Three Things You Need To Know About Growing A Lawn In The Alaska Panhandle

You Need to Provide Excellent Drainage

Alaska's panhandle is covered by the largest national forest in the country and the planet's largest rain temperate forest, the Tongass National Forest. Although rainfall amounts vary among different parts of the Tongass, water is a part of living in the rain forest. The inhabited communities of the Tongass are all located in coastal areas that experience high rainfall levels. For this reason, yard and garden areas can easily become flooded, creating optimal conditions for fungal pathogens to become problematic. French drains can keep lawn conditions from becoming overly soggy, and grasses such as bluepoint redgrass work well in wet conditions. Always install retaining walls in areas where lawns slope downward because runoff is a serious issue in this area due to heavy rainfall.

The Soil is Extremely Acidic 

Because the Tongass National Forest is comprised primarily of coniferous trees such as hemlock, spruce, red and yellow cedar, and pine, the soil tends to be highly acidic, particularly the areas around the trees themselves. Most people in Alaska panhandle communities simply choose to leave the areas under the trees natural because the combination of shade and acidic soils is too much for them to handle. However, there are a few kinds of lawn grass that may do well in this type of conditions. Fescues are suited to southeastern Alaska climates and do fairly well in shade and acidic soils. Bluegrass and bentgrass are other possible options. No matter what kind of lawn grass you choose for using under coniferous trees, you can help reduce soil acidity by keeping conifer needles raked up.

Deer May Damage Your Grass

Deep populations are extremely high on the Alaska panhandle, and even those living in fairly well-populated cities such as Ketchikan and Juneau regularly see deer in their yards. Although lawn grass isn't among the favorite forage items of deer they will eat it, and there's no particular type of grass they don't like. You can make it less tempting to them by keeping the grass fairly short. However, the small amounts of grass that deer and moose eat won't have a significant impact on the health of appearance of your lawn, but their droppings are a different story. Deer droppings contain very high amounts of nitrogen, which grass needs in order to thrive, but too much nitrogen in the same spot can cause the individual lawn plants to burn, leaving holes in your yard. Using a rake or shovel to spread the droppings over the rest of your lawn so it may benefit from the free natural fertilizer. 

For more information, contact companies that sell wholesale grass seed and other lawn care products.


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