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Monsoon lawns II

October 12, 2011

Yesterday we had an interesting visit by Dutch and Thai landowners and a Thai architect. The topic was garden design including discussions about drainage solutions. Luckily for Mika three children accompanied the group and so everyone were satisfied. One discussion was about grass. In a previous blog on tropical lawns I mentioned two grass species and some suggestions for the establishment and care of a tropical lawn. A third grass was discussed yesterday: ‘ya nippon’ (Zoysia spp, often Zoysia japonica, Poaceae). This grass is finer than ‘ya malesia’ (Axonopus compressus) and less adapted to shady environments.

However, the thinner leaves appeals to many gardeners and it is a grass suitable for the valley gardens. At higher elevation where temperature may go below 10°C this grass may turn brownish. Like many other ornamental lawn grasses it demands good drainage and so a water logged garden should be elevated by a filling of cheap stony/sandy/clayey soil and then topped with river sediment (10-20 cm). At Dokmai Garden we planted a strip of this ‘ya nippon’ in both sun and shade, and the grass in the shade was outcompeted by ‘ya malesia’ in a year. You can still see the grass in the sunny part, but I think over the years it will yield to other species.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

Top: ‘ya nippon’ Bottom: ‘ya malesia’. Photo from Dokmai Garden, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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