I was asked the other day not to include any Ryegrass when seeding a new lawn in a few months’ time which would basically be used as a child’s play area along with another comment about what grasses I would use for a first rate lawn.
Now common annual ryegrass is often included in turf seed mixtures because it germinates and establishes rapidly. Ryegrass cultivars are therefore often used for over seeding or as a very high a percentage of the mix where a quick establishment of grass cover is required and then perhaps adding a mix of other cultivators depending upon the lawn usage and soil conditions etc.
Green keepers will use an array of seed cultivators in order to keep the greens and fairways looking at their best all year round. The same mix wouldn’t be used on the tees or cricket square to that of the sports field. They will each have their own particular preference based upon their unique requirement.
The same applies to the domestic lawn but perhaps with less precision. However if you are after a low maintenance lawn and perhaps challenged with shade or a particular soil type the same kind of consideration will still be required.
The key is to first understand what type of lawn you desire and how much or little maintenance will be undertaken on an on-going basis. A lawn that will be used as predominately a children’s play area will not have the same qualities of that as a bowling green.
Other important factors will be soil type, amount of sunlight, if you are located near the sea, irrigation and you soon realise that it is not just the case of popping down to your local DIY store and grabbing the cheapest box of grass seed.
So once you have decided upon what type of lawn you desire the following mixes of grass cultivators are typical but please note that this is a very general rule of thumb guide and each seed merchant will have their own particular combination based upon location and other conditions.
The First Rate / Luxury lawn where the aim is to achieve a dense, short and fine leaf turf which will keep excellent colour throughout the year.
50% Fine Leaf Fescue
30% Chewings Fescue
The First Rate / Utility lawn that is still high quality but has fairly frequent foot traffic but with the aim to be kept to a high standard and keeping good colour throughout the year
20% Smooth Meadowgrass
20% Fine Leaf Fescue
15% Chewings Fescue
If shade is a particular problem then fine leaved grasses would be more suitable as they are naturally smaller plants requiring lower levels of light for photosynthesis than species with a broader leaf.
In these circumstances I would lower the % of Ryegrass and add more Chewings and Fine leaf Fescue and perhaps add extra Bentgrass to the mix. As a footnote, don’t cut shaded lawns too short as a longer leaf will help with the photosynthesis process.
If you are looking for a more slow growing lawn that require a less frequent mowing regime I would suggest not including any Ryegrass and having a fairly even mix of Chewings and Hard Fescue with perhaps a 5 – 15% of Bentgrass
When seeding an embankment when slow growing, soil stabilization and low maintenance are key, a high percentage of Creeping Red Fescue with perhaps 20% of Smooth stalked meadow grass and Hard Fescue would be in order.
If you are looking to seed a paddock area for livestock and horses then this is again requires a difference mix that would typically include:
Creeping Red Fescue
Smooth Stalked Meadow Grass and even mixed herbs.
As this is a very specialist area and I would strongly recommend seeking advice from your seed merchant!
There are even specially approved Ministry of Transport Mixtures for road verges and central reservations and also mixes for airports where bird strikes are of a particular concern.
Over the last few years, the popularity of incorporating wild flower seeds to the mix such as 70% grass species and 30% wild flowers and herbs has become very fashionable.
Producing a wild meadow takes time, perhaps a few years to fully develop but once established it should be easy to maintain and creates an excellent habitat for wildlife.
I have found that a wild flower area needs just as much consideration when selecting the right mix as to that of a lawn, perhaps more so. The most important factor being soil type (Sandy, clay, lime / chalk or wetland). Again there are special mixes for each particular condition / requirement.
Grass seed isn’t cheap so it is important to select the right type for your requirements but it does give you greater control on addressing any particular problem areas over turfing.
There are over 10,000 grass species in the world, it is just a question of selecting the right ones for your requirements! Given the right selection and preparation of the seed bed along you will be amazed at how quickly and beautiful a new lawn can be established.
As Spring will hopefully soon be with us, why not make sure that you are mowing your lawn at the correct height:
Should you have any questions or queries regarding selecting your grass seeds please don’t hesitate to contact BGS – You will find our contact details at http://www.landscapejuicenetwork.com/profile/BGSLTD
Add a Comment