By Gary WadeUniversity of GeorgiaAfter last summer’s drought, some homeowners may be reluctant to plant turfgrass not knowing if water will be available to maintain it this summer. They do have an alternative. Dwarf mondo grass is a groundcover that can look like turfgrass without a lot of fuss. Dwarf mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’) is similar to Liriope (Liriope muscari), but it has thinner leaves and a finer texture. It grows 2 to 4 inches tall. Once established, it is drought tolerant, pest resistant and only has to be mowed once a year. Popular varieties include Nana, Nippon and Gyoko-ryu.Dwarf mondo grass grows well in shade under trees where turfgrass is difficult to grow. It will adapt to sunny sites, though, if it is irrigated during establishment. The first step in successfully establishing dwarf mondo grass is to incorporate clean, weed-free compost into the planting area. The bagged composted products obtained from garden centers are fine for this purpose. Place 3 inches of compost on the soil surface and cultivate it thoroughly to a 12-inch depth.One of the most economical ways of obtaining plants is to live next door to someone who has well-established dwarf mondo grass. Barter with them to allow you to dig up a few clumps. One well established clump can be separated by hand into 50 to 100 sprigs, or bibs. If you don’t have access to an established planting, you can buy the plants in pots at garden centers, or garden center managers can order bare-root sprigs from wholesale suppliers. Bare-root sprigs are the most economical way to plant a large area. Place sprigs 6 to 8 inches apart and water the planted area well after planting and again as needed during establishment. A monthly application of a liquid fertilizer for the first six months will get the plants off to a good start. Once established, the sprigs multiply and grow outward to produce a spreading clump.There are a few drawbacks to planting a large area in dwarf mondo grass. First, it’s back-breaking labor. You’ll have to scoot along the ground, planting each sprig one by one. There is just no easier way. Second, the plants are slow growers. It may take 3 years before they provide complete cover. Third, one of the biggest challenges during establishment is hand-weeding between the plants. Local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents can recommend a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent weed seed germination, which may be a more efficient method of keeping weeds at bay. Lastly, don’t expect dwarf mondo grass to provide the same recreational surface as turfgrass. It will not tolerate the wear and tear of a football game or children’s play area. Once a dwarf mondo grass lawn is established, annual maintenance will include mowing once in late winter to remove cold-damaged foliage and applying a light application of a granular fertilize after mowing. Be sure to rake or brush the fertilizer off the foliage and onto the soil, then water to dissolve it into the soil.
Saturday’s result ended Neil’s own winless run of six, and the Scot – like Monk, considered a highly promising manager – praised his former Barnsley team-mate’s credentials and was adamant in his belief that Swansea are already employing the right man. “Yeah (they’d be stupid to panic with Monk),” he said. “If you look at them last year, they got the highest-ever points tally they’ve had. What changes from the end of that season for 12 games into this season? “It’s the same manager, he’s probably not doing too much different, you just go through wee lulls and spells where it becomes tough, maybe people are out of form or you pick up a couple of injuries, there’s a host of things. “Maybe he needs to freshen it up a little bit, but Garry will be best placed to know exactly what he needs to do next. For me, if you got rid of Garry Monk or even thought about it it’s a sad day in football. “We’re only 12 games into the season. I know a couple (of managers are) already gone but it just shows you what football’s like.” Monk remained convinced that his team, who dominated possession without doing anything of note, did not deserve defeat. His squad remains among the Premier League’s more talented but he accepts that they are low in confidence and that should their results not swiftly improve they will soon be battling relegation. Swansea appeared bereft of ideas and confidence both before and after Jonny Howson’s second half headed goal extended his worst run as a manager. There has so far been little suggestion that the 36-year-old is under significant pressure but Swansea sacked his predecessor Michael Laudrup less than a year after he inspired them to the 2013 League Cup, and Premier League management has become an increasingly unstable profession. Press Association “When you are in a period such as this your confidence is not going to be at its highest but you have to give them the trust that you believe in them,” he said. “I understand that football is a tough business and a cruel business. It is very cut-throat and you are working to very thin margins. “Of course you are always wary of (joining the relegation battle) and bear it in mind. We are not quite there yet but in the next few days we have got to put our marker down otherwise the situation will be the situation. I don’t think of it like that, I look at it as a challenge.” Alex Neil has come out in support of former team-mate Garry Monk after Norwich’s 1-0 defeat of Swansea left the manager with only a solitary win in nine games.
Julián Castro, mayor of San Antonio speaks at the Latino Alumni Association’s 39th Anniversary Scholarship Dinner on Friday. USC President C. L. Max Nikias and the marching band also attended the event.Ralf Cheung | Daily Trojan