This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
There are few things more annoying to the good gardener than fall grass in the lawn. Our summer heats are rather hard on the kinds of grass usually employed for lawns, while the hot weather is just what the fall grass likes. Thus it is in a favorable situation to attack just as its enemy is the weakest, and how it conquers everybody knows. In itself it might be tolerated in spite of its dull and rather coarse look, if it were not that after crowding out everything else, it is very dilatory in its appearance in spring. Large brown spots remain till nearly a month after the lawn ought to be lovely, and makes the ugliness of the grass plot almost unbearable We read now and then of a cure for fall grass • but all who have had to grapple with it practically know that nothing so far has been success, ful. A few years ago a lawxi under our observation was sown with English rye grass. It made a beautiful lawn, but the severe winter of three or four years ago, destroyed it. A good deal of natural grass in the mean time had appeared with the other, chiefly blue grass, and the owner decided to let the lawn take its chance with the natural herbage. With the seeds of rye grass here and there came up plants of the Sheep Fescue - Festuca ovina.
These have entered the lists against the fall grass, and it is interesting to note that it crowds it out little by little whenever it has the chance. We feel almost sure from the observations of last year, that if those who are troubled with fall grass will sow thickly with Sheep Fescue, they will find no mean friend in the effort to get rid of it.
In regard to general lawn management, mow lawns very early the first mowing, or at every subsequent mowing the lawn will look brown. A thin sprinkling of salt is good for the lawn, just enough salt to see the grains on the surface, about a quarter of an inch apart. An overdose will destroy the grass. Frequent rolling is one of the best ways to get a good close sod. When coarse weeds get in the lawn, hand weeding is the best remedy.
In planting trees rather late in.the season, it is often a practice to pour a little lake of water about the roots. We have noted that the losses after this practice are often greater than under any other. Taking up such dead trees, we see why it is. The mud presses down on the upper surface of the roots, but is taken away from beneath them. Indeed the whole under surface beneath the level of the roots is a sort of Mammoth Cave. In short just one-half the roots are not in contact with the earth, and may as well not be on the plant at all. Indeed as we have often said, if the earth is pounded in about the roots, firm as a- rock, shovel by shovel full as it is put in, it is the perfection of planting. If the tree is likely to wilt much, a little pounding will be better than water. It is the neglect of this pounding in of the new earth about roots, that makes so many look after large balls of earth, in which the roots are already tightly packed. A friend recently said to us, " I expect to have splendid success with my large trees. I moved about eight tons of earth with each one." The effort to secure the earth, left the best young feeding roots in the old spot. "We would not risk much on the success of these trees.
If the ground gets dry during the season around a newly planted tree, a pounding with a heavy rammer, will often be better than a bucket of water.
Hedges that are growing very rank should receive their first pruning about the time the young growth is commencing to harden. Another pruning in autumn will be necessary. Prune so that there will be some sort of a slope from bottom to top. This will enable the sunlight to get to the leaves at the bottom as well as at the top, which is important to a good hedge. Many young hedges are ruined by being pruned too young. This is especially true of Honey Locust, Osage Orange and other deciduous kinds. It is best to let these grow until the stems are two inches thick at the ground, then saw them to within a half inch of the ground. They will then push up a perfect wilderness of young sprouts, which can be pruned into shape the same season. On this plan the young hedge plants are often two years wholly untouched. This plan was first promulgated by the Gardener's Monthly, and the more we see of its workings, the more we are satisfied that one can get a better hedge in one-half the time and at one-half the cost by the Gardener's Monthly mode than by any other we know of.