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Winter lawn in PNW :-)  RSS feed

 
Jami McBride
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In the winter, as the ground becomes damp and stays that way (soak at times) my lawn thins out a bit all over, and real bad in a couple of places.  It's much much better since I got the ducks but still not thick.

One year I tried winter rye, this summer it died out and add a not so nice brown factor to my lawn, so it's not for me.  My clover dies back in the winter so that only contributes to this issue.  Is there a winter clover?  Or some other strong winter grower for my area?

 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Corsican Mint was the first thing that came to mind.  Does that sound appropriate?
 
Jami McBride
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I like mint.... but will it take over?

I ask because this lawn feeds my ducks, and sometimes chickens and they don't eat the mint I currently have in my flower beds.

It's my fault I didn't make this requirement clear - whatever I plant needs to be fodder as well as soft and pretty (grass like).

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll look into it.
 
paul wheaton
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The mint will take over.

Can you post pics?

So the problem is that your soil gets too squishy and you would like to be able to walk on it still?  Plus, it would be nice if it stayed green all winter like some lawns do in such a warm climate?

 
Jami McBride
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I'll take some pictures tomorrow and post.....

Yes, to all you said.  It isn't, and has never been thick.  It doesn't get full sun being trapped between the house and the neighbors trees (west - east), and it gets pine needles which mess with the ph. 

Since I've gotten the lawn-ducks it's better, much much better, but still a little thin in general and bad in a couple of spots due to the rain and cold now.

I friend suggested Canadian grass, whatcha think about that?

It is normal for us to have grass year round in the Umpqua Valley along I-5.
 
paul wheaton
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Have you read my lawn care article?

I think the focus needs to be on soil drainage.  It's too swampy.  Maybe shape things a bit so that it can drain. 
 
Jennifer Smith
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How about wheat?  In Colorado we used it was winter pasture for the horses and cattle.  i plan to use it here too.
 
Jami McBride
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Yes, I read your lawn care article, but I think your right - it's water overload.

This is a hard issue to address with ditches and such, even so I do have a ditch/trench that works for keeping one area from flooding.  But I think it's the surface soil that is holding to much water.  My small lawn has two sides that have hillside water movement, and one butted up against my house, sooooo water moves away slowly.

I guess I need some swamp plants  

I believe winter rye dies off and leaves lots of brown in the summer lawn - I really prefer no die off as the first couple of years I planted clover, but this died off in the winter and left mud spots (not a pleasant situation).

I'm still sick with a bad cold, but I will post pics soon....

Thanks everyone.
 
Jennifer Smith
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My solution to so much water is going to be a pond or ponds. 

I  also have another idea...dig holes and put 55 gal drums with top and bottom cut out ,.. thoughts anyone? Paul??
 
paul wheaton
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Jennifer Hall wrote:
My solution to so much water is going to be a pond or ponds. 

I  also have another idea...dig holes and put 55 gal drums with top and bottom cut out ,.. thoughts anyone? Paul??


That's sort of what a dry well is about.  Getting the water out of the area short term so that it can drain into the soil eventually in one spot. 

I doubt that will help much.  I think on the surface shaping will be a better long term solution.

 
Jennifer Smith
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This photo was a couple days after the rain and this spot is holding water even now.  I think it might be a good place for a pond.  of course there are some problems with this, it is right at the gate and up grade from an "automatic waterer".  This is not the only obvious pond site.
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Jami McBride
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paul wheaton wrote:

I think the focus needs to be on soil drainage.  It's too swampy.  Maybe shape things a bit so that it can drain. 



Okay - this 'shaping the land thing' do you know of any good books on this?
 
Paul Cereghino
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paul wheaton wrote:
The mint will take over.


Corsican mint is a small leaved soft ground cover.. less than 1" tall -- works OK in light shade as well, but can't tolerate drought, and at $2.99 a 4" pot could get expensive for a lawn... problem with Mediterranean climate is these muddy spots turn into adobe in the summer...

I vote for divert water, drain (both french drain), or relocate the outdoor room...
 
paul wheaton
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I hate to build ponds unless there can be year round flowing water.

I think that if you can get rid of the excess water, you would have grass all winter. 

A french drain would be optimal, but I think that some mild reshaping of the land would be far cheaper and easier and would give you 85% of the benefit of a french drain.

 
                          
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If you are anywheres close to Portland you can stop in at the Metro Demonstration Garden.  About 6000 SE 57st.
They have an 'Eco Lawn' there that stays green all winter and summer with no watering and very little mowing.
It's next to the community garden.
Hank
 
Jami McBride
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Eco Lawn - is this something I would buy or learn to do myself? 

Is this a process/method or a seed/chemical - what is eco lawn?

Thanks - thick. lush field grasses still elude me.
 
Paul Cereghino
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Ecolawn was one of a number of brand name lawn seed packages when I was working at the garden center.. a couple grasses, clover, daisies, and a few other forbs.  I recommend buying seed separately based on conditions... you can focus on the species you believe will suceeed, and ramp up the clover proportion... also with the seeding.. teh grass seed likes to be lightly covered, while ive been told and so have always planted the small seeded forbs (yarrow, daisy, etc..) on the surface.  By buying your own, you can sow the bigger seeds, run over with a leaf rake, then sow small seeds.  I am a big fan of the lawn roller (or a really thorough walking meditation) after seeding to get good seed/soil contact. 
 
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