Irish Gardeners Forum Home
 FAQFAQ   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
Custom Search
   
Weather Report /
Moon Phase for Ireland

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Irish Lawns and grass care

Losing grass every November


 
Most Recent Posts oops
Last post: kindredspirit
funny
Last post: kindredspirit
2016 Vegetable quizz.
Last post: Margo
Skimmia seed wanted
Last post: Brendankearns
 
Visit TheGardenShop.ie
Author Message
Howard
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 17 Jan 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Glenageary, Co Dublin

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:47 pm    Post subject: Losing grass every November Reply with quote

I live in Glenageary, Co Dublin. I have a westerly facing walled rear garden, for the past 5 years around November the grass at the end of the garden about 1 meter from the wall disappears. I replant in May , it grows quite well during the summer but once November comes about it starts to thin out until I am left with bare earth.

I have tried various grass types including one specially for a shaded area, have also returfed, completly dug the soil and added fertiliser but to no avail. Come November the same thing happens every year.

There is a large tree in the neighbours garden and a smaller tree type shrub in our garden - I have cut the branchs on same to ensure that there is no overhang over the grass.

Has anyone any recommendations of a grass type that likes shade (particuarly in the winter) and also a dry location.

Look forward to your suggestions.

_________________
Howard Kent


Last edited by Howard on Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:45 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sive
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 18 Apr 2008
Posts: 1731
Location: Co.Wexford

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a similar problem years ago and eventually realised I had to change what I was growing there, so I put in ground cover plants that did very well and looked much more cheerful than struggling grass !
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Howard
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 17 Jan 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Glenageary, Co Dublin

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks for taking the time to reply - I am going to give it one more go this year and possibly continue to water throughout the winter and see if it helps as it possibly is too dry in that area.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
James Kilkelly
Rank: Site Admin


Joined: 30 May 2006
Posts: 2142
Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This gardening column I wrote recently may be of interest to you Howard....

Redesigning troublesome lawn areas

The mild winter so far has shown up a whole host of problem areas within Irish gardens, the lawn being chief amongst these. There are many seemingly perfect green lawns out there, which unfortunately have been let down by one particular problem area. The moss filled corner.

This area exists within many gardens, appearing in a part of the lawn, where trees, large shrubs, walls and lawns meet. The main cause of this plight is the overshadowing caused by buildings or existing plantings. Shade as we know stops light, resulting in weak grass growth, which in turn allows shade loving moss to colonise any subsequent bare patches.

Solutions.
Now you can rage against the mossy corner, attacking it with a rake followed by liberally spreading a box of specially developed shade grass-seed across its surface. Special seed or no special seed however, the sad truth is that if the shady conditions continue then the moss will quickly return. Nature hates a vacuum they say, and when it comes to gardening it seems natures favourite vacuum filler is either weeds or our good ol' buddy moss.

Where shade is the main problem, I suggest you go with the flow and plant the area according to this overriding factor. This means filling the corner with something other than sun-loving grass. You're looking for plant that's shade tolerant yet performs as a groundcover.

Now groundcovers come in many forms, as perennials, ornamental grasses, ferns, or a range of deciduous and evergreen shrubs. Of these lawn substitutes we are looking for ones that can exist with only 3 to 6 hours of direct sunlight a day, as this is within the moss thriving region. This limits our choices, but here are the groundcovers I have found to succeed in such a situation...

1. Bugleherb (Ajuga reptans).
A tough carpeting perennial with variety options of blue, white, or pink flowers in spring. Although a perennial its dark green leaves remain carpeting the ground throughout winter. Select the variety 'Atropurpurea' for similar evergreen foliage, but this time with deep purple colouration.

2. Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia).
With its creeping stems, heart-shaped leaves and white flowers produced in spring this is one to consider. Complement it with some clusters of hardy ferns and Irish ivies for a delightful woodland effect.

3. Periwinkle (Vinca minor)
A trailing, vine-like evergreen groundcover with blue or white flowers. Its three main selling points are its ability to produce blooms through most of the year, it's low maintenance, and how rabbits and hares tend to find it unpalatable.

4. Elephants ears (Bergenia cordifolia 'Purpurea')
This is a tough individual with glossy green rounded leaves and magenta-purple flowers from mid-winter to mid-spring. The ace that the Berginia has up its sleeve is the purple tint that its leaves receive when we get some cold weather, injecting some much-needed colour into the winter garden. Try getting that from a lawn.

5. False Spirea (Astilbe x arendsii)
One of the best perennial plants for a shaded spot that also tends to be boggy or damp is Astilbe. Although moist soils with partial shade is its favourite haunt, this adaptable perennial will also grow reasonably well in dryer shade, providing supplementary water is applied. Top Astilbes to seek out include Astilbe "Fanal" with long blooming, scarlet flowers, Astilbe "Europa" with light pink blooms, and Astilbe "Deutschland" with pure white plumes.

In trying to decide between lawns and other groundcover plants, it is generally wise to use groundcovers if one or more of the following conditions exist: less than six hours of sun each day; a slope greater than one unit rise for each three units horizontal; very dry conditions; small areas too awkward for mowing; or areas disconnected from other lawn areas.

_________________
Gardening books.

http://www.allotments.ie/ Ireland's allotments.
On Twitter... http://twitter.com/Allotments

Garden Consultation & Design.

Try my Garden Design home study course!
.
.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Howard
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 17 Jan 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Glenageary, Co Dublin

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks James for taking the trouble to reply - the funny thing is that there is little or no moss in that partucular area, I am left with a mix of mud and small clumps of grass.
Looking at it yesterday I noticed that it is almost a straight line between the good grass and the bare area.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Greengage
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 09 Nov 2011
Posts: 2747
Location: Kildare

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be interesting to know what was there before, Dig down ans see whats under the grass was there a foundation there previously, Is there a hard pan beneath preventing drainage, has it been sprayed in the past over a long period with with simazine. you could try removing the soil to a depth of 60cms and interoduce new soil and try again.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Howard
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 17 Jan 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Glenageary, Co Dublin

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks for the constructive pointer - a little background - the garden was completly redesigned about 10 years ago after the wall fell down. The area had been a vegetable patch, after the wall accident we edged the grass area with a brick surround at grass / bed level.

Every year I have tried something different - when re seeding, I dug down about 50 cms, another year I introduced new soil purchased in the bag from our garden centre, I have mixed in fertiliser right and have hadgrass sod laid professionally. During the summer I always have a lovely healthy lawn area but come October / November it begins to thin out and in winter (ie. now) it is bare apart from a few small blades of grass.

The two areas I am considering are:
1) as the area faces directly west the winter sun never hits it - in fact during the summer it gets sun from about 9 through till approx 11 when the sun comes over the front of the house and sometimes during the afternoon when it is sideways on to the garden.
2) the area is always quite dry - I have cut any overhanging branches to ensure they are not stopping rain getting through - this I felt was a problem in the early days and it did appear to help the situation for a while. Also if you consider it - it has been very dry this year - so perhaps i should make a point of watering the area during the winter months.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Greengage
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 09 Nov 2011
Posts: 2747
Location: Kildare

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

if you think your problem is a lack of water and not light you could try putting in an automatic watering system. Hozelock do a fairly inexpensive system you could hook up to an outdoor tap and set the timer to come on once per day or week for a set number of minutes or else put in some plants that will tolerate shade and dry conditions. there has to be an answer to the problem but without actually visiting the site i have no ideas. keep us posted as to what you do.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Howard
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 17 Jan 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Glenageary, Co Dublin

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Will do - finally have you any recomendation of grass type which is ultra shade tolerant that I could try and where I could buy it please. Many thanks for your time.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
walltoall
Rank attained: Orchard owner


Joined: 25 Aug 2008
Posts: 705
Location: Thurrock RM15 via Dungarvan and the Banner County

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:59 am    Post subject: Losing grass every November Reply with quote

Howard. There is NO grass which is truly shade tolerant! All grasses (cereals) devolved from ultimate ancestors which thrived in the world's grasslands, like the Russian Steppes, America's Prairies and Pampas. The only thing they need is light. You could, if you really wanted, provide artificial light in the sunlight spectrum and the grass would thrive. Maybe you watch "Countryfile" on TV. A week ago there was a fascinating clip about growing cereal fodder inside.

Part of my garden is over-shadowed by the house and evey Winter the grass 'fails' because it just ain't getting enough LIGHT. Down here at 51.30'N the front 'lawn gets early morning and late evening sun only from May onwards. The grass responds to the light and begins to grows again. Meanwhile the main lawn which gets loads of light and sun has already been growing from late February and has retained it's greenness throughout the winter and by April is on it's fourth mowing. EXCEPT for a small patch shaded by a garage, which is always behind.

As for the front lawn, over the years we've found our own solution (to the 'amusement' of our neater and more punctilious English neighbours). During the lean months, we use small doses of selective weedkiller to keep the patch clean. We feed the lawn and we let the 'grass' grow to hay. Only when the seed heads are well dried, do we cut it and then without the grass box. This reseeds the patch and the new grass (provided we get rain) starts to appear mid to late July. The old people used to call this 'aftergrass' and I am only using knowledge gleaned from my Grandad who farmed 15acres through the 40's.

Aug. through Nov. we have the best lawn in the estate, to the consternation and envy of aforesaid punctilious neighbours.

There are other NONgrass, shade loving, plant-cover possibilities and I'm sure other contributors will provide input on these as soon as they come out of hibernation.

_________________
Retired trouble-maker. twitters @walltoall and dreams of being promoted to Pedunculate Oaker.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
michael brenock
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 12 Aug 2008
Posts: 1275
Location: cork

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

there are some great responses to this query, some of the best ever, walltoall and greengage especially. I have no idea of what is the problem or a possible solution but I would propose the following. Take a cubic foot of soil from the affected area and place it as intact as possible into a cubic foot hole in the good grass area. Likewise take a cubic foot of soil from the good area and place it intact into the bad area. This will give you a clue whether the problem is caused by the location or the soil. The suggestion that the remains of Simazine applied many years ago could be very pertinent.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Irish Lawns and grass care All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You can attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group

Privacy Policy | Copyright © 2006 - 2016 IrishGardeners.com (part of GardenPlansIreland.com)