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Drinking Responsibly:
Del Mar’s Garden Pros Weigh in on Lawns
Linda Chisari | Crest Road

1. If one already has a Bermuda grass lawn, or one of its hybrids, it can go completely without water for, at least two YEARS (personal experience). It will become dormant and brown, but the roots do not die. Within a week of resuming watering it will quickly green up.

2. There have been huge improvements in the look of synthetic turf grasses. For small areas and for folks from greener places who just have to have that touch of green, they may provide an acceptable solution. They do not provide soft play surfaces but neither does dormant Bermuda.

s 3. Mulch, mulch, mulch, to make optimal use of whatever water we do apply in our gardens. This is the perfect time of year to apply a 2-3” layer of mulch under all plantings so that, when we do get rain, the moisture is retained in the soil. I asked my gardener to buy and apply a yard and a half of mulch under all of our shrubs and trees, just before we left for Vermont in early September. One and a half yards of mulch equals about 40 cubic feet, which is a 3” layer of mulch over 160 square feet of planting beds. I mention that because the bags of mulch that folks usually buy contain only 2-3 cubic feet of mulch, and there is a huge economic advantage to borrowing a truck and buying the material by the cubic yard. I actually use a product called ‘compost’ that I buy from the Miramar landfill. I’m not crazy about the coarser mulch that one can buy; the ‘compost’ has finer, dark brown particles that break down fairly quickly and, in so doing, feed the soil. It smells and looks wonderful. (I have been doing this every Fall for almost 40 years and it’s a real pleasure to dig in the soil that’s been amended this way!).


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