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  • Writer's pictureMatt

June 21, 2021 - Caring for your woodland lawn in the summer

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

If you have been following us, you'll know that we have put a lot of focus on our woodland area. But you'll also find that we have tried to go along that fine line between being wild and tame. The past winter, we planted a lot of cover crops as a way to slow down the extreme erosion that was created from us clearing out the leaves. Now that it's gotten warmer, the crops are dying back to a lovely yellow and tan color, but we need to fill it in with something.

Young shade grass

Shade grass was the answer! Our woodland area is still heavily shaded, which we love because it keeps the area nice and cool, but it can create some challenges for what can be grown. We do have partial shade plants there already, such as our Japanese Pieris, hosta lillies, Oriental paper bush, and phlox, but we can't fill the entire area with just those plants. We also want to be able to walk around throughout the woodlands.

We chose shade grass because it will:

  1. Grow in the shade

  2. Fill in the gaps created from the areas of cover crops that have totally died back

  3. Continue to reduce erosion throughout the summer

  4. Become food for the deer that travel through

  5. Make it more attractive for the wildlife that pass through. We live in an area that has a lot of clay, so without the cover crops or grass, much of the clay starts to show through

  6. Grow and fill in at the same time that the cover crops die back

What was our timing?

We had planted our cover crops at the end of last fall/early winter, which allowed them to grow until spring of this year. We put down the first round of grass seed around March after the frost had mostly gone away and the spring rains started to come. We wanted to ensure the grass seeds received plenty of water, so we threw down the seed the day after a large rain. The damp soil + the cover crops helped keep the grass seeds from washing away. About two months later, the grass seedlings had come up enough that we could walk on them, but we tended not to just to make sure they could continue to grow thicker.

Cover crops dying back, Shade grass growing in

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