Gardening

Prato di dicondra


Question: Dicondra meadow


Dear "Gardening" staff,
I wanted to ask you a question about my dichondra meadow;
since I live in a northern town and saw the temperatures quite low
of these months, even if the days have always been up to now
sunny and seen the soil a little clayey, if you need to water it
sometimes;
I add that in my garden there is a small maple tree.
Sure of your kind reply, I send you my warmest greetings.
Roberta

Answer: Dicondra meadow


Dear Reader,
Thank you for contacting us about your questions on the lawn
Dicondra, through the "" expert's column. The best time for the sowing of the Dichondra is generally the month of April May and you can plant even in soils only 20-30 cm deep, the important thing is to give a sufficient amount of nourishment and water.
Sowing must be done superficially.
Since it is a very fine seed it is good practice to perform the operation on
ground in tempera (not too wet or dry) and perfectly administered.
In order to favor the distribution of this seed in the absence of precision machines, it is advisable to mix the quantity of seed foreseen for the surface together with peat or other material useful for tracing the areas sown and also avoiding easy overlapping. Although Dicondra is a plant tolerant to drought, this one in the early stages of development it is very sensitive and therefore together with a correct preparation of the soil, burial of the seed, it is good to facilitate sprouting with light but repeated watering (it is sufficient that the water penetrates at least in the first 5 cm of depth) The recommended technique for fertilizing a new plant of a Dicondra turf, is that of intervene in pre sowing on worked land on the occasion of the first grubbing up trying to incorporate the fertilizer at a reasonable depth. Later in the beginning of vegetation phase, it will then be necessary to go over again with other fertilizer to consolidate the development of the young seedlings.

Description and uses



There Dichondra repens It is a plant native to Australia and New Zealand, but, due to its great adaptability and vigor, it is now very widespread also in Asia and in the warm regions of the United States, where it is considered an invasive.
At horticultural level it is used more and more often: due to its creeping growth habit, it requires minimal maintenance, it resists fairly well the trampling and bears even very sunny positions. Once it has taken root it begins to lengthen its stems which, gradually, tend to root themselves, covering vast areas. The leaves are rounded, very dense, and a nice bright green.
However, there are also disadvantages to keep in mind: in the sun it grows less vigorously and makes larger, but isolated leaves. It is also a dicotyledon: this means that we will not have effective selective herbicides available and weed removal can only be done manually.
THE DICHONDRA IN BRIEF
Family, genus, species: Convolvulaceae, gen.dichondra, repens or argentea
Origins: Oceania
Plant type: Herbaceous, used for decorative foliage
Foliage: Persistent or semi-persistent, green or silver
Use: Ground cover, climbing or decombente
Maintenance: Medium-low
Growth: slow
Height: Up to 15 cm
Width: Branches up to 120 cm long
Ground: Not demanding, but well-drained
Exposure: Half shade, shadow
Minimum temperature: -7 ° C
Propagation: Sowing or offshoots

Maintenance


In the early days it will certainly be necessary to pay more attention to our dichondra grass: slow growth favors the appearance of weeds and competition will become a real danger. We clean the area at least twice a week.
In the early days it will be necessary to irrigate frequently (at least twice a week, especially in the South), making sure that the water penetrates for at least the first 3 cm. A weekly water supply can also be useful later, especially in summer: it will prevent drying out, allowing a fresh appearance and a bright green color of the foliage.

Composting



Twice a year, in February-March and then in June, it is useful to spread a slow-release granular fertilizer where the nitrogen is slightly predominant. The first two years, at the vegetative restart, a good help can come from the dried blood of ox.
The Dichondra calendar
Sowing: October-November; April May
offshoot: October-November
Fertilization: February March; June
irrigation: After sowing; then June-August (at least every 7 days)
Weeding: March-June, every 3 days
Cut: Once in the fall

Cut


This type of maintenance is not strictly necessary; it may happen that the plant grows too high probably due to excessive irrigation or nitrogen fertilization. You can intervene without fear of adverse reactions. In any case it is always a good idea to make a cut annually, especially when you are heading towards the cold season. This type of intervention allows the plant to regenerate the foliage and stimulates the rooting of the stems, at the level of the leaf axils.

Pests and diseases



There dichondra it doesn't have many enemies. Only the gastropods, snails and slugs should be feared, especially in spring and autumn: the persistent humidity facilitates their spread, especially in the early hours of the morning. They are particularly fond of tender leaves and we may soon find ourselves with a completely unguarded lawn. To avoid this inconvenience we use the appropriate granules, creating small heaps in the areas of greatest passage.
Excessive irrigation can instead cause the appearance of cryptogams, in particular scab and powdery mildew on the leaves. We distribute water only when necessary and possibly in the morning, so that it dries quickly.

Prato di dicondra: Variety


There are essentially two species on the market: the Dichondra repens (the one most used as a turf) and the Dichondra argentea.
Dichondra repens
It grows up to 10 cm in height and each stem stretches up to 50 cm. At the height of its development it forms a dense carpet, a perfect substitute for the lawn, but it can also be used to cover vertical surfaces given its aptitude to climb. It is very resistant to cold and keeps the leaves throughout the winter. It lives better in positions at least partially shaded, but it avoids excessive humidity.
Dichondra argentea
It is less used for the creation of green carpets, but it is very useful as an annual or multi-year (depending on our climate) ground cover, climbing or decombente, also in pot. Its stems can exceed one meter in length and are covered with silvery leaflets. Very suitable for the Center and South of our peninsula, especially in dry areas: irrigation can also be very rare and the plant will not be affected. Attention instead to the North, as it fears temperatures below -5 / 8 ° C and is particularly sensitive to damp soils: let's use it rather as an annual.