Making and maintaining a good lawn seems to be the subject of more conversation among home-owners than any other phase of gardening. Preparing the soil, fertilizing, liming, seeding, watering and weed control are never-ending subjects for discussion.
In fact, an attractive home lawn is an achievement of which any property-owner can be boastfully proud. A smooth carpet of velvety grass adds the needed finish to both house and garden.
Whether rebuilding an old lawn or making one for the first time certain basic practices are essential.
Fertile Soil Seldom Found
Fertile soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches is ideal, but it is seldom possible to find it on most properties. Where it does not exist, topsoil can be purchased from reliable sources. Beware of “fly-by-night” experts who operate selling what appears to be rich, darkly-colored topsoil. It may be only well-oiled sawdust or something equally as bad.
Building your own topsoil takes time but it produces the desired results. However, many home gardeners are not willing to wait a year or two to build their soil by the green manure method. Purchasing large quantities of topsoil may be out of the question.
What then can be done to start a lawn? Peat moss, leafmold or well turned compost to provide a layer of at least one inch should be thoroughly mixed with the existing topsoil to make the seed bed.
On small lawns, mixing can be done with a digging fork, but for larger areas a power driven rotary plow can be rented to do the job. Careful preparation of the soil will more than repay the effort and expense involved.
Furthermore, the soil should be conditioned for seeding as soon as it can be worked.
New lawns made in spring need an early start if the colonies of young grass plants arc to form roots and develop quickly to compete with the crop of annual weeds which inevitably appears.
Most soils contain dormant weed seeds from the previous year and these germinate rapidly as soon as the soil warms up.
Equally important is the selection of grass seed. Buy seed of top quality from reliable dealers. The cost of grass seed is a relatively small part of the expense involved in making a lawn.