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Help with grass seed for a coastal garden.

Discussion in 'Lawns' started by Bournemouth Gardener, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. Bournemouth Gardener

    Bournemouth Gardener Gardener

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    I moved home a few months ago and I want to start working on my lawn (grass-less weed bed).
    I know it is a little late to sow seed now but I want to start preparing the lawn for when I do next year. I live in Bournemouth right next to the beach so the air is pretty salty, it's windy all year and extremely dry in the summer.

    The lawn has been very poorly maintained. My intention is to remove all moss and weeds, level out the lawn and put up with it until the winter has passed.

    Would it be best to start feeding the soil to improve it ready for seeding next year?

    If so what would you suggest?

    What is the best grass seed for coastal/ windy/ dry conditions?
     
  2. Sheal

    Sheal Total Gardener

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    I to live in a coastal position although about 250 yards away and unlike your position a dry summer is rare here although it's been very good this year. :)

    Gardening on sandy soil (assuming that's what you have) is not the best as you probably already know, it's a hungry and thirsty soil to contend with. Once you've cleared the garden of weeds etc. the best thing would to get as much organic matter as possible dug in, compost and/or manure will give it a good start, particularly if the compost is home produced. Being sandy I would then suggest a few inches of good topsoil once it's levelled and ready to seed. Any weeds that reappear over the winter can be dealt with before sowing next spring but obviously there will be new growth from seeds that are laying dormant at the moment.

    I've used a general purpose seed for my lawns and that seems to do well, it will need a weed and feed every year but not in it's first as that will have been dealt with - with your preparation. New lawns don't like to be over fed.
     
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    • Bournemouth Gardener

      Bournemouth Gardener Gardener

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      Hey my first reply thank you Sheal. :)

      To be honest my soil isn't that sandy apart from in one area of the garden, but I do have quite a bit of soil from a job I was doing so I think. I will follow your advice on that anyway just to doubly make sure.

      I have also started composting but clearly this will take some time but everything you have said makes sense so many thanks again. I would imagine the conditions of the IoM are harsher than here so if it works for you... :)
       
    • Sheal

      Sheal Total Gardener

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      You're welcome BG, if I may call you that. :)

      Yes, composting does take a while to get going and I can usually make use of mine about twice a year, although I don't have that much to compost.

      I moved here 22 years ago from Essex and yes, conditions are harsher here being north-west, winters are usually blasted by gales but on the other hand mild compared to the rest of the country. We've only seen snow once (last year) in seventeen years. Summers are not hot and usually breezy, up to 25C but that is rare and I don't like it too hot anyway. As gardeners, we all learn to adjust our growing and planting to the conditions we have to live with but I would like a little less wind here to deal with. :)
       
    • Bournemouth Gardener

      Bournemouth Gardener Gardener

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      BG is just great with me! :)

      Yes I think it is definitely warmer here but I am determined to produce a cracking lawn next summer. Not just because it's something we all love but both my neighbours say I have no hope due to the wind and salt air. Although I am new to the coast if every hotel on the sea front can produce perfect lawns I am sure I can get pretty close.

      I am no expert but I am pretty damn sure there is one vital element they are forgetting in the summer........ Water!! :)
       
    • Sheal

      Sheal Total Gardener

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      I'd like to see the results next year please and hopefully your neighbours will be eating their words!

      Water yes, and preferably not of the salted kind! :) Having said that I never water my lawns only the beds and we have had drought here this year. Grass is very resilient and it doesn't matter how brown it turns it will soon recover with a drop of rain.
       
    • Bournemouth Gardener

      Bournemouth Gardener Gardener

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      Definitely and I think I will have to go for some before and after photos. I think a lot of it is just due to a lack of care and maintenance in the past. My guess is if I give it more feed and care in the winter and get rid of the ridiculous amount of weeds then it will stand more chance when it dry's up in the summer?

      It's just knowing how treat it/ feed it, hence my question.

      Assuming we will get a summer next year of course!!!
       
    • Sheal

      Sheal Total Gardener

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      Lawns shouldn't be fed during the winter months BG, only while they're growing spring to autumn. :)
       
    • Bournemouth Gardener

      Bournemouth Gardener Gardener

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      Well that has totally blew my thought process out of the water Sheal. I intended to feed the soil in hope it would help the seed a long next year. It seems I am as clueless as I am grassless.
       
    • Sheal

      Sheal Total Gardener

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      You're not clueless BG but may be just lacking experience in laying a lawn and that is what Gardeners Corner is all about, to draw that experience from others that are here and willing to help. Believe me there isn't a gardener in this world of however much experience that isn't still learning, it's an endless subject and that's probably why we enjoy it so much!

      With reference to my post #2 there is no reason why you shouldn't prepare the soil now or over this winter ready for the grass seed next spring. Digging in any fertiliser now will give it all the nutrients it needs for growth throughout next year, but once the seed is down don't feed it until the following year. Grass, like most plants goes into a period of dormancy (when it stops growing) over the winter and if you feed it you could have a disaster on your hands, the feed will make it outgrow it's strength. Over feeding does a lot more damage than lack of water. I have never fed a new lawn, be it turf or seed in it's first year and it doesn't need it if the ground has been prepared properly before sowing. Grass roots only go down to a depth of approximately four inches which is why it tends to dry out during the summer through lack of water. It's up to the individual whether it's watered or not during periods of drought, I don't bother, as I've said it's very resilient.

      Back in 1976 when we had the terrific heat wave right through the summer, Essex amongst other places had a water shortage, we were banned from watering gardens, washing cars etc. Most lawns by the end of that summer were totally brown and looking dead but they soon sprang into life with the rain that poured down when the heat wave broke. That shows how tough grass is, being that the roots are so close to the soil surface.

      When you come to sowing the grass next spring, leave it until frosts have finished as it will struggle to germinate under 12C.

      Go for it BG! :dbgrtmb:
       
    • Bournemouth Gardener

      Bournemouth Gardener Gardener

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      Before I read past your first paragraph Sheal let me say as inexperienced as I am I totally agree and very well said. Life learning never ends!

      So lets go for my opinion on your second paragraph....... Absolutely nail on the head!!!
      Everyone keeps telling me "don't feed your grass in the winter". To some degree I find that as a text book answer that isn't focused on my question (although ALL feed back is very much appreciated). I don't have a lawn to feed. What I am trying to produce is a reasonably healthy soil to produce a lawn on. I am not in the first year of my lawn I am in the year before it. Now I have learnt that I can't feed the lawn in it's first year surely it is even more important to try and get some nutrients in now before I seed it.

      PS. As an after thought I hope that didn't appear rude it wasn't meant that way I am very appreciative to all the advice I am getting on here.

      Great advice, thank you!
       
      Last edited: Oct 19, 2014
    • Bournemouth Gardener

      Bournemouth Gardener Gardener

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      P.s. Whoever it was that told me about the aerating malarkey I hope it is worth it because it really didn't do my tennis elbow very good! No pain no gain and all that good stuff though! :)
       
    • Sheal

      Sheal Total Gardener

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      I know you don't have a lawn to feed at this point but what I've written in the post/s above was for guidance once that lawn is there. :)

      Take a look at the pictures in this first post from another thread. The soil had been prepared properly but then wrongly, the poster has been told to feed it and it hasn't had a chance to establish roots properly. Because of the feeding it forces top growth and hasn't got the strength to maintain itself.

      http://gardenerscorner.co.uk/forum/threads/new-turf-turning-brown-black.78285/

      To give the lawn a good start when you eventually come to sowing it, preparation now is best, as I've said above in a previous post. Dig in organic matter, that's compost, horse manure etc. Come next spring the soil will have settled down and be ready for the grass seed. The nutrients that go in with the preparation now will see it through it's first year.

      No pain, no gain, you're not wrong there BG! :) There's not many gardeners here on GC that don't suffer from one ailment or another, including myself. I'm now limited to two hours tops in the garden a day and it's so frustrating when I'd love to spend all day working out there.
       
    • Bournemouth Gardener

      Bournemouth Gardener Gardener

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      Guilty, guilty' guilty!!! Been there, done that and in all honesty I probably (definitely) would have done it again if it wasn't for this site. TY :)

      Now you have spelt it out it makes perfect sense. Grow the routes before trying to grow the grass. It's a little crazy really as it isn't exactly rocket science but equally a very easy mistake to make if you don't understand what is happening above and under the ground.

      I really like the idea of making my own compost which I have done and it's heated up quite well and seems to be doing great, but it's along way off composted yet.

      Ok next very naive question.

      Is it a definite no to put manure onto the soil without composting it first?
       
    • Sheal

      Sheal Total Gardener

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      There is no such thing as a naive or stupid question. As is often said on GC, the only stupid one's are the one's not asked. We're here to help each other however much experience we do or don't have. :)

      No, it's not a definite no. If the manure is well rotted it can go straight onto the garden and you don't even have to dig it in. Spread it over the area and the worms will do most of the work over the winter months, breaking it down and taking it down below the surface. This applies to compost as well. :) If the manure isn't rotted, storing it in plastic bags will rot it down quicker.
       
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