Garden Advice From A BEE – Create a Buzz with Color!

31 May Garden Advice From A BEE – Create a Buzz with Color!

June is an exciting time to be out in the garden. So many plants are in full bloom right now that just stepping outside is inspiring. If you need even more inspiration for your gardens, or just want to enjoy a great day touring local gardens, mark your calendar now for the North County Land Trust Garden Tour on June 23rd. The tour runs from 11 am to 4 pm and will take you through Leominster, Fitchburg, and into Westminster with an optional stopover at The Doyle Center in Leominster.

All the proceeds from Garden Tour Ticket Sales go to benefit the North County Land Trust. Tickets can be purchased right here at Lakeview in Lunenburg. For more information visit northcountylandtrust.org/events/board-challenge-fitchburg-area-garden-tour/

While you are dreaming about other gardens, don’t neglect your own! June is a busy time to be out in the yard. Be it graduation parties, barbeques and any summer get together, yards are made for enjoying!

Want A Mature Lawn In Just Weeks? Yes You Can!

June is a great time to renovate your lawn! We can help with either seeding or sodding, but this week I’m going to write about sod and the most frequently asked questions we get at the garden centers.

Q) When is the best time of year to install sod?

A) Our Massachusetts grown sod can be installed almost year-round, even on frozen ground! That would not be my favorite time to be outside working, but our landscaping company often has to install sod at new restaurants and commercial buildings when the ground is frozen, and if we do it right, it thrives! For most of us, the best time to install sod is spring or fall (yes, just like seeding a lawn). Sodding during the heat of summer can also work, but it will require more water than during cooler periods.

Q) Can a homeowner like me install turfgrass sod?

A) I’m not being sarcastic, but If you can understand “Green Side Up,” you can successfully install sod! The real work happens before the sod is delivered because you will need to make sure your area is prepared properly. Because sod can be heavy, the help of a few friends is recommended!

Q) Is seeding cheaper than sodding?

A) A big bag of grass seed will cost less than a pallet of sod, but that is like comparing the cost of raw wool to a fine sweater. Turfgrass sod is a finished product that will provide nearly instant use, beauty and environmental benefits, whereas seed is an unknown that requires two or more years of on-going time, attention, water, and fertilizer to reach a maturity equal to sod on its first day. Seeding can also be very frustrating for most people becuase they seed too lightly and are very disappointed with the results – sod solves all that!

Q) What do I look for to determine quality and freshness?

A) Sod is a living plant that should be installed within hours after it is first harvested from the farm field. The best indication of freshness is soil that is moist (not hard and dry). The grass blades should be dark green and cool to the touch. We get our sod in every weekend and if we have extra after the first day, we roll it out and water it in. If we left it on the pallet longer than 24 hours (and sometimes less in the heat of summer), the sod would heat up, turn yellow and die. Q) What are the basic steps to installing sod?

A) We answer this question so often we’ve dedicated a page on our website to it and printed a hand out that is available in both our stores! The quick answer is;
1. Prepare the soil as if you were seeding
2. Measure the area to be sodded to calculate the quantity you’ll need to order. We can help here to so give us a call or stop in!
3. Lay the first piece along a straight line such as a driveway or sidewalk
4. Install all additional pieces so the seams create a brick-like pattern
5. Apply at least one inch of water on the new sod, beginning within 30 minutes of laying down the first piece
6. Keep the base soil moist daily (or more frequent) watering for the next two weeks

Q) Are there any “tricks of the trade” to make the installation better? Installing sod and maintaining it can seem like tricky work so we are often asked what “tricks” we use.

A)Sodding is simple, but it can be made easier by:

Leveling the soil approximately one-inch below any hard surfaces such as patios, sidewalks and driveways so that when the sod is installed it won’t be higher or lower than the hard surface.

Asking our delivery driver to place the pallets of sod across the yard, approximating how much each pallet will cover…this will reduce the time and distance you’ll might have to otherwise carry each piece.

If there’s any slope, begin sodding at the bottom and work your way up the slope to keep the seam and joints tightly together. If the slope is quite steep, run the pieces across the direction of the slope.

To make sure you are applying enough water, lift a corner of any piece of sod and insert a screwdriver or other sharp probe into the underlying soil. If it’s hard to push in or the soil’s not moist, keep watering.

Turfgrass, wheather seed or sod simply needs water, air, sunlight and nutrients. Grass needs approximately one-inch of water a week once it’s established. Infrequent and deep watering encourages deep roots and a healthy lawn. A lawn that gets watered for 20 minutes every 2-3 days will have a much deeper and healthier root system than one watered for 5 minutes every day.

Mow frequently enough (with a sharp blade) so you never cut-off more than one-third of the grass blades in a single mowing. This will also allow you to leave the clippings on the lawn so they can naturally degrade and return nutrients to the lawn.

Prune trees so they allow as much light as possible onto the lawn.

Aerate every other year to reduce compaction and increase the exchange of water and air at the root level.

Turfgrass “Factoids” because I know you know we are plant geeks here!

Above Ground:
Grass plants are 70 to 80% water
Grass clippings are 90% water
Grass clippings contain 4% nitrogen, 2% potassium and 0.5% phosphorus
A 10,000 square foot lawn will contain:
6 grass plants per square inch
850 plants per square foot
8.5 million plants total

Below Ground:
90% of the weight of grass is in its roots
A single grass plant has 387 miles of root
There are 329,000 miles of root per square foot
3 billion miles of roots in a 10,000 square foot lawn

A 50 by 50 foot lawn (2,500 square feet) releases enough oxygen for a family of four, while absorbing carbon dioxide, hydrogen fluoride and perosyacetyle nitrate.

Stop in and ask us about sod!
Michelle and Team Lakeivew!