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  • Writer's picturePaul Cummins

Great grass and clover!

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

Easy grass growing! In early fall or spring simply spread heat tolerant seed and cover with about half an inch of Miracle Grow or Vigoro lawn soil (which has up to six months of fertilizer in it) and just make sure it has enough water to get established (on hot days you may need to water twice a day). Needs care all season to develop strong roots.

Having moved from Illinois, where there is 100 feet of loamy topsoil and you can actually put your foot on a shovel and have it go into the ground, to Virigina where you need to heave a pick ax at full force to make a dent in the soil, I always wondered about those European settlers who where so excited about planting in Virginia. But there have been centuries of planting since then, with many forests cut down and tons of cotton and tobacco planted. So we are now left with clay.

Another way to build up organic matter in the soil: I noticed with the lawn at Mount Vernon, in the spring and fall, they aerate, seed, cover with peat moss, then fertilize. So I've done the same with the lawns I manage.

With climate change half my back yard dies off in the late summer. Chinch bugs? Army worms? I think it's just fungus. So I started reseeding with clover.

Grass seed used to include clover in it. Clover is a legume: it has a commensual relationship with rhizobium bacteria that live in its root nodules and derive nitrogen from the air. Free fertilizer. Clover is a dicot, grass is a monocot, meaning clover has two parts to its seed, like peanuts. Weed killers kill dicots, usually with 2-4D. So once we add clover we can't use the weed killers anymore. That's probably good too. My fall lawn looks pretty nice! We'll see how it handles the fungus...gardening is always just an experiment.

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