Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Making a Lawn
Author: Doogue, Luke Joseph, 1865-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Making a Lawn" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive/American Libraries.)



MAKING A LAWN



_THE HOUSE & GARDEN MAKING BOOKS_


It is the intention of the publishers to make this series of little
volumes, of which _Making a Lawn_ is one, a complete library of
authoritative and well illustrated handbooks dealing with the activities
of the home-maker and amateur gardener. Text, pictures and diagrams
will, in each respective book, aim to make perfectly clear the
possibility of having, and the means of having, some of the more
important features of a modern country or suburban home. Among the
titles already issued or planned for early publication are the
following: _Making a Rose Garden_; _Making a Tennis Court_; _Making a
Garden Bloom This Year_; _Making a Fireplace_; _Making Roads and Paths_;
_Making a Poultry House_; _Making a Hotbed and Coldframe_; _Making
Built-in Bookcases, Shelves and Seats_; _Making a Rock Garden_; _Making
a Water Garden_; _Making a Perennial Border_; _Making a Shrubbery
Group_; _Making a Naturalized Bulb Garden_; with others to be announced
later.



[Illustration: Lawn is probably the most important element in the
setting for most country houses, yet all too frequently it is expected
to make and take care of itself]



MAKING
A · LAWN ·

_By_ LUKE J. DOOGUE

SUPERINTENDENT OF BOSTON PUBLIC GROUNDS DEPARTMENT

[Decoration]

NEW YORK
McBRIDE, NAST & COMPANY
1912



Copyright, 1912, by
McBRIDE, NAST & CO.


Published March, 1912



CONTENTS


                                          PAGE

  The Small Lawn, Old and New                1

  The Treatment of Large Areas               8

  Grass Seed                                13

  Sowing the Seed                           24

  Sodding                                   28

  Good Loam and Fertilizers                 31

  Lawn-mower, Roller, and Hose              37

  Weeds and Other Pests                     46



THE ILLUSTRATIONS


  The Lawn is an Important Element
    in the Setting for a Country Place

                                 _Frontispiece_

                                        FACING
                                          PAGE

  A Path of Stepping-stones To Save
    Labor in Mowing                          4

  A Successful Covering of a Steeply
    Sloping Bank                            14

  Golf Course and Putting-green             20

  The Result of a Cheap, Ready-made
    Mixture of Grass Seed                   28

  One of the Most Difficult Places
    To Make a Lawn--Under Large
    Shade Trees                             34

  The Necessity for an Occasional
    Cleaning of the Lawn-mower              40

  The Only Sure Way To Eradicate
    Weeds                                   48



MAKING A LAWN



Making a Lawn

THE SMALL LAWN, OLD AND NEW


To the thousands of anxious inquirers, seeking solution of lawn
difficulties, it would be more than delightful to say that a fine lawn
could be had by very hard wishing, but honesty compels one to change the
words "hard wishing" to "hard work," in order to keep strictly within
the truth. A well-made lawn is a testimonial to a hustler, whether the
area is small or large.

The majority of inquiries about lawn needs come from people having small
places, from a few hundred to a few thousand feet, and the symptoms
described can be divided into two classes: one where they want to make
grass grow where it has never grown before, and the other where the call
is for information to assist in restoring old lawns that have petered
out. Let us take up the last condition first.

Where grass has grown for some years it is conclusive evidence that
there must be soil beneath, which, perhaps because of neglect, has
ceased to supply the nourishment necessary to maintain the vigor of the
sod growing upon it. As a consequence, weeds gradually creep in and
finally crowd out every blade of grass.

A condition like this is easily remedied and an improvement brought
about in short order and at very small expense.

In the first place make a general clearing up of the weeds and do it as
thoroughly as possible. Take them out with a strong knife, cutting deep
into the ground. An asparagus knife is the best for this purpose.

If the place under treatment were to be spaded up, this weed-cleaning
with the knife would not be necessary, but the object in this instance
is to disturb the soil as little as possible.

With the weeds out of the way, go over the whole place with a sharp rake
and scratch the earth to the depth of half an inch. In doing this
remember to be not too severe on spots where there is any grass growing,
applying the rake lightly here. After the raking, sow grass seed thickly
and evenly, raking it in, and finish by watering and rolling. Be sure to
roll heavily, water regularly, and good results will surely come.

This, in brief, is the most practical way to treat the conditions
described.

If, however, you should find that the ground shows patches of moss and
sorrel, the treatment just suggested will not apply. The land is
probably sour, and should be plowed up, limed, and allowed to lay rough
all winter. Use about a bushel and a half of air-slaked lime to every
thousand square feet.

When the object is to make a lawn where there never has been one, the
plow or the spade is the most effective weapon.

It must be kept in mind that grass on a lawn is a great feeder, and no
soil can be made too rich to supply its food requirements. A lawn is a
permanent planting, not something that is to last merely for a season.

[Illustration: Here is an interesting and ingenious scheme of getting a
path over the lawn without increasing the labor of cutting. The
stepping-stones are set flush with the ground]

Start this work of preparation for a new lawn in the fall. Spade the
land to the depth of two feet, or, better still, run a plow through it,
if the size of the place warrants. Work in plenty of well-rotted
manure, and during the winter the frost and snow will greatly improve
conditions, killing the weeds, and mellowing the soil as nothing else
can.

In the spring, harrow and cross-harrow the plot, smooth out the surface,
rake fine, and sow your seed. If, however, the soil is gravelly, there
is no use trying to doctor it up with the expectation of getting good
results.

As has been said, you need a good loam in which to grow grass, so that
if it is not good you must dig out what is there to the depth of two
feet and replace it with suitable soil.

There is no short-cut for reaching results with the aid of fertilizers,
for all the chemicals in the land will amount to but little if the soil
conditions are not proper to receive them.

It is simply a question of supplying the material to get results.


A NEW WAY TO RENOVATE A SMALL LAWN

On a small place where the necessity for radical treatment is apparent,
yet where it is not advisable to upset the premises at that particular
time, results can be reached in a way that will be effectual.

Take a round stick about an inch in diameter and three feet long, and
sharpen one end of it. At frequent intervals about the grounds drive the
stick to the depth of about two feet. Make many such holes, and into
these ram a mixture of finely powdered manure, hardwood ashes, and bone
meal. Cover the holes with loam, and on the top of each put a piece of
sod and beat it down with the back of a spade.

In a short time the good effects of this treatment will manifest
themselves, and during the subsequent season the treatment can be
extended to the parts not touched before. It practically means that the
land will be as thoroughly renovated as if it had been plowed and
harrowed. This is no fanciful idea, for the operation justifies results
whenever tried. It is advisable to water liberally and regularly for
some time.

Of course this applies particularly to very small places, and nothing
will be gained by treating large areas this way.

Shrubs and trees are greatly benefited by this method of administering
nourishment, and where old plants have grown for a long time and are
seemingly stunted, this feeding will stimulate them to immediate
growth.



THE TREATMENT OF LARGE AREAS


While it is a very simple matter to shape up a small grass plot,
renovating it as to soil and all that is necessary to lay the foundation
of a successful lawn, it becomes another matter when large areas are in
question. Here it requires taste, experience, and familiarity with
prevailing conditions to enable one successfully to get out of the
problem all that there is in it. If we have not had the necessary
experience, it would not be safe to venture upon doing the work without
expert advice.

Developing a large area means the making of a picture that, year in and
year out, is to be before our eyes, and unless there is a most
harmonious relation of all accessories--trees, contours, vistas, roads,
and so on--there is sure to come a time of wearying monotony, caused by
a realization of the fact that we had not been quite equal, through our
lack of experience, to develop the place as it might have been
developed.

A piece of ground in the rough must first be shaped up by draining,
removing trees or stones, planning roads and such things, before the
smoothing process can be attempted, and it is in this roughing-out
process where the future landscape picture is either made or destroyed.

Here is where the professional landscape man can save you many dollars
and much disappointment. I have seen so many sad results in cases of
land development where too much confidence has been the stumbling-block
on the road to success, that I feel justified in harping on the
necessity of asking advice from those who are competent to give it.


SAVING TREES

Great consideration should be given to the matter of saving trees,
whether these are large or small. Small trees can be handled like so
much merchandise, and successfully moved from place to place. It is
preferable to move these in winter. Dig about them so that there will be
a ball of earth large enough to keep intact; then it is necessary merely
to allow this ball to freeze up hard before tilting it onto a stone
drag, shifting it and its fellows to positions that will most benefit
the landscape.

Large trees can be moved, but at considerable expense, and such work
should be left to the professionals. They have the facilities and from
experience the knowledge and knack of it, and this means much for
success. Some companies will even give a bond to guarantee their work.

Trees about which the grade is to be raised should be protected, so that
the soil will not come within some distance of the trunk. A rough piling
of stones about the tree, or a circle of drain pipe about it will give
the needed protection. Trees play such a vital part in the adornment of
a piece of land, whether large or small, that none that is needed should
be sacrificed until every effort to save it has failed.


DRAINING LAND

Where the soil is soggy and retains too much moisture, this condition
must be remedied before attempting to make it into a lawn. The remedy
is found by draining, and this is done by digging ditches or laying
tiles under ground at varying distances apart, all tending towards the
lowest part of the land, to which the water must be induced to flow. The
number of drains is to be determined by existing conditions.

Land that could not be used before will, after a system of drainage has
been installed, be so benefited that most anything can be grown upon it.
Lawns made on such land are always luxuriant and resist the effect of
drought even of long duration, drawing upon the supply of water that
extends deep down below the surface.



GRASS SEED


So much has been written on the subject of lawn-making that about every
one interested in this work is fully competent, theoretically at least,
to carry through the process of land renovation and preparation, whether
it be for a small lawn or an area consisting of acres. The subject along
these lines has been exhaustively treated, but, strange to say, the
equally important subject of grass seed has been rather neglected. While
many amateurs can talk freely on the preparation of the land, they are
not so confident when treating of grass seed. It seems strange that this
is the case when so much depends on the suitability of the grass seed to
the land for the making of a successful lawn. The only reason, as far
as I can see, why people are not versed in this matter is that they have
been frightened by the botanical names of grasses, which seem wholly
unsuitable and too difficult of pronunciation for such commonplace
things. There is, however, just as much individuality in a plant
produced from a grass seed as in the choicest plant in a greenhouse. One
kind of grass seed will produce a low-growing plant while another grows
high; one wants a moist situation, another a dry one; some will
germinate in the shade, others will not, and so on through the list. If
a person knows each kind and its possibilities and requirements, he will
be able to choose the grass best suited for his wants, and by careful
trials arrange the mixtures with better success than the man in the
wholesale house who is obliged to guess at what is best for his
wants. Start out, then, in the primer class and tabulate some of the
best grasses used for lawns, and tag them with both their names, the
botanical and the common ones.

[Illustration: For sloping banks and terracing, a mixture of Kentucky
Blue, Rhode Island Bent, Creeping Bent, Sheep Fescue and White Clover,
in the proportions given, will probably answer]

Kentucky Blue Grass--_Poa pratensis_. Fine for lawns; grows slowly but
vigorously almost everywhere but on an acid soil.

Red Top--_Agrostis vulgaris_. Shows results more quickly than Blue
Grass; will thrive on a sandy soil; fine in combination with Blue Grass.

English Rye Grass--_Lolium perenne_. Grows quickly and shows almost
immediate results; good to combine with the slow-growing Blue Grass.

Various-leaved Fescue--_Festuca heterophylla_. Good for shady and moist
places.

Rhode Island Bent--_Agrostis canina_. Has a creeping habit; good for
putting-greens, sandy soils.

Creeping Bent--_Agrostis stolonifera_. Creeping habit; good for sandy
places and to bind banks or sloping places. Combined with Rhode Island
Bent for putting-greens.

Crested Dog's-tail--_Cynosurus cristatus_. Forms a low and compact
sward; good for slopes and shady places.

Wood Meadow Grass--_Poa nemoralis_. Good for shady places; is very
hardy.

Red Fescue--_Festuca rubra_. Thrives on poor soils and gravelly banks.

White Clover--_Trifolium repens_. Good for slopes; not to be recommended
for a lawn.

Sheep Fescue--_Festuca ovina_. Good for light, dry soils.

Now, with so much as a reference library, you will have sufficient
knowledge of the kinds of seeds to draw from to make combinations that
will fit any situation. I would further suggest that you go to a
wholesale house and get a sample of each of these seeds and examine
them. Get just a little of each in an envelope. Make a comparative
examination of the seeds, holding a little in the palm of the hand. As
you look at each seed repeat its name a few times and recall its
characteristics, and you will be surprised to find that on the second or
third trial every name will suggest itself the moment your eyes rest on
the seed. With a knowledge of the seeds you can then go to your dealer
and tell him what you want--not necessarily what he thinks you want. You
are then a better judge than he is.

It is worth while following the subject farther, for the results will
more than repay the trouble. Test the seeds. Make shallow boxes and
fill them with loam, and sow each kind of seed just as you would on a
lawn. Put a label at the head of the box and on it the time of sowing
the seed. Do this with as many as you can. Then watch and make notes of
the time it takes for germination. Note also the character of the
blades. Having finished this you will have a very liberal education in
the subject of grass.

Should you not care to do as suggested above, you will be dependent on
others to get what you most need. If you should go to a dozen people and
ask them to suggest a combination of seeds, they would all give them
readily to you, but no two proportions would be alike. If you should ask
for a single grass, the majority would suggest Kentucky Blue Grass. For
a single grass there is nothing better suited for all conditions. There
is this objection to it, however: it is not a nervous man's grass. You
cannot plant it to-day and have a lawn next month. If you can afford to
wait, sow Kentucky Blue and your patience will be well rewarded. It
makes a permanent lawn.

To introduce the ready-made lawn, use a combination of Kentucky Blue,
Red Top, and English Rye. The Blue Grass is slow, but the Rye and Red
Top produce speedier results. The first month will see the newly seeded
space a carpet of green. In time the Rye passes, the Red Top continues
to cover, while the Blue Grass grows sturdier each day until it crowds
everything out by virtue of its own strength. Use 12 lbs. of Kentucky
Blue Grass, 5 lbs. of Red Top and 3 lbs. of English Rye Grass to the
bushel, and sow 3½ to 4 bushels to the acre. This makes a reliable
combination. It is common to hear people asking for grass that will grow
in shady places, but it is always difficult to determine the degree of
shade. A place may be shaded and yet suitable for growing grass, or it
may be so shaded that no grass known could be made to germinate there.
In places where there is no heavy dripping and where the ground is not
absolutely dark, use the following:

Kentucky Blue Grass, Wood Meadow Grass, Various-leaved Fescue, and
Crested Dog's-tail. Use 35 per cent. of the first two and 15 per cent.
of the last two.

For conditions that require a quick-growing grass, and something that
will bind and make a holding upon slopes under difficult conditions, the
following is recommended: Kentucky Blue Grass, 30 per cent.; R. I. Bent,
30 per cent.; Creeping Bent, 25 per cent.; Sheep Fescue, 10 per
cent., and White Clover, 5 per cent. This is one of the places where
White Clover is an essential. Under these conditions it fulfils its
mission perfectly. While all the named kinds may not flourish, there
will be enough to make the work successful.

[Illustration: The turf on a putting-green or tennis court must be dense
and low, as well as tough. Rhode Island Bent and Creeping Bent in
combination are frequently used on a sandy soil to stunt the growth]

The turf on a putting-green must be dense and low, and tough enough to
stand a lot of rough usage. A combination of Rhode Island Bent and
Creeping Bent is about the best thing for this purpose. To check up,
just refer back to your schedule and see what it says regarding the
qualities of these grasses.

The soil on a putting-green should be of a sandy nature. This keeps the
grass stunted through lack of much food, and consequently better fits it
for its purpose.

Never buy grass seed by the bushel. Buy it by weight, or stipulate that
there shall be so many pounds to the bushel. It will cost you a high
price, but it will be far cheaper in the end than to buy something
inexpensive that has more than a third of sweepings and useless bulk.
You certainly lose nothing by buying the very best seed that your dealer
can offer you.

Do not be ashamed to ask for samples before buying, and also get samples
from a number of places and compare the different seeds. Spread them out
in your hand and see if they are clean and without chaff. A seed with a
large proportion of dust and chaff is not worth buying. It should be
your consideration to see whether you are getting what you pay for. If
you show evidences of knowing the proper seeds you will receive a most
respectful hearing from the tradesman. Do not balk at the price of
re-cleaned seed. It means that you are going to get something for your
money. It is worth much more than the seed sold in bulk that is not
re-cleaned.



SOWING THE SEED


The nearest thing, by way of comparison, to a lawn is a bed of plants
that you set out in your garden every spring. When you think it is
planting time you go to this bed with spade or fork and turn the earth
up from the deep bottom, putting in plenty of well-rotted manure, thus
ministering to the soil according to its needs. Then you set out the
plants, and if weeds grow up you dig them out, after which you water the
spot intelligently. For this labor your reward comes to you in the shape
of an abundance of bloom and foliage.

Just as truly is a lawn a bed of plants needing an equal amount of
treatment. Grass is nothing but a collection of thousands of little
plants crowded together, which must have nourishment, and from which the
weeds must be taken. Likewise the soil must be given water as it is
needed and the earth must be made mellow for the roots, to a good depth.
It makes no difference how much you pay for your grass seed, how good or
bad it is, or what kind of fertilizers you use, if the bed is not
properly prepared in the first place. Without this fundamental
preparation, grass plants will not grow, or if they do, will not thrive.

It is quite a trick to sow grass seed evenly so that it will germinate
without giving the plot a spotty effect. It should be spread at the rate
of about three bushels to the acre, and this sowing can be successfully
done only on a quiet day. Even a very light wind is liable to pile up
your seed on your neighbor's lot or on your own in places not wanted.
Keep the seed in a pail while sowing, and, after taking a handful, bend
close to the soil and let the seed feed through the fingers as the arm
swings back and forth in a semicircle. This is very much easier to say
than to do, but a little experience will make one quite proficient. To
help still more, sow the seed two ways, one at right angles to the
other. After sowing, rake lightly and then finish the work by putting a
heavy roller over it.

While thick sowing has the advantage of discouraging a growth of weeds,
there is a limit that cannot be safely passed. Seed too thickly sown
will mat and damp out, leaving great patches on the lawn. Do not exceed
the quantity suggested above.

Spring sowing should be done just as soon as the frost is out of the
ground. This early sowing gives the young grass a chance to establish
itself before the severe summer heat comes on. Careful watering is
necessary, with a fine spray, and if regularly done will induce rapid
germination. In watering do not wash out the seed by too heavy a
stream.



SODDING


Like seeding, sodding should be done in the early spring or fall to get
the best results. Oftentimes it is necessary to do the work in midsummer
and this, while not advisable, can be successfully accomplished if the
sods are laid soon after they are cut and then copiously watered every
day until all danger of drying out has passed.

In butting the sods together, use a wooden mallet, and pound the sod
into close contact with the loam beneath, flattening all joints so that
the growth will be uniform.

[Illustration: The inevitable result of sowing a cheap, ready-made
mixture of grass seed. It is worth while studying the qualities of the
various elements and making your own mixture]

On large seeded areas outline these with a border of sods, which gives a
well-defined edge and trim appearance to the work. If you should know
of a place where there is a particularly fine growth of grass, it would
be a paying proposition to buy sufficient sods from it to answer your
needs. Sods, cut and delivered, will cost about eight cents per square
foot. This price may be shaded somewhat if the sods are bought in bulk
and the cutting and carting is done by yourself. Under any circumstances
the work will be expensive.

On banks and terraces it is preferable to use sods rather than seeding.
The sods can be held in place with wooden pegs driven through them seven
or eight inches into the bank. Over this work scatter some seed and give
a light dressing of loam; then pound the whole to an even surface.

When the bank is too steep to hold the sods pegged in this way, they
should be piled upon each other horizontally, so that the ends will
form the surface of the bank. This effects the double purpose of
creating a permanent sward and also a depth of ten inches of loam upon
which it can feed.



GOOD LOAM AND FERTILIZERS


Loam is scarce; that is, _good_ loam is scarce. To help make up the
deficiency, every one should form a compost heap, and into it pile
leaves, lawn rakings, pieces of sod, and all such matter, all of which
will be reduced in time by decomposition to the much-desired humus. A
small quantity of this humus, mixed with fairly good loam, will make
good loam of it all, and suitable for sustaining plant life.

In the fall, when the leaves are falling from the trees, it is a good
idea to gather up from the gutters the accumulated leaves and put them
in the compost heap. There may be a little expense and trouble to it,
but there is no question as to the fact that you will be fully repaid
when you find the necessity for some real loam.

Near cities loam of very inferior quality will cost at least $2 per
cubic yard, and if one has a quantity of leaf-mould, made as suggested,
and will mix it with this loam, a very desirable quality can be
produced. The leaf-mould is the life of the soil and absolutely
essential to satisfactory results.


SPRING TOP-DRESSING

A lawn that has been properly made will not suffer if it is not given a
yearly dressing, for it will have sufficient food supply in the ground
to keep it going for years.

Strange as it may seem, many good lawns have been ruined by being given
a heavy application of manure year after year. When a top-dressing is
necessary on soil that is good, Canada hardwood ashes and bone meal will
supply all the nourishment that is necessary. Spread the ashes thickly
on the lawn until they show white on the grass, and do the work
preferably before a rain, so that the nourishment may be washed into the
soil.

The Canada hardwood ashes, as usually found in the market, contain from
one to five per cent. of potash, but to get the results you are looking
for, the ashes should contain from seven to nine per cent. of potash. In
purchasing this fertilizer in large quantities demand a guaranteed
analysis, otherwise you are liable to get something little better than
what you take out of your stove, and wholly useless for lawn purposes.
There are good ashes on the market and they can be had if one goes after
them vigorously enough and gives some indication of a knowledge of what
good ashes are.

When it is not possible to get what you are looking for, I would
recommend mixing muriate of potash with finely sifted loam, and
spreading it broadcast over the grass. This treatment is always
efficacious, as you are absolutely sure of getting what is necessary for
the land.


MANURE TOP-DRESSING

Many prefer to use a top-dressing of manure, regardless of conditions.
It is sure to bring more or less weeds. If you decide to use it,
however, get the thoroughly decomposed kind, as this means a minimum of
weeds. I do not want to create the impression that I am trying to
belittle the fertilizing value of manure. I believe in having a liberal
quantity of it incorporated with the soil when the lawn is made, and
I also believe that on such a soil Canada ashes and bone meal are very
much more suitable to keep it up to pitch than is a top-dressing of
manure.

[Illustration: One of the most difficult places in which to make a lawn
is under large shade trees. A combination of Kentucky Blue, Wood Meadow,
Various-leaved Fescue and Crested Dog's-tail is usually successful]

When manure is used for a top-dressing, do not get it on too thick, and
do not leave it too long on the grass in the spring. Nothing is to be
gained by either of these mistakes and much killing out is apt to
result.

There was a time, some years ago, when it was possible to buy sheep
manure that was worth something, but at the present time it is sold in
powder form, and invites a strong suspicion of adulteration and of
containing very much more than what is being paid for. If it is possible
for you to get good sheep manure, use that by all means. It is
efficient, cleanly, and produces very few weeds. It is best used at the
rate of about a ton to the acre.

Nitrate of soda is a very vigorous stimulant and produces quick results.
It is economical, requiring but small quantities to cover large areas.
Spread broadcast, about 175 lbs. to the acre; or, dissolved, 3 lbs. to
every 100 gals. of water. The dry application should be made always
before a rainstorm, otherwise much burning is apt to result to the
grass. For an occasional application it is all right to use this, but
for year-in-and-year-out fertilizer, it should be alternated with other
things.



LAWN-MOWER, ROLLER, AND HOSE


After you have your ground made, your seed sown and germinated, your
trouble is not all over, for it is a critical period through which to
carry the tender grass to a hardy condition.

Young grass should not be cut before it is three inches high, and this
means that a scythe should be used in preference to a lawn-mower, as it
is difficult to get the blades high enough to allow this length. In
cutting for the first time, try to do it on a cloudy day, as this will
prevent any possibility of scorching or burning. After a few weeks the
grass will have so toughened that it will be benefited by frequent
cuttings--even twice a week.

The roller should be used after every cutting, and although it may
seemingly be working injury by crushing down the tender grass, it is in
reality making sure a solid and compact sod. In the middle of the summer
when the weather is very hot, be careful not to crop too close, as the
roots are liable to be killed out by the sun.

When cutting your grass you will find it a great saving to have some
sort of a grass-catcher on your lawn-mower. One can be made easily, but
very handy ones are sold at a small price. They prevent the wear and
tear to a lawn that results from the hard raking necessary when not
used.

There is a good grass-catcher that fits into the back of all machines;
it is very effective and costs about fifty cents. It so effectively
catches all the grass that comes from the machine that little raking is
afterwards necessary. If you prefer the rake it is best to use a wooden
one, as iron teeth do great damage to a heavy sod.

Where the grass is cut frequently the clippings may safely be left on
the ground, but heavy grass should be always gathered up.


THE LAWN-MOWER

There are hundreds of makes of lawn-mowers on the market, but of these
very few will stand the test of a season's hard usage. These few will be
found to be the standard makes of good design, and costing a seemingly
high price. When you can get a lawn-mower with a pound of tea you may be
sure that it is time to be suspicious, regardless of the pretty paint
and ornamentation that makes it a symphony of colors. A good mower
means that your lawn will look well after being cut with it, and it also
means that the first seemingly high cost will be all that you will be
called upon to expend in years to come. Such a mower is practically
indestructible.

Once or twice during the season, give it an overhauling. Grass and grit
will creep in, and unless it is removed the efficiency of the machine
will be greatly reduced.

It sounds like automobile parlance to say "Use good oil," but this
really applies equally as strongly to a lawn-mower. Cheap oil is
expensive in the long run, as it thickens up and clogs the bearings, and
makes it impossible for the mower to do its best work.

[Illustration: It is surprising what a lot of grass and dirt finds its
way into the lawn-mower. Take it apart once a season to clean and oil]

This may seem like straining a point to get down to such trivial
details, but it is just these little things that go to make up the
getting and keeping of a lawn.


THE ROLLER

Next to having good seed to sow, on properly prepared ground, the great
essential in lawn-making is a proper kind of roller to use as occasion
requires. Few people realize just how important a part a roller plays in
the upkeep of any grass area, but it is no exaggeration to say that
without one, successful results will be difficult if not impossible of
achievement. Use a roller--a heavy roller--on your lawn early in the
spring to repair the damage that the freezing and thawing has caused in
the winter.

The early rolling levels the surface, packs the earth about the grass
roots and makes it possible for them to draw the moisture from deep down
in the ground. A roller is to be used often, not once each season. Its
consistent use means that you will have fewer weeds, thicker and better
colored grass; the disfiguring moles will find the ground too difficult
to burrow through, moisture will be retained longer, and a noticeably
better condition will be noted throughout the whole lawn.

The old-time stone roller was an instrument of torture, and almost
wholly unsuited for lawn work as suggested. There are now on the market
dozens of ball-bearing rollers that are very easily handled. The
adjustable kind, in which there are compartments to hold either sand or
water to vary the weight, is the kind that should be purchased. With it
you have a roller light enough to use for seeding, or heavy enough for
road work, and the prices are not prohibitive.


THE HOSE

The hose is a subject to which very little attention is given.
Paradoxical as it may seem, all rubber hose is not rubber hose, and
because of this many lawns suffer from want of water, because the
supposedly rubber hose has proved, when most needed, to be a combination
of paper and scrap. A first-quality hose will cost from twenty to thirty
cents a foot--a frightful price when comparison is made to the bargain
price of four cents a foot. The expensive kind will last for years, and
even after it begins to show signs of wear it can be used many years
longer by proper repairing. The cheap hose bursts once, and its
usefulness is at an end, as the first burst is only a preliminary of
total dissolution.

When a good hose bursts it is best repaired by cutting entirely through
it and removing the damaged part, and then joining the ends with a
little brass sleeve that is easily inserted into each of the severed
ends and which has reversed prongs to prevent its slipping out. This is
one of the best ready-made menders on the market, and it prolongs the
life of a hose for years.

Keep your hose on a reel. Empty it of water before winding up, and never
allow it to lie baking in the sun. This latter is a very common fault
and is the cause of much good hose being spoiled.

Another seemingly trivial yet important thing is to caution against so
fastening the hose to the tap that it pulls away from it at
right-angles.

For ordinary purposes the half-inch size of hose is the best. It costs
less in the first place, is more easily handled, and the wear and tear
is much less than on the larger sizes.

You never see a gardener using any spraying contrivance on the end of a
hose. In his thumb and forefinger, which he skillfully moves over the
flowing stream, he has a combination of sprayers that can produce the
heaviest stream or the finest mist at will. This is to be recommended,
but few will care to follow the course of training necessary to acquire
the efficiency of the gardener.



WEEDS AND OTHER PESTS


Even if you paid a thousand dollars a bushel for your grass seed, and
then spent as much more on the preparation of your land, you could not,
I am sorry to say, escape having weeds.

The thing to do when you have them is to get rid of them, and this is
accomplished only by getting right after them with a persistence
proportionate to the abundance of the weeds. The knife is the only real
weapon for this. After digging out your weeds, sow in grass seed with
the idea of making the grass grow so thick that there will be no place
for the weeds to creep in. Dandelions and plantains are simple matters
that can be handled easily, but where Crab Grass shows up, there is
certainly work ahead to get the best of it. It is a destroyer of the
first rank, a veritable pest. It is an annual that seeds itself each
year and kills out under the first frost, leaving great bald spaces in
the lawn to show where it has been. Even after it has been killed by the
frost its baneful influence is not ended, for it has spread broadcast
its seeds for the next year's crop.

When you find it, dig it out. It means work and lots of it, but it is
the only way to conquer it. Set the blades of the mower low, and after
dragging the grass up with a rake, run the machine over it; and this
should be done early in the year, before July. There is no weed to equal
this as a nuisance.

On newly-made lawns the weeds are easily removed, and they should be
carefully watched so as not to allow them to get too far ahead.
Chickweed is almost as bad as Crab Grass, and when you find the
combination, Crab Grass and Chickweed, the simplest solution is to spade
or plow the place up in the fall and leave it exposed for the winter.

For the broad-leaved varieties of weeds there is a preparation of what
is called sand on the market that I have tried with very good success. I
sprinkle it on the weeds and within an hour afterwards they have
shriveled and turned black.

While it doubtless is very efficient in destroying the top growth, I am
unable to say that it is at all injurious to the roots, and may,
perhaps, even stimulate them to renewed growth the following season.
However, my experience with it was a happy one, for just as soon as the
weeds died down I sowed in grass seed, which quickly germinated.

[Illustration: There is only one sure way of eradicating weeds, and that
is by cutting them out with a knife as soon as they appear. Delay in the
attack will give them time to bring up heavy reinforcements]


WORMS, ANTS, AND MOLES

Very often earthworms become very disfiguring on a grass plot. Where
there are many present it is an indication that the earth is in poor
condition, compacted, and needing humus. An application of strong
lime-water will drive many to the surface, where they can be swept up;
or a heavy rolling with a 1,500-lb. roller will do much to discourage
them.

It is surprising how much damage a colony of ants can do on a lawn. They
should be looked after the first time they are noticed, for they work
rapidly, and the longer neglected the more difficult it is to
eradicate them.

There are many remedies recommended, but the best one lies in the use of
bisulphide of carbon. This is very effective, but it has come into such
common use that a word of caution should be given as to its handling.
It is very volatile and, when near flame, powerfully explosive, and
should be handled with great care. Pour it into the runways of the ants,
and then throw over these a mat. The fumes will speedily kill all the
ants. A better way, however, is to drive a stick into the ground in
several places where the colony is located, and in these holes pour the
carbon, afterwards plugging the holes up tightly.

Moles are frequently found on lawns, but they are not serious because
they can be easily controlled by heavily rolling or by traps made to
catch them. Where there is a suspicion of the presence of moles, no time
should be lost in getting after them. They sometimes work for a long
time before their destructive borings are evident, and then it will take
much labor to get ahead of them. Keep the heavy roller going as an
excellent preventive.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Making a Lawn" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home