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Lawn - where do we start?


Oboulez

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We have just moved into a new house with 3000m of land. The 'garden' whilst level, it is ex meadow & is full of weeds and dandilions. Where do we start with regard to trying to get some form of grass planted. We appreciate that we will never have a full blown UK type lawn - not least because it is hot & dry in summer, but how can we at least get something looking half presentable given the size??
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Hi Both

We had a similar problem when we moved into our property. We let a neighbour graze some sheep for a few months each year. He then goes over it with his tractor with the whirlie thing on which levels off the remaining weeds and grass. Only problem is that it took several years for it to look reasonably presentable. I am told that you do have to be careful with arrangements like this, no money passes hands and it is not permanent.

 

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We have about that in our house in Charente Maritime.

You do what the French do.  You clear a bit of land round the house, areas where you are likely to sit for example, and you just rough cut the rest.

In the "cultivated" bit, you grow flowers, make some nice beds, hedges etc and make it pretty.  The "meadow" bit can be sown with wild flower seeds or similar.

Our plot was a vineyard so, additionally, we had to tackle the roots of the old vines by grubbing them out or killing them off (quite hard to do with vines).

Clair did explain to me the difference between a "jardin" and a "parc"....yours will just have to be a parc, that's all![:)]  

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Hey Sweet, I'd be interested to hear the difference between a jardin and a parc! One of our French neighbours always refers to ours as le parc, and I always thought "how nice"! Now I'm wondering if it's not quite so complimentary. [:(]

I echo your advice though, just keep mowing the parts where you want it to look decent and accept that there will never be a lawn. After a couple of months of straw appearance the recent rain has produced a lush green verdant pasture again. I've just cut ours today, hopefully for the last time this year, but I can hear it growing from here!! [:-))]

The thought of rotovating and sowing seed for a proper lawn area fills me with horror; I can't imagine how much it would cost, not how I would go about watering it in the summer. The neighbours would think we're mad when all they do is water the vegetables, and in any case there are often local arrêtes in place here in the summer, forbidding watering

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[quote user="sid"]

Hey Sweet, I'd be interested to hear the difference between a jardin and a parc! One of our French neighbours always refers to ours as le parc, and I always thought "how nice"! Now I'm wondering if it's not quite so complimentary. [:(]

I echo your advice though, just keep mowing the parts where you want it to look decent and accept that there will never be a lawn. After a couple of months of straw appearance the recent rain has produced a lush green verdant pasture again. I've just cut ours today, hopefully for the last time this year, but I can hear it growing from here!! [:-))]

The thought of rotovating and sowing seed for a proper lawn area fills me with horror; I can't imagine how much it would cost, not how I would go about watering it in the summer. The neighbours would think we're mad when all they do is water the vegetables, and in any case there are often local arrêtes in place here in the summer, forbidding watering

[/quote]

Hi, Sid

Well, if I have understood Clair correctly (and I hope she will correct me if I haven't![:)]), a jardin is sort of cultivated and looked after, more like our English idea of a garden with flowers and a "kempt" look whilst a parc is sort of "au naturel" and you don't bother too much with it apart from  maybe growing a few trees and other "stuff" that look after themselves.

As for the cost of a lawn (and apart from the watering bit), have you seen the cost of grass seeds lately?[6]

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Ah OK, thanks Sweet. Ours must be a "jardiparc" then! [8-|]  We have lots of trees and I keep the grass neatly cut and Mme Sid has lots of planted stuff for colour (otherwise it would just be green!).

And yes, I have seen the price of grass seed! [:-))]

Last year we made a jachere plot, sowed with wildflowers, which was fabulous. This year we tried to repeat it and found that those seeds had doubled in price. We still bought them though! The peculiar weather early on didn't help the germination but it all came good in the end and in fact the calendulas are still flowering!

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Don't talk to me about the WEATHER, Sid!

We've had non stop rain for days and days on end and all the geraniums and buzylizzies in pots were drooping and looking like it was time to turf them out.  Then, lo and behold, 2 WHOLE days of sunshine (32 degrees on our veranda today) and t-shirt weather.

Now, all the flowers have perked up and the canna lilies and roses are having a second flush (and, no, Wooly, I'm NOT describing myself![:P]) and the birds are singing and the lawn, as you say, is looking lush and ready to grow like crazy.

I LOVE the idea of your "jardiparc"!  Do you think I could describe our bit of ground as such when we come to market it?[:D]

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After the builders moved off we were left with 2000m2 of clay/soil mix and 2000m2 of old field, luckily I has a decent rotavator for the clay and spent an obscene amount on bags of semis pour pelouse raking it out and tramping the soil down before seeding. At least that stopped the topsoil running off and produced a green area to call it a lawn would be stretching the truth. The second year we had a terrific crop of wild flowers or weeds no need to spend a fortune they come free. Parts of the park cannot be cut with the ride on so that became the 'conservation area' and cut twice a year when it becomes too overgrown with docks etc. the rest, old field and newly seeded, has been treated with selective to try and control the broad leaf weeds and clover. but in truth if you want a bowling green anywhere South of Calais you are out of luck.[6]

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We levelled and seeded an area just in front of our terrace, the rest is rough grass with some trees/shrubs dotted around, which we simply cut. A French acquaintance in our village recounts the tale, almost every time we see her, of her English ex-neighbours who re-seeded an area about 8.000 m2, cut it regularly so it was very neat and short and (the worst thing of all!) watered it in the summer....... she just couldn't understand it  at all - not so much the water wastage but just the sheer effort of it all for something you couldn't eat

Lou

Edit - the rough area with regular cutting is now looking much tidier, with reduced weeds and more grass, though will never be a "proper" lawn - we don't mind it

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And the summer months are when we are not allowed to water.

 

We have mown meadow which manages to stay greenish most of the time.  I live with the weeds - except Dandelions - which I am slowly eliminating through pulling up as many as I can.

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I think it's a mistake to even try and produce a fine lawn here in the SW, luckily the seed I bought from the local coop agricole was a 'native ' race so after the garden turned brown throughout the summer and we were left with the job of only topping the weeds we were gratified to find that when the rain returned last month the whole lot greened up again not some thing I had expected! One tip I followed was to set the mower quite high and thus encourage the roots to dig down a bit further and also discourages the moss etc.

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[quote user="andyh4"]

And the summer months are when we are not allowed to water.

 

We have mown meadow which manages to stay greenish most of the time.  I live with the weeds - except Dandelions - which I am slowly eliminating through pulling up as many as I can.

[/quote]

Hey, Andy, just want you to know that I have followed your advice about my dandelions.  I uproot them as well and they are now rather less.  Unfortunately, I have been ill with one thing or another all summer (and still am) so haven't been as rigorous as before but I will start again as soon as I am able!

Thanks for your tip.....[:D]

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Sweet17

It is not a quick solution but you do slowly win - well I feel I am winning

Pommier

So not fit for grazing would mean (in my eyes at least) keep the children and pets well away (our cats regularly eat grass), and probably not so go for other wildlife.  I think I will give it a miss thanks.

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Another product is diméthylamine or hédonal MP-Jardin sold by Beyer.

Its available in your local Garden centre as Désherbant gazons, a small 400ml bottle will treat 800m2, Works well, results in two or three days and the hardest part is pumping up the sprayer. Just remember to only spray on a calm day and of course not over a valued plant.

We will now have the green environmental gardeners telling us how good it is to spent weeks trying to dig out daisy and pisenlit roots[:P] while keeping the nettles from out of their sandals[:D]

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[quote user="andyh4"]

Pommier

So not fit for grazing would mean (in my eyes at least) keep the children and pets well away (our cats regularly eat grass), and probably not so go for other wildlife.  I think I will give it a miss thanks.

[/quote]

I only suggested it as a solution for those who want an alternative to grubbing out weeds by hand. I believe it's harmless to dogs/cats/children/wildlife once it's dried - only grazing animals to be kept off for a time.

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Genoxone

http://e-phy.agriculture.gouv.fr/spe/8300423-8330.htm

 

http://e-phy.agriculture.gouv.fr/spe/2060131-2146.htm

 

Not sure whether the one you have is the first - authorisation for use withdrawn - or the second - toxic, damaging to the environment and long term pollutant of waterways.  And contains 2,4 D.

 

No mention of safe with cats, dogs or children, just not safe for beasts and aquatic animals.

 

But I guess I am just a tree-hugger.  But hey - it's your bit of the environment [:(]

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