People elsewhere in the country rail against lawns, but here in the rainy, humid South, we like them. They cool the air, cover up the mud, reduce run-off, stop erosion, and are tender on the tootsies. This is why you must provide them with a modicum of care, lest yours end up looking like this.
A nice, thick lawn really helps in a sloping situation like this, because it’s a true ground cover. It keeps the soil in place during heavy rain and won’t wash away like many mulches will. This lawn, however, is on the verge of disappearing, because the homeowner hasn’t paid attention to some fundamental needs.
First, there is too much shade. A few grasses will grow in dappled light, but none will grow in shade. This particular lawn is Bermuda grass, which tolerates zero shade. So near the trees, it’s thinner than a fashion model. The homeowners either need to remove most of the trees (then you could actually see out of the windows!) or put down mulch or a shade-loving ground cover underneath the canopies of the trees where grass won’t grow.
Second, lawn grass needs to be fertilized every year. Feed bluegrass and fescue in fall and spring. Feed Bermuda, centipede, St. Augustine, and Zoysia in spring and summer. You’ll need less fertilizer if you use a mulching mower to return the clippings and their nutrients to the lawn. I can guarantee this lawn has never been fed. As a result, the grass died out and weeds and bare soil took their place.
Bare soil on anything less than a truly flat lot is a big problem, because of erosion. You see those big tree roots sticking up out of the ground? The topsoil is gone, leaving only clay subsoil and rocks. Pretty soon this will be a gully. Now that’s curb appeal.
Can’t wait to see the real estate ad should this place ever go up for sale. “3 bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths, full basement, granite countertops, gully by front steps gets bigger every day.”
So suck it up, my friends, it ain’t that hard. Plant grass in sun. Feed it every year. Cut it at least two inches tall when it’s hot and dry in summer. Water for an hour every week during summer dry spells. Your grass and tootsies will thank you. So will your pocketbook.
The Right Way To Water
Ever wonder how much water your lawn really needs? Worried about wasting water? Then read Grumpy’s highly acclaimed, seminal treatise on this subject, “Don’t Be A Lawn Watering Dummy.” Your gratitude will be boundless.