19 December 3, 2007

It looks as though the cold weather is here to stay. It’s time to think spring thoughts.

Over the years, I have heard many gardeners complain that they cannot get grass to grow in their yard. They have tried planting different types of seed. They have installed sod. They have had the yard hydro-seeded. All these thing have been successful at first, but eventually the grass dies out. I have found that the easiest way to help them is to send them back home and have them dig a hole about 6 inches deep and bring that 6 inch deep core of soil back to the store. In the vast majority of cases, this points out what the problem is in their lawn. The answer is that there is not enough depth of good quality soil to allow the lawn to grow properly.

If you want a lawn to grow properly, you need to have at least 6 inches of high quality loam. The unfortunate fact is that when many new homes are built, only a 2 inch layer of maybe iffy quality loam is laid down on the ground. This will allow the grass to initially grow, but once the heat of the summer arrives, the grass will die out. Sure you can put in a sprinkler system. But the money you pay for the system plus what you pay for water and sewerage charges is way more than if you just laid down 6 inches of good loam. With the proper depth of soil, the grass roots will go deep into the soil. Even if an extended drought comes along and the grass turns brown, the next rainy spell will cause those deep grass roots to put up new blades of grass.
Over the years, I have told this to customers and some will take the advice and dig out the poor soil and fill back in with  good loam. On the other hand, I have had people who feel that the price to do that is too steep and they will try putting down a half inch of soil, fertilizer, seed and then water the area. Sure enough, the grass grow, but again it dies out. I think if they realized that doing this year after year will, in the long run, cost as much as if they did it right the first time.

Having enough good quality soil is not limited to lawns. Any plant that you put into the ground needs to have good soil for proper root growth. If a plant cannot develop a good root system, then the plant is doomed to poor growth or it even may lead to the death of the plant.
When spring comes, take some time to check out the depth and quality of the soil in your lawn and gardens. Spring is a time of renewal, as the saying goes. Why not make this spring the time that you develop good planting beds or even finally get to digging up that so-so lawn and supplying the grass with the right depth and quality of soil. Gardening is suppose to be fun. Yes, it can be work, but it should be rewarding work. If you go to all of the work to put plants in the ground, you might as well be rewarded with beautiful and healthy plants and a lawn that you can enjoy.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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