Fast Growth Trees as Shade Devices
Trees are important to all of us. Not only does a healthy tree look good, but it does so much more. It helps clean the air by removing pollution. According to NC State University, a healthy tree can absorb up to 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and as much as 1 ton of carbon by the time it reaches 40 years old. One pound of carbon dioxide would fill a balloon two and half feet across. So trees greatly help reduce global warming gasses. A healthy tree also adds value to a home. A healthy landscape can increase a home’s value by as much as 25 percent. Trees help keep your house cool, often reducing summer cooling bills by up to 30 percent according to the USDA. Trees provide habitat for birds and other wildlife. Trees carefully placed will block wind, noise and unsightly views.
July is the time to seed drought tolerant native grasses. Buffalo and Blue Gramma Grass make the best drought tolerant lawns for Santa Fe. Both of these grasses need to be seeded during the hot summer months in order to germinate and there is no better time than during July monsoons.
When seeding a native lawn, it is always best to first clean up the area in which you wish to sow your new lawn. Start by first raking the area and removing any weeds, rocks and root clumps that you can. Next turn over the ground with a spade or roto-tiller. Remove any rocks or root clumps you may have turned up. Then add compost–LOTS of compost. The better you prepare the soil initially, the stronger your grass will be later. If possible, it is a good idea to add as much as 50% compost to a depth of 18 inches. Weed control is the most difficult issue when starting a new lawn from seed. At this point, you need to decide how you are going to accomplish this. The easiest way, but also the most expensive, is to cover the area with 4 inches of top soil and then seed on top of that. This will cover up the weed seeds that have been accumulating for years and give the grass a head start. You can also skip the top soil cover and seed directly into your newly turned and composed area. Weeds WILL germinate, often in alarming numbers. You need to pull them as soon as you see them, while they are still small and easy to pull. Hand pulling is the best. It’s best to avoid weed killers at this stage because they will often kill newly germinated grass, even the ones that say they are safe in lawns.
Once you have decided the route you are going with weed control, then it is time to sow the grass seed. The thicker you seed your grass, the thicker it will come up. Blue Gramma should be seeded at the rate of 1 pound to 150-250 square feet. Buffalo grass should be seeded at the rate of 1 pound to 75-150 square feet. You can also mix the two together. Buffalo grass takes 10 to 21 days to germinate and blue gramma takes 5 to 15 days to germinate. While your grass seed is germinating, it is very important that you do not let it dry out. This means DAILY watering, sometimes twice a day when it is hot and windy.