It’s a Valpo thing! Nothing beats having the best lawn in the neighborhood. Bragging rights escalate in late summer! Just as your lawn recovers from the brutal NWI winter, the dog days of summer scorch your gorgeous lawn. The pursuit of having a great lawn in Valpo is a challenging one! But, according to Valpo’s Steve Daly, having the best lawn in Valparaiso is easy… just add water. But wait! Adding the right amount of water can depend on your soil composition. Watering too much is almost as bad as watering too little. Now consider that NWI is a mosaic of soil types. It’s enough to make your head spin! In today’s article, you’ll learn the basic soil types and how to water them. You’ll also learn best-practice watering for new sod, dormant grass, and more! Today, we look at how to grow grass in Valparaiso soil…and discover Valparaiso’s dirty little secret.
It’s a Valparaiso Thing!
Two things I’ve noticed as a homeowner in Valparaiso. We have very challenging soil, and yet, we have some of the nicest lawns I’ve ever seen. I’ve always assumed the people with the greenest lawns in late July spend a fortune on lawn care and water bills. I found out this is not true. According to Daly, the best lawns in Valpo can be achieved for the same price as the ugly, brown lawns that make up most of Valparaiso.
Seriously? Did he say growing grass in Valparaiso soil is simple and can be done for the same price as doing it yourself?
Well, good news folks, he speaks the truth! I followed Daly’s simple plan last summer and after 22 years, I had my best lawn ever….and it was cheaper than doing it on my own!
They call him, Mr. Green!
OK, before jumping into our guide to watering different soil types, let’s do some fact-checking. Who is Steve Daly and what’s his story?
In Valparaiso, he is sometimes called Mr. Green…and why not? Everything about this guy is green. His great, great grandfather came from Ireland to Valparaiso in the 1880s. He grew up as a Valpo Viking and raised his family in Valpo. Now he has grandchildren being raised here in Valpo as well. He has spent a lifetime establishing his reputation for being the guy that could grow healthy, green grass in Valpo’s most difficult soil conditions. He is also the owner of Perma-Green, Valparaiso’s oldest lawn care service. Even his daughters work for the family business.
While Daly has always said that growing a healthy lawn in Valparaiso soil is easy peasy, he meant easy for the homeowner. His team is expected to work hard, get certified, and meet compliance standards, yadda, yadda, yadda. With lawn care programs cheaper than doing it yourself, let them handle it. I like my free time, plus, it’s fun when all you need to do is water and mow. Especially since my lawn tech coaches me on when to water and how much…and it’s all included!
I also discovered how much fun it is to water your lawn when you have the greenest lawn on the block. Just like washing the coolest car in the neighborhood…It’s showtime!
Today, You’ll get the dirt on Valpo dirt!
OK….maybe I’m a little biased when I say that nobody is better than Steve Daly and Perma-Green when it comes to knowing how to grow grass in Valparaiso’s diverse soil. With full transparency, I consider Daly a good friend, but it was through working with Perma-Green that this friendship was established. My enthusiasm for Perma-Green’s expertise was earned by the entire Perma-Green team. Mike Emerson, my assigned lawn technician, is the nicest guy and always offers me recommendations. Knowing the right amount of water also saves me money.
The support doesn’t end with Mike. The inside support team always answers my calls and are familiar with my neighborhood’s soil composition.
In contrast, I had another lawn company recently trying to sell me a lawn care program and the rep couldn’t even pronounce Valparaiso correctly. He then claimed to have expertise in working with Valpo soil. Hmmm?
My bias for Daly’s Perma-Green team also comes with common sense. Anybody that has had family in Valpo since the 19th Century and runs Northwest Indiana’s oldest lawn care company must know a thing or two about developing strong and healthy roots. I also like Perma-Green’s ongoing support for the community. Perma-Green is a member/sponsor of the Valpo Restaurant Group to support local events and partnered with Don Quijote, Uptown East and Howard Gutenstein, to raise over $31,101 for Valpo’s Hilltop Neighborhood.
The Dirt on Valpo Dirt | Your Guide to Growing Grass in Valpo Soil
“The grass plant is 85% water – Proper Watering and Mowing play a huge factor in the health of your lawn” -Steve Daly
Clay Soils: You want to water 1 time per week (every 5-7 days) for a total of 1 ½ inches of water per week. The length of time per watering is based on your water pressure output. If you do not have a rain gauge, you may use any type of catch container (tin can) to get a measurement. It is always best to water for longer periods of time and less frequently. As a rule for growing grass in Valparaiso soil, you’ll want to replicate 1 good rainfall each week. Early mornings (between 4 a.m. & 8 a.m.) are the best time to water clay.
Sandy Soils: Same as with clay soils, you want to water a total of 1 ½ inches per week. However, with sandy soils, you can water a little more frequently (every 3 days). The length of time per watering is based on your water pressure output. If you do not have a rain gauge, you may use any type of catch container (tin can) to get a measurement. Early mornings (between 4 a.m. & 8 a.m.) are the best time to water.
Loam Soils: You want to water 1 time per week (every 5 days) for a total of 1 ½ inch of water per week. The length of time per watering is based on your water pressure output. If you do not have a rain gauge, you may use any type of catch container (tin can) to get a measurement. When it comes to growing grass in Valparaiso’s soil, it is always best to water for longer periods of time and less frequently. You want to replicate 1 good rainfall each week. Early mornings (between 4 a.m. & 8 a.m.) are the best time to water.
New Seedings: A newly seeded lawn will need to be watered 2-4 times per day – the seedbed should be moistened to a depth of 1-2 inches but not saturated. As the seed germinates and seedlings begin to grow, it is essential that the new seedlings are not allowed to dry out. Continue to water 2-4 times per day if the weather conditions are dry. When the seedlings reach 2 inches in height, gradually start to reduce the frequency of watering and water more deeply. After the new turf has been mowed 2-3 times, deep & infrequent watering should be practiced. Follow watering guidelines for your soil conditions.
New Sod: A newly sodded lawn will require water 1 or 2 times per day. Sod should be watered so that the sod strip is wet from top to bottom and the soil underneath is moist to the depth of 1 inch. Overwatering sod is a common mistake. Do not saturate the soil below the sod. This will inhibit roots from growing into the soil. As sod becomes established and roots penetrate and grow, gradually reduce the frequency of watering but wet the soil to a greater depth. After the sod has been mowed 3-4 times, deep & infrequent watering should be practiced. Follow watering guidelines for your soil conditions.
Sloped or Compacted Areas: Slopes or areas with soil compaction are often difficult to irrigate without water run-off. In these areas, it is important not to apply water faster than it can be absorbed. One possible method is to irrigate a slope for a period of time until the water just begins to run off and then stop. Allow the water to infiltrate into your Valparaiso soil and then water the area again until run-off just begins. Repeat this cycle several times until the soil is wet to a depth of 6 inches.
Dormancy: In extended droughts where a lawn is not watered, the lawn will wilt and the leaves will turn brown. These lawns are not dead; the turf is in a dormant condition. Dormancy is a natural survival mechanism of the turf plant. The leaves are dead but the crown (growing point) and the root system remain alive. The grass plant loses water through its leaves. When the leaves are dead, little water is lost which conserves water and allows the crown and root system to remain alive. Turf can survive 4-6 weeks in a dormant condition without a significant thinning of turf upon return of favorable moisture conditions.
Some Lawn Pests are Buried in your Full-Season Lawn Program
While Valparaiso lawn companies can support you with best-practice solutions and advice based on experience and expertise, do your own fact-checking. Many lawn care start-ups come and go without the right experience and training to help you get results. Some local companies are franchised companies with generic treatments or diluted treatments.
Finally, if a company offers you free visits and free applications, take a closer look at the line items. You are likely paying for it. I recently received a mailer that suggested I was getting free grub control, only to find it was buried in the cost of the full-year plan. To make matters worse, they listed free visits that didn’t include products or services. That seems a little creepy!
Do yourself a favor, if anyone suggests they are doing something for free, ask them if they’ll still do it for free without a full-price and full-season contract! Free means free! (LOL)
Valpo’s Dirty Secret Revealed! How to grow grass in Valparaiso Soil
While the above guide is useful, Perma-Green advises people in Valparaiso to seek advice from a lawn care expert that is familiar with their neighborhood. Science and training are significant factors in growing grass, but so is knowing what has worked based on previous experiences in the neighborhood. Unless you are having every square inch of soil tested, you’ll want someone that knows your turf! Your actual lawn composition can be a mix or variety of soil compositions and nothing beats the real-world experience of growing green, healthy grass in Valparaiso.
Daly believes the secret to growing grass in Valparaiso soil is easy peasy. Feed your lawn’s root system with the right fertilizer, mow to the right height, and water as instructed. The secret is knowing the dirt and how to work with it.
It might sound overly philosophical, but as they say, you can’t build a strong future without knowing the history!
Written By Jim Jano Janesheski