The Site: Though it is not possible to select the site one would like to have, but certain points should be remembered before laying down a lawn.
Generally a slope to the south is avoided as it tends to dry out fast and leads to scorching. Such site should be terraced. Without a good drainage, it is impossible to have lawns. There should not be too much of a shade or very large sized plants near the lawn. This does not rule out a well placed and nicely groomed trees., but only that they should not be in clusters or groups. The fallen leaves of the large trees should be removed and not allowed to accumulate.
Preparation: A good drainage is necessary but it need not- be deep. Grasses are shallow rooted and the water should not stagnate near the roots. The ground is leveled before laying a lawn if it has pronounced variations. Absolute leveling is not necessary. The quality of the soil is checked and if not suitable, it is better to replace than to risk the lawn. Whatever the soil, a little manuring is needed a week or ten days before sowing.
Once these operations are over, the ground is ready for sowing.
Sowing: The sowing needs care. The soil should not be wet, it should be dry. The sowing should be liberal and if seeds are used then about 45g. per sq.m. should be the minimum. It is better to demarcate the area for easy sowing. The best grass for lawns in India is Cynodon dactylon commonly called Bermuda grass. The others are some hybrid varieties of Bermuda like Tifway (aggressive and disease resistant), Tiflawn - dark green, hybrid variety - Golf ground of Delhi), Tif green (hybrid - golf club - Chembur). Often the creeping varieties like Asmopus affinis and others are mixed and then sown. For general use - 30% of Festuca rubra (variety fallacy 20% F. rubra (variety genuina), 30% Agrostis canina and 20% Poa trivialis are mixed and used.
Methods of planting :
The planting of lawn can be down in one of the following ways :
By seeds: In India, a lawn is rarely made by sowing. It is only done when turves are not available. The seeds are sown on a windless day so that they will net be carried away because of their light weight. After sowing, it should be covered with fine light soil.
By turfing: Turves are small pieces of earth with compact grass on them. It is the quickest way to forrri a lawn. But the cost of turfing is much higher. Good turves must be selected and generally should be devoid of weeds. As far as possible, imported turf should be avoided, unless one is sure that it suits the soil. Before turfing the ground is dug and manured.
The turves should be almost of equal size and should be compactly laid down side by side. After this they are beaten with the turf-beater. The cavities in between are filled with soil.
By turn plastering: Fresh Bermuda grass roots are cut into small pieces of 2 to 4cms long. The soil is dug to make pits. The pit is filled with a mixture of roots (2 parts), decomposed horse manure (1 part) and fresh cow dung (1 part). Cover the ground with coarse manure to reduce evaporation.
By dibbling roots: Though the cheapest, the method is the slowest. Small roots are dibbled (make holeswith dipple for planting) about 15 cms apart, when the ground is wet.
Maintenance of lawn:
After taking lots of pain and spending money the next thing is to maintain the lawn. The maintenance is taking care regularly. It is done by regular rolling, mowing, watering, weeding etc. After removing the weeds fill the place with grass roots and soil. If it is not a rainy season, water the lawn every ten days heavily, soaking at least upto depth of 30cms. After a month, manure the lawn with liquid manure (45g. of ammonium nitrate in five litres of water per sq.m.). Spray Bordeaux mixture (general fungicide) at diseased places. The weeds are also cleared by using weedicide.
1. Wire rake - Used for pulling out debris and dead grass.
2. Mower - Motor mowers are easy to use but hand machines give better results.
3. Shears - Essential for edge trimming.
4. Sprinkler - Meant for even watering.
5. Spiking - A fork-like tool helps to prevent soil compactions.
6. Spreaders - Useful in giving even distribution of seeds, fertilizers, etc.
Following are few names of plants suitable for planting on lawns as single specimens:
1. Amherstia nobilis
2. Thuja orientalis
3. Bignonia undulata
4. Plumeria rubra
5. Erythrina cristagalli
6. Callicarpa lantana
Some shrubs are:
1. Agave americana
2. Cestrum nocturnum
3. Pandanus sp.
4. Lagerstraemia indica
5. Ravenala madagascariensis
6. Hamelia patens
8. Allamanda sp.
9. Bauhinia sp.
10.Clumps of Bambusa or other flowering grasses.