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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2003 11:10 am 
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Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 10:03 am
Posts: 9
Location: Round Rock, Texas
Howdy!
I am looking for some advice on what type of lawn to install in my new backyard.

The site:
Located in Round Rock, Texas just north of Austin
Homebuilder removed most of the native soil from the backyard and put in some kind of red sandy soil
The native soil is a black clay
The yard slopes away from the house towards a drainage ditch behind the fence
There is about 12" of soil near the house that slopes down to no soil at the back of the lot (about 33' from the house to the fence)
Under the soil is about 2' of solid rock and then compacted black clay
Full sun
Zoned sprinkler system installed
Existing grass in the frontyard and sideyards is St. Augustine
I put down annual rye grass to hold in the soil during the winter, but it has all fried in the sun now.

The design:
Of the total 2900 sq.ft. I would like to install 1800 sq.ft. of grass
The other areas will be xeriscaped flower beds and new stone patio and pathways
I've unfortunately eliminated buffalograss since the area will recieve alot of traffic

Questions:
How do I prepare the area?
What type of grass to pick?
Any suggestions on places to order sod and soil/compost from in the Austin area?

THANKS!


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2003 2:01 pm 
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Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
I've only seen one buffalo lawn I would be semi proud of and it was heavily composted, mowed, and watered. So what's the point of buff?

I would not put anything down except water before sodding. When the sod is laid, be sure to roll it down to contact the underlying soil. Then top dress with 1 cubic yard of compost per 1,000 square feet of turf. This is a very thin layer of 1/3 inch deep on average. Brush the compost off the blades with a push broom to prevent smothering the grass.

Fertilize with 10-20 pounds per 1,000 square feet of corn meal, alfalfa, or your choice of commercial organic fertilizers.

Set your mower to the highest setting and weld it there. When the grass gets tall enough for that setting, you can cut it.

After the sod is established, you'll need to wean it off the frequent watering schedule. The goal is to never water it again. To get there you have to develop deep roots. Do that by infrequent, deep watering. Start by clipping the wires on your expensive automatic sprinkler system (just set it on manual). Water as much as you think it will need to go for a full week. When the 7th day rolls around, look to see if it could go another day without water. Then deeply water again. See if you can stretch out the watering to 10 days or more. Then try for two weeks or more. Eventually you will be surprised to see the grass holding on for much longer than you expected. Eventually it will go between rains, yes, even Central Texas rains, and it will absorb every drop of each rain. So much for the expensive sprinkler system.

There are two secrets going on that you don't see. One is the deep root system diving into the lower water holding zones of the soil. That's easy to comprehend. The other secret, the BIG one, is that the pores (stomata) on the leaves of the grass will remain open untill the plant gets its fill of carbon dioxide every day, and then they close up. If you have lots of CO2, the stomata close early in the day. All the while when the stomata are open, water vapor is released from the plant. When water is released from the leaves, the roots try to suck it out of the soil.

So, to tie all this random thought together, when the grass is tall, CO2 (which is heavier than air) remains near the surface of the ground (in the grass blade zone) much longer in the day. Tall grass has more stomata allowing more CO2 in. When this happens, the plant gets its fill of CO2 early, closes up shop early, and traps all that water in the plant, roots, and soil. So once again, tall grass to the rescue! Tall grass uses less water than short grass.

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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2003 10:08 am 
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Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 10:03 am
Posts: 9
Location: Round Rock, Texas
Thanks so much for all the wonderful information! My parents sold me on the value in organic gardening and I couldn't be more impressed with the results :D
The compost and sod are ordered. Should be a fun weekend :shock:


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 pm 
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I'd just like to say that RoundRockGardener has mastered the use of emoticons.

I love the last one!! :lol: :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 8:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 10:03 am
Posts: 9
Location: Round Rock, Texas
My husband and I survived! :D
Despite picking the first weekend that it reached triple digits in Austin, we made it through the weekend.
Here is a photo of the finished product ->
Image
I will think twice before we tackle such a big project again!


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