Monday, March 22, 2010

It Isn't Easy, Staying Green

I overseeded our winter-dormant centipede lawn last fall with annual ryegrass. It made a beautiful green lawn in the front yard and a small oval in the Upper Garden. No watering, no fertilizer. Today He-who-mows, who had not been enthusiastic about the overseeding when I did it, said he thought we should have planted a broader area, taking in the backyard and the pecan patch.



You can read about the benefits of planting a cover crop here. University Agriculture sites such as Purdue and Cornell Universities have similar documentation.


The Pecan Patch in the background could have been green now, too.


The Oval Lawn in the Upper Garden


Loropetalum trees on the north side of the Oval Lawn

Annual rye will die when the weather gets hot and regular perennial grasses overtake it. Nitrogen fixing and extraction of potassium and phosphorus from the subsoil will benefit the lawn. Any stray grass clumps in flower beds are easily pulled.



Maybe next year, all will be green. A 50 pound bag of annual ryegrass seed costs less than $15.00. The return is priceless.

19 comments:

  1. What a green! No water ... No fert! Sounds good to me. Now if somehow it would stop growing at your command. I long for springs special color of green seen in your grass! Lovely gardens! Happy Spring Nell Jean! ;>) Carol

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  2. I love that first photo. It all looks wonderful and Buffy looks happy as always!
    There is something about green grass that just puts me in a good mood. We have a small patch of green grass in the entrance of our neighborhood and it just reminds me of summer when everything else is dull and brown!

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  3. You don't have deer? they would love it if we seeded our meadow with annual rye grass! :-)

    I've used it before at other homes and it really does look fantastic. Good tips!

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  4. Beautiful lawn! I have my own 'He-who-mows' to grumble about the things I do in the garden, only to admit later that I had a good idea LOL. Husbands...:P

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  5. I have often wondered why people did this without even considering the benefits...good info here.

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  6. Grass always looks so much greener in the spring before the heat and sun gets to it but yours looks so green. If I want to find color and blooms I can always find them here at your blog. You have so many different varieties of plants and shrubs. I am really curious about the fern looking plant beside the Loropetalum trees. What ever it is I love the dark green texture.
    Lona

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  7. I thought about it this fall. I never got around to it. I'll try to reconsider this time around. It looks fabulous. Though I think I might overseed with clover too. Imagine the Scotts lawn chemical people reading that. They'd have a heart attack.

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  8. Cameron, we have deer. There is a herd of a dozen across the highway in the woods. Ms Kerri who hunts over there has a deer cam set up and hundreds of pics. They don't eat much over here except growing crops. If they graze the ryegrass, it saves on mowing.

    Tom, I've read of sowing a wildflower plot with green peas for nitrogen and ryegrass as a nurse crop. I didn't see the peas until too late to plant, but the same supply store had peas as well as ryegrass. It's hard to fit in everything, isn't it?

    Lona, the big ferny looking thing is a cycad, commonly called a Sago Palm. It has some cold damage. I'm waiting for new growth.

    Thank you all for commenting. I'm encouraged when you do.

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  9. Your green grass is beautiful. Here, we use perennial rye grass during the winter months. For the past two years we have not overseeded in order to help our bermuda grass grow in thicker, which it has. So maybe next winter....

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  10. It does look verdant! I have this little patch of real lawn~The lawnette~that I wished I had over seeded~the winter sure beat it up! Your loropetalum looks fantastic...I ripped mine out....It just couldn't take the bad drainage!

    gail

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  11. Thanks for the tour. Your yard looks wonderful. The grass is really green and the yard is so full of color. jim

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  12. Beautiful post, and a wonderful idea! I wonder if it would work in all zones? The oval is especially charming. Love the term 'he-who-mows'.

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  13. Nell, that was a great idea. Maybe I could do something like that here. Our lawn grass is not a pretty thing....any time of year.

    That first picture of the drive to your home is beautiful. What a welcoming sight for everyone who visits.

    I am impressed and amazed at how much you get accomplished.

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  14. Your oval garden looks so restful, I wish I could step into it!
    One day I am going to have to tackle getting rid of all my couch (bermuda) grass. Finding something that can survive here without watering and is not a rampant runner is going to be challenging!

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  15. Having a green lawn with such little expense, water and care is a wonderful thing, Nell Jean. I like a lawn...some people are all for lawn-elimination, especially with the 'sustainability' kick that seems to have flooded us all. To some, that statement would be awful, calling it a 'kick'. But I think some 'kicks' can be carried too far, and I'm all for a lawn. When we lived in SC (Columbia, for 3 1/2 years in the early '80s'...hubby was at Ft Jackson) we had the same type of grass that we would add/overseed, etc. It was 'what worked' and worked well in that sandy soil. It does get so darn HOT down that way and your way...the grass did get brown. We didn't water and perhaps could have had more green long term but I can just picture your environment...If it's anything like 'inland Columbia', it is HOT as you-know-what in the summer and keeping grass green takes a monsoon season;-)

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  16. I don't worry about green grass in summer. It is usually green, or it goes dormant, depending on rainfall. Centipede is tough. It wants no added fertilizer and will die out and let hateful bermuda grass overcome it where nitrogen and water are plentiful.

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  17. i've just though about reseeding my ugly grass patch...thats a great idea...hope it chokes out my scary fountain grass, no problems here with rain lately :)

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  18. Your green, green grass is beautiful. I used to sow winter wheat and rye grass in a four acre pasture for the deer, when I lived at the farm. They loved it.

    We have St. Augustine, and not the new high falutin' varieties. It is the old standard St. Augustine, also called 'carpet grass' here. It doesn't go dormant in winter, and seldom has a problem in the summer. If it is very wet, we can have problems with brown patch or take all, but they are easy enough to treat.

    It never seems to get the particular shade of green color, tho. Very pretty.

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  19. Your place is looking great! Buffy looks like an official greeter. He sure got big fast!

    I didn't know you could plant a cover crop over a lawn. I keep thinking I want to plant one in my veggie garden, but when spring comes, I end up planting up the whole garden with other things. I'm pretty good at getting compost applied, though.

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I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.



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