Wooly thyme "lawn". Too late to fertilize?

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by barrolini, Feb 25, 2007.

  1. barrolini

    barrolini Active Member

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    My hillside back yard is basically a thyme lawn. I read (albeit a little late) that fall is the appropriate time to be fertilizing it, and that in the spring it should be top dressed with fine mulch or rotted steer manure.

    Some areas in particular suffered a bit last summer and I would like to give those areas or the entire area whatever additional boost I can for the coming summer.

    Any recommendations would be appreciated.

    Barrie
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    What to do depends on why parts of it died out. Thymes generally are characteristic of dry, rocky soils and may not benefit from extra fertility. Hot and dry is what they like, not cool and damp. If there is, in fact a nutrient deficiency - as shown by a soil test - spring is the next best time to fertilize hardy plants after fall. You don't want to keep plants waiting all summer because spring is not the optimum time.
     
  3. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Barrie:
    That makes precious little sense to me, if anything, it should be the other way around: mulch in fall and fertilize in spring. I have at least 4 different species of thyme and all grow so dense, that weeds cannot grow through and any mulching could only cover their tops and not penetrate to the roots.

    Thymes are flat rooters and fall fertilizing would by spring, when the fertilizer could possibly do any good, it would have penetrated too deeply for the roots to reach it. I scatter some peat moss in fall on any open spots and have scattered fertilizer right on top of the thyme an all other ground covers just a few days ago for spring growth.

    I am not sure, what made your thyme "suffer" last summer, under- or over watering perhaps?

    Olaf
     
  4. wynn

    wynn Active Member 10 Years

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    My personal experience with using wooly thyme is that is seems to like a slightly better, moister soil than some of the other thymes. It thrives on moisture during the summer. I plant it with a deep (amended) hole of good soil if it is in impoverished dry soils and it seems to do much better. The first year after you plant it, it can be significantly affected by drought and much of it can die out. If it survives the first couple of years, then it can do pretty well, no matter what conditions.

    Wynn
     
  5. barrolini

    barrolini Active Member

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    Wynn

    Thank you for your comments. It has been my experience as well that my wooly thyme definitely thrives on summer watering. Based on most references, I held back on watering initially and suffered the consequences of die out in several areas.

    I was interested in your reference to planting in amended soil and wonder if you could advise as to an amending medium and ratio that works for you.

    Thanks again

    Barrie
     
  6. wynn

    wynn Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Barrie, usually I try to dig a hole at least 3x the dimensions of a 4" pot of WT. Typically, I use some good garden topsoil (same as for the rest of the garden). I avoid the "99% peatmoss/handful of fertilizer" bags of potting soil. That's too light and fluffy to provide good rooting. If you are digging in a heavy clay soil I would blend the clay and topsoil together (maybe 50/50 or 30/70) and also built up a low, wide "berm" of good soil at the top (1-2") and plant the thyme high. That allows it to spread and set a good network of roots on the surface as well as deep roots. It works for me! 4" thyme I planted a couple of years ago are now billowy patches of 3'x3' -- they are also in full sun.

    Good luck, thyme lawns are marvelous!

    Wynn
     

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