bermudagrass

May 21st, 2016 ernie Posted in Types of Grasses | No Comments »

Common BermudagrassThe scientific name for common bluegrass is Cynodon Dactylon. Common Bermudagrass likes a lot of heat and will grow in most soils. It will also take a lot of abuse and as a result it is one of the most common grasses for lawns. It does not require a lot of maintenance and if you give it some tender loving care you will have a beautiful lawn. It can be considered invasive, will turn a bit brown in dry conditions or in the fall until spring arrives. Common Bermudagrass also has poor shade tolerance.

Common Bermudagrass

It is considered to be drought tolerant and requires .5 to 1.0 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet per growing month. It wears well and tolerates traffic abuse. Home owners should keep the lawn at 3/4’s to 1.5 inches in length. Mow often to maintain a great looking lawn.

It does well in lower levels from Maryland to Florida  in the east as well as Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Many home owners use this type of grass for their lawns since it does so well with minimal maintenance. Your lawn can be the envy of all of your neighbors. Don’t be concerned if it begins to turn brown in the fall. this is natural and will look great in the spring once the temperatures warm up and moisture increases.

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Bahiagrass

May 7th, 2016 ernie Posted in Types of Grasses | No Comments »

BahiagrassThe scientific name for Bahiagrass is Paspalum Notatum. Bahiagrass is a low maintenance grass with an extensive root system which makes it a great solution for erosion control. It can also withstand droughts better than other grass types that do not have the extensive root system. It is also considered moderately aggressive with a fair to good tolerance for shade conditions. Bahiagrass wears and should be mowed at a height of 2 to 3 inches in length.  This grass does best where there is consistent rain spread over the season, however as mentioned it can also withstand moderate drought conditions.

Bahiagrass – Weaknesses

Bahiagrass provides a coarse open type of lawn, it grows fast and must be mowed often to show a nice manicured lawn. Some consumers would consider it a weed if it were to appear in other types of grasses or lawns. It sometimes will turn slightly yellow due to chlorosis, it suffers from dollar spot and attracts moles and crickets.

It has a medium need for fertilizer  with .5 pounds of fertilizer per 1000 square feet of lawn per growing month. It is best adapted in infertile sandy soil conditions. It is typically found in the central coastal areas of North Carolina, eastern Texas and also popular in Florida.

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Turf Type Perennial Ryegrass

April 21st, 2016 ernie Posted in Types of Grasses | No Comments »

Turf Type Perennial RyegrassTurf Type Perennial Ryegrass is a cool season grass with a scientific name of Lolium perenne. This type of grass is a fast germinating and fast establishment type of grass. It is a great type of grass to mix with other types such as fine fescue and Kentucky bluegrass. Mows more cleanly than other types of grass and has improved heat tolerance  and cold tolerances.  Very good lawn to withstand a lot of traffic. Turf Type Perennial Ryegrass may suffer from winter kill in colder climates. Since it grows so well, it can over power other grasses if it has more than a 20% mix of seed types.

Turf Type Perennial Ryegrass

It has medium shade tolerance and needs lots of water. Fertilizer requirements are .3 to .5 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn per growing month.

It mows very well and should be cut between one and two inches. Turf Type Perennial Ryegrass does well in coastal regions with mild winters and cool moist summers.

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Annual Ryegrass Italian Ryegrass

April 7th, 2016 ernie Posted in Types of Grasses | No Comments »

Annual RyegrassAnnual Ryegrass is a cool season grass whose scientific name is Lolium multiflorum. This type of grass germinates very fast and as a result quickly establishes itself. Some gardeners will use this grass type as a temporary planting to have a quick lawn. This type of grass will last for one year only and does not tolerate cold or heat very well. It can also grow in clumps which does not make for a nice looking lawn. It has a relatively poor to medium shade tolerance and also needs lots of water to keep it growing and looking healthy.

Annual Ryegrass – Fertilizer

You should plan on .3 to .5 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet per growing month if you want the grass to remain healthy for the season. Gardeners can mow this grass to a height of 1.5 to 2 inches in height, longer during dry conditions.

This type of grass is not recommended if you want that golf course smooth green look to your lawn. Annual Ryegrass does not mow cleanly and as mentioned only lasts for one year at the most.

 

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Tall Fescue

March 21st, 2016 ernie Posted in Types of Grasses | No Comments »

Tall FescueTall fescue is a cool season grass with the scientific name – Festuca arundinacea. Tall Fescue is a tough grass that can withstand lots of traffic and play. It can also withstand some diseases  and has insect resistance. Tall Fescue is green all year and acts as a good transition grass from one zone to another. Many consumers will confuse if with crabgrass and visa versa. Crabgrass dies off in the fall after releasing seeds. You can tell the difference very quickly as crabgrass dies off. One of the disadvantages is that it tends to clump and will dominate other grasses. If this is a concern you may not want to use this particular grass type.

Tall Fescue – Water and Fertilizer Needs

Shad tolerance is good and it also has good drought tolerance as well with deep roots and a clumping style as mentioned. Fertilizer should be applied at a rate of .1 to .5 pounds per 1000 square feet during the growing season. This grass wears well in the spring and fall when it is growing quickly, however less so in the summer during dryer periods.

Mow high at a level of 2 to 3 inches. It does well in cool seasons while also having he ability to tolerate heat conditions.

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Is It better to Repair a Riding Lawn Mower or Buy New

March 7th, 2016 ernie Posted in Maintenance | No Comments »

Repair a Riding Lawn Mower or Buy NewThere are a number of variables to consider when consumers try to answer the question, is it better to repair a riding lawn mower or buy new. What will the labor cost be? Can you do the repairs yourself? What parts are needed and can you even get them? Have the parts for your machine been discontinued? Engine parts and transmission parts tend to be more expensive and depending on the machine difficult to obtain. Consumers also need to be able to transport their existing riding lawn mower to the repair shop even if it is just for an estimate. The answers to all of these questions will help you answer the question above, is it better to repair a riding lawn mower or buy new.

Is It better to Repair a Riding Lawn Mower or Buy New

The other big question si what will a new riding lawn mower actually cost. They can range from $700 to more than $5000 depending on the horsepower of the engine and the features that they may have. Do you need a simple riding lawn mower to just get your large lawn mowed? Or do you need something more substantial with more power and the ability to add attachments for other jobs around your yard?

The best approach to answering this question is to get quotes for the repairs you may need to have and quotes for a new riding lawn mower. If the buy new quote is close to the repair cost, then you might as well bite the bullet and purchase a new machine.

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Creeping Red Fescue

February 21st, 2016 ernie Posted in Types of Grasses | No Comments »

Creeping Red FescueThe scientific name for creeping red fescue is Festuca rubra rubra. It is often used as a component of bluegrass mixture blending well and supporting bluegrass. It grows well in shade conditions and also in drought conditions. It has a fine texture with a deep green color, preferred by many gardeners and home owners. It’s weakness is that it is susceptible to summer stress in moist fertile soils. It does very well in cooler seasons in dry  shady areas. As a result it has good drought tolerance. Let it grow a little longer and thicker during dry periods and the creeping red fescue grass will do very well keeping your lawn green looking over the dry period.

Creeping Red Fescue – Water Needs

It has good drought tolerance as previously mentioned and has low to medium fertilizer needs. Spread between .1 and .5 pounds over 1000 square feet to maintain a great looking lawn. It is slow to recover if damaged and does not do well if there is a lot of foot traffic. Mowing height should be 1.5 to 2.5 inches, longer during dry conditions.

Creeping red fescue is best adapted in the great lakes region, where summers are cool in higher elevations and coastal regions.

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Hard Fescue

February 7th, 2016 ernie Posted in Types of Grasses | No Comments »

hard fescue The scientific name for hard Fescue is Festuca ovina yar! It has improved tolerance to many other types of fine Fescues. Hard fescue can tolerate heat, drought, leaf spot and dollar spot much better than many other grass types. It has one weakness compared to other types of fescue and that is that it is slower to establish itself compared to other grasses. Hard fescue also does well in shady areas provided that there is good drainage. Overly wet conditions do not help the grass, in fact it does not do well in these conditions. It really does prefer dry conditions and has good drought tolerance.

Hard Fescue – Fertilizer Needs

The amount of fertilizer needed by this grass type is relatively low at .1 to .3 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn. Fertilizer should be applied once per month for optimum results.

It does well for wearability, however a path should be created if a walking path is needed. Mowing height should be from 1 inch to 2.5 inches in height. this grass type also does well when summer night time temperatures are moderate. Regular watering also helps in severe drought conditions.

Hard Fescue can also do well in shady areas. Allow it to grow longer in dry conditions to provide shade protection for the roots and prevent the grass roots from drying out and the ground from also drying out.

 

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