Not many people realise that creating a new lawn takes advance planning and work. Sowing seeds or laying sod is only the final step.
1. Determine the type of grass you need
Start by determining what type of grass is needed, the purpose for which it is set, and how it will be used. This will ultimately determine the type of warm-season grasses that can provide the basic character to your little piece of Eden.
Choosing the right type of grass for your garden is quite important in the long-term.
Although most people ideally want to have a beautiful lawn, nobody wants the extra work to maintain it. The most appropriate choices will probably be those stocked by local nurseries or lawn specialists.
Before you buy the grass, it would be prudent to ensure that it is free of weed as much as possible.
Typically, grass is grown in trays with soil and sometimes, weeds will gradually appear. Weeds will pollinate and flourish, impairing the beauty of your lawn.
At the moment, the types of grass that are common for gardens in Malaysia are:
- cow grass;
- pearl grass;
- Philippine carpet grass; and
- Japanese carpet grass
2. Preparing the land
When preparing the area to be planted, make sure it has a gentle slope away from fixtures and other areas that could be damaged by standing water.
In general, allow a one-foot slope for every 100 feet of distance. If additional soil is required, buy the same type as the existing soil.
Test and amend the soil as you would in any other garden area. Because grass forms a thick mat about one-inch high, the prepared planting area should finish out at about an inch lower than surrounding areas so everything is level.
3. Seed or sod?
The best reason to opt for seeding over laying sod on your lawn is cost. Though improved growing, harvesting, and distribution has made sod less expensive than before, seeded lawns remain much cheaper to set.
Furthermore, seed provides more variety of choice grasses than does sod. You can easily find hybrid seed mixtures that thrive in shade, for example, but these are harder come by in sod.
Sod also occasionally encounters problems with bonding to the soil beneath; if it fails to do so properly, you will achieve a shallow-rooted lawn at best or, at worst, one that completely fails.
On the other hand, many gardeners are unable to keep a seeded lawn constantly moist for weeks, and most people do not have an automatic sprinkler system that allows for watering several times per day.
Sodded lawns must also be kept moist, of course, but they do not tend to dry out as fast as seeded lawns; watering just twice a day (before and after work, for instance) is often sufficient to get the job done.
Cover seeds by dragging the back of a lightweight leaf rake over the area or applying a thin (one-inch) mulch. Mulching is the better option if you expect hot, dry weather or drying winds.
Use an organic mulch, but not peat moss or sawdust – both of these tend to crust over, making it hard for seedlings to penetrate. Water thoroughly, taking care not to wash away the seed.
Proceed to keep the seeded area moist for about three weeks or until the grass has started to sprout, watering briefly (in five to 10-minute spells) and frequently.
You may need to water three, four, or more times a day during warm periods.
4. Cutting the grass
Cut the grass for the first time when the grass is one-third taller than its optimum height. Cut slowly to keep from disturbing the barely set roots.
After the initial mowing, continue to water frequently; the top inch of soil should not be allowed to dry out until the lawn is well established (this usually takes about six weeks and four mowing cycles).
Try to avoid walking on the lawn excessively during the initial four to six weeks.
This article first appeared in kaodim.com
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