ANY garden of reasonable size should have a lawn of some sort, even if it is only a little patch to accommodate a chair or two. A lawn sets off flowers in the border, and gives a restful change to the eye at all seasons. Many suburban gardens are fortunate enough to have a piece of meadow land left as grass when the house was built. As a rule the soil of this grassland is of good consistency and well fed. The springy nature of the turf shows that it is rich in humus. which helps to maintam it in good condition during ex tremes of weather. Unfortunately, the quality of the grass is often inferior for lawn-formation, although this disadvantage to some extent disappears after constant mowing, for the rank grass is cropped almost out of existence. As a matter of fact, rye-grass (a common species in meadow land) is deliberately sown for the creation of a very hard-wearing sports lawn. and well mown to produce a turf that will stand very hard use.
One big trouble about natural turf is the presence of weeds. Sonic of the broad-leaved kinds, like self-heal and daisies and creeping buttercup, are very persistent on rich. moist
soil. However, they can be killed by chemical means which will be considered later. Clover is very common on soils which have a good lime supply. These little plants lie low enough to escape the blades of the mower. and increase steadily by means of rooted stolons as well as by seed. Plantains and dandelions increase by seed. some of which is gratuitously spread from surrounding fields and gardens. The roots of the established plants are such that mowing and even individual cuttingout may fail to eradicate them. However, a lawn can usually be rid of these plants by the use of chemicals or special " hormones." Lawn-sand is made up as follows: sand 14 lbs., sulphate of ammonia 14 lbs. sulphate of iron 3/4 lb. This is spread evenly
in bad patches, where the chemicals burn the leaves of the weeds while rolling off the flexible leaves of grass. It should not he used on wet grass. Some stubborn weeds like dandelion need to be killed with a skewer dipped in sulphuric acid.
All this sounds complicated; but it is really a simple matter which may be attended to as a routine twice a year. Even more simple is the hormone treatment recently introduced. This is fairly expensive, but very effective and economical in time. There are proprietary preparations, most of them equal in value. The result is the same; the weeds are selected and killed, while the grass is unaffected.
FEEDING THE LAWN
When we consider that lawns are constantly cut, and hardly ever have their clippings restored to them. it is obvious that some feeding is really necessary. The two treatments just mentioned are effective in this way, although sulphate of ammonia soon produces acid conditions which are unfavourable. Even organic fertilisers such as dried blood can have this effect. A sour lawn looks stunted and is liable to attacks of moss. Sourness is easily corrected by giving a good dusting of powdered chalk or lime in mid-winter. The rain will wash it in. If the soil is not such as to encourage good rooting of the grass plants, a dusting of bane meal or basic slag is recommended. Too much basic slag encourages clover, however.
Sourness may be due in part to poor drainage. It is surprising what good results can follow the provision of a run of land-drains down each side of the lawn. If the surface of the grass is even, and regularly rolled, there will not be pockets of surplus moisture likely to cause sourness. Rolling can be overdone and should not be continued to the extent of providing a root-restricting crust of sun-baked clay.
A GOOD MOWER A good mower is a great asset. and well worth the extra money. It is not merely that mowing becomes less of a burden; the knives cut better and so allow the finer grasses to develop instead of wrenching them out by the roots. Too many lawns reveal grass leaves with lacerated edges, caused mainly by poor mowers (or by good mowers which have been badly set). A supreme test of a good mower is whether it will cut Paper or not. Personally, I greatly prefer a mower with a roller-andchain drive. You can cut right to the edge of the lawn with it. Such a mower can have an additional fixture which will trim the edges. Where the lawn runs alongside a concrete path. care should be taken to get a level cutting edge flush with the path. Worms are often considered to be a nuisance on the lawn, although a lawn with plenty of worms is luxuriant and healthy. It is better to tolerate these helpful creatures. Worm-casts are soon dealt with if WC sweep them about with a broom. These casts are exceptionally rich in plant food. If a lawn is being made from turf, supplies should be obtained from a reliable source. Even the best Cumberland turf or sea-turf is likely to degenerate if not well treated both before and after laying. Turf is ex pensive. and most of us would prefer to think in terms of grass seed.
E. I. Koin.