Whew!! It’s going to be another hot one out there today. The forecast calls for temperatures in the low 90’s with yet another round of gagging humidity.
I woke up this morning and had to do a double take when I looked at the calender. Holy crap, it’s almost August! Yet another summer is speeding by…
I was reading through a few of my past articles, looking for ideas and I stumbled across one of my favorite series of articles. Early last spring, I published a 10 part series on creating the perfect lawn. While I was reading over my 10 steps from last year, I said to myself, “What was I thinking???”
Just kidding. Last year’s articles were right on point. This industry changes on a daily basis, as does my wealth of information. I thought it would be a great time to kick things up a notch and add a few more juicy nuggets of information. As most of you already know, not a day goes by that I don’t spend at least 2 hours reading, learning and studying my trade. As the landscape world transitions from a chemical driven ecological nightmare to much more environmentally friendly practices, I NEED to stay informed! Sit back, relax and enjoy my 2012 version!
This time around, I’m not letting you off the hook. This is the year that you actually do the steps necessary to get your lawn looking it’s best. If you are looking out the window at a brown, dusty mess, it’s perfectly okay. Gorgeous lawns are not built overnight. It takes commitment, pride, planning and education… that’s where I come in!
Tip 1 deals with the foundation of your perfect lawn… SOIL. I came up with a scientific theorem for the correlation and biological ratios between healthy lawn and healthy soil. Here goes…
Healthy Soil= Healthy Lawn
Unhealthy Soil= Unhealthy Lawn
July and August are tell tale signs of soil quality. The best soils are boasting lush, green lawns… WITHOUT watering 4 times per day and fertilizing every 2 weeks! Today’s goal is to identify a few basic things about your soil. Grab a notebook, take a quick stroll around your property and answer these questions…
Is the grass extremely brown, burnt or crunchy?
Do you see Crab Grass and other weeds?
Does it feel like you are walking on concrete?
If you answered yes to any(or all) of these questions, we have a lot of work to do!
Healthy soil works like this… Rain or irrigation water hits the ground, washes through the top layer of soil, over the root zone then percolates into the ground. Premium soil has adequate organic material to retain a small amount of water as it passes through and enough sand and silt to allow the excess to drain into the ground, back into the aquifers. As water washes through the soil, grass roots naturally follow and grow deeper into the ground in search of additional water. A deep, vigorous root system in healthy, well draining soil that is brimming with life is a lawn’s best defense mechanism against drought and disease! If you are feeling enthusiastic about the concept of a “Show Lawn” and you are curious about your soil quality, grab a shovel, head out the lawn and do the following…
Gently remove the turf in a roughly 1 foot square.
Use the tip of your shovel and loosen up the top 6 inches of soil.
Grab a handful of soil and form the soil into a ball.
Well balanced, well textured soil will form into a ball, hold it’s shape, then easily break apart. If your ball of soil is difficult to break up, there is too much clay, if the soil is loose and granular and doesn’t keep its shape, there is too much sand. Both soil conditions are easily corrected.
A second important element of a healthy lawn is soil pH(potential of hydrogen). pH measures the acidity in the soil. If soil acidity is too high or too low, the mineral elements of soil that are necessary for a lawn to thrive become chemically locked up or frozen(sort of ) and are not available to be used by plants.
How do you know the pH of my soil? A simple soil test reveals all. Test kits are available from your County Extension Center which are affiliated with a state university or college. For complete details on the soil testing process, check back for Tip 2 of 10. Tip 2 walks you, step by step, from buying your soil sample kit right up to mailing the sample to the lab.
We are off to a great start! By now, you should understand that healthy soil is essential in building your show lawn. If you participated in the “Physical Challenge”, you dug a quick hole and were able to identify a few basic texture issues regarding your soil. Remember to check back often to read all about the process of soil testing in “Step 2 of 10”. If you are interested in having the remainder of the 10 Tips delivered directly to your email inbox, click the box on the right titled “Landscaping Tips Delivered”. This subscribes you to my blog and not only gets you future blogs the instant they are published, it makes you really cool!
Thanks for reading, contact me if you need me!
Office Phone 609-898-9136
P.O. Box 1066
Cape May, NJ 08204