10 Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Gardening

You might not believe it, but you were born with a green thumb. It may have gone untended for a while, but it's there waiting for you to nudge it awake. Put away your theory of being a plant killer, that anything dies under your care. Forget those nagging thoughts of where your garden will live or when you'll find the time, it's there somewhere. It doesn't have to cost a fortune and you'll get more than you give. So, here are 10 tips for conquering your fear of gardening:

See More

Gardening Tips for Renters

Want to bring more green to your house or apartment? Using a few easy, inexpensive techniques, <a href="http://www.thehorticult.com/">The Horticult</a> shows how you can garden like you own the place -- without risking your security deposit. You don't have to own your home to create a garden that reflects your personal style. Grow your favorite plants and create an inspired landscape -- or patio, interior, or balcony -- using these fun, low-commitment methods. (Although you might want to check with your landlord about the larger projects!) And if you move, you can take it all with you. These 10 tips for renters will give your garden a new lease on life.

View Slideshow

Summer Checklist

Summer is a gardener¿s busiest season. If you¿re short on time or not sure what to do, follow this easy summer gardening checklist to keep your lawn and garden in great shape all season long.

View Video

Drought-Tolerant Grasses

Drought! The word itself strikes fear into the hearts of gardeners everywhere. Scarce water resources, especially in hard hit areas such as California and Texas, are making it almost impossible to maintain traditional style lawns. That's why many people are replacing their lawns with groundcovers and native plants. But for those who want a lush green lawn, here are some less-thirsty options.

See More

How to Improve Garden Soil

Many homeowners inherit bad garden soil ¿ but you don¿t have to live with it! Learn how to get the best garden soil possible through amendments, composting, and more.

View Video

Top Shade Perennials

Shade plants are perfect for those tough spots in your yard. Learn about the best shade-loving perennials, including flowering shade perennials, partial shade perennials, and full-shade perennials.

View Video

Landscape Ideas

Landscape ideas provide inspiration, and studies show that upgrading your landscape will add value to your home. Here are some great landscape ideas to improve your home's outward appeal.

View Slideshow
Popular in Gardening

Picking the Right Grass

For the best-looking, easiest-to maintain-lawn, plant grass varieties that are well-suited to your climate and the lawn's intended use.

Almost all lawn grasses are classified as either "cool season" (meaning they do better in the North) or "warm season" (better adapted to southern gardens). The information in this article will help you select varieties that will grow well in your climate and under the conditions present in your yard.

Before you make your final decision, check with your local Cooperative Extension Service or local nurseries to find out about varieties adapted to your area.

Cool-season grasses

Cool-season grasses are generally adapted to northern climates, where they grow vigorously in spring and fall and may turn brown in very hot summers. They are often sold as a blend of several varieties of the same species, such as several varieties of Kentucky bluegrass, or as a mixture of two or more different species such as Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue. Growing blends or mixtures is a good idea -- if one doesn't grow well or is destroyed by disease, chances are that the others will take over and flourish.

The most common cool-season grasses include fine fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue. The new varieties of Kentucky bluegrass, unlike the old standards, are quite disease-resistant, keep their fine-textured looks without a lot of feeding, and have some drought tolerance. Fine fescue includes several grasses -- chewings fescue, hard fescue, and creeping red fescue -- that are often mixed with Kentucky bluegrass as they thrive in shade and drought. Perennial ryegrass is a main component of cool-season grass mixes. It germinates quickly and wears well.

Warm-season grasses

Warm-season grasses are adapted to the South, growing best in hot weather, and going brown and dormant when temperatures dip to freezing. Zoysia is the most winter hardy of the southern grasses and is sometimes grown up to Zone 7. It stays brown all winter in cold-winter areas, however, and is slow to green up in spring. It's a dense grass that's somewhat tolerant of shade and grows best in the upper South. Bermuda grass is suited to Florida and the Gulf Coast and thrives when it gets abundant water. It wears well, staying green longer than other warm-season grasses. St. Augustine grass is a coarse grass, adapted to the humid coastal areas of the South. It is not tolerant of freezing weather or much shade but stands up to sun and high traffic. Bermuda grass is common to the mild-winter West Coast and southern regions. Some varieties can be started from seed, while others are grown only from sod or sprigs.

A beautiful lawn usually contains a combination of distinct grass types, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. As you evaluate a grass mixture, look at the proportions of the varieties described below to evaluate which mixture will meet your needs and conditions best.

Kentucky bluegrass

  • Texture: Fine
  • Germination time: Slow
  • Shade tolerance: Fair
  • Drought resistance: Fair
  • Traffic resistance: Good
  • Optimum height: 2 to 3-1/2 inches
  • Comments: Goes dormant during drought and winter

Perennial ryegrass

  • Texture: Medium-coarse
  • Germination time: Fast
  • Shade tolerance: Fair
  • Drought resistance: Good
  • Traffic resistance: Excellent
  • Optimum height: 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches
  • Comments: Poor tolerance of temperature extremes and extremely cold winters

Fine fescue

  • Texture: Fine
  • Germination time: Medium-slow
  • Shade tolerance: Good
  • Drought resistance: Excellent
  • Traffic resistance: Fair
  • Optimum height: 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches
  • Comments: Loses color in drought; may spread undesirably

Tall fescue

  • Texture: Medium coarse
  • Germination time: Medium-slow
  • Shade tolerance: Good
  • Drought resistance: Good
  • Traffic resistance: Excellent
  • Optimum height: 2 to 3-1/2 inches
  • Comments: May appear clumpy

Bermuda grass

  • Texture: Fine
  • Germination time: Slow -- use plugs or sod
  • Shade tolerance: Poor
  • Drought resistance: Excellent
  • Traffic resistance: Excellent
  • Optimum height: 1 to 2 inches
  • Comments: May be too aggressive

Centipedegrass

  • Texture: Medium-coarse
  • Germination time: Medium -- use plugs or sod
  • Shade tolerance: Good
  • Drought resistance: Good
  • Traffic resistance: Poor
  • Optimum height: 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches
  • Comments: Grows no more than 4 to 6 inches

St. Augustine grass

  • Texture: Coarse
  • Germination time: Slow -- use plugs or sod
  • Shade tolerance: Fair
  • Drought resistance: Poor
  • Traffic resistance: Fair
  • Optimum height: 2 to 3 inches
  • Comments: Very poor cold tolerance; susceptible to disease

Buffalograss

  • Texture: Fine
  • Germination time: Medium -- use plugs
  • Shade tolerance: Poor
  • Drought resistance: Excellent
  • Traffic resistance: Excellent
  • Optimum height: 2 inches
  • Comments: Tolerates alkaline soil; turns brown midsummer; grows no more than 4 to 6 inches. Native to areas of North America.

Zoysia

  • Texture: Fine-medium
  • Germination time: Slow -- use plugs or sprigs
  • Shade tolerance: Fair
  • Drought resistance: Good
  • Traffic resistance: Good
  • Optimum height: 1 to 2 inches
  • Comments: Turns brown in winter
close
close
close
close
close

Loading... Please wait...