Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Coastal and Tropical South
September, 2007
Regional Report

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There are many benefits to repairing your lawn, including gaining a softer walking surface.

Beneath Your Feet

Lawns and ground cover beds benefit from your attention now. In my last column I talked about how to prepare areas that need rejuvenating, and how to take grass cuttings for planting. Now we're on to the next step: planting.

Turf Grass
Once you've worked up the lawn areas to be repaired and the sprigs have rooted, all that remains is to plant them. Set them 2 inches apart in a diamond pattern on bare areas. Spread any runners out over the bare ground and be sure their stolons make good contact with the soil. (Stolons connect the individual grass plants.)

If you didn't have runners or sprigs to root, purchase sod squares. Where areas are large enough, nestle whole squares into the bare spots. Take care to "knit" the edges into the existing lawn.

For smaller areas, use garden scissors or a serrated knife to cut the sod. You can use large pieces of sod to cover the spots, or cut the sod into smaller plugs and space them about 2 inches apart in the prepared soil. They will quickly fill in.

The next step is to mimic the sod roller used to insure good contact between grass and soil. This huge, heavy, rolling weight would be expensive to rent, but for small spots, try using a gallon jug filled with water, a heavy board, or a weighty friend. Apply the weight evenly to the sod for several minutes and move on.

Ground Cover Rehab
Some grow too much, others never seem to fill in. Fall is a good time for rehabilitating vining ground covers like Asiatic jasmine, and for controlling the rampant ivies if you haven't gotten rid of them yet. Use hedge shears to trim off the excess vines that crowd other plants or the sidewalk. Then turn the shears upside down and reduce the height of overgrown ground covers by about one third. Doing this task now rejuvenates the plants and allows rain to actually reach the ground in dense beds.

Weeding the areas where the ground covers haven't completely covered the ground yet. Then mulch in between the plants, and pull runners up above the mulch so they can root and finish the job.

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