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Reader q&a on Chamomile Lawn problems:

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General Information
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Question

I am attempting to grow my lawn with chamomile. The top soil is clay based which I discovered after the purchase and the plants are not doing so well - how can I help them along?
Are there any alternatives that may work better?
Thanks!


The Green Chronicle replies...

Chamomile tends to grow on sandy soil so that would seem to be your major problem. Chamomile lawns are no small endeavour as I understand it so, short of importing exactly the kind of sandy medium this plant would like, I think you face an uphill struggle in your part of the world. You might just try to find out if any of the big estate gardens in your neck of the woods have, or have ever had, chamomile lawns. You might be able to explore the local possibilities. I suspect that a far better bet would be to go for a wildflower meadow approach. If you must have a closely cropped surface at all time then this isn't for you, but for me this would be a beautiful and rewarding alternative to a struggle with chamaemelum nobile. You would improve your garden's biodiversity enormously, reduce your mowing to maybe once or at most twice a year, and have a great display of flowers. Wildflower and meadow mixtures are available through lots of seed catalogues; try to go for something really appropriate for your soil type and local climate.


Question

I'm having trouble weeding my Chamomile lawn - the grass grows faster than the chamomile !! any thoughts?


The Green Chronicle replies...

Hi,
there seem to be a lot more stories around of people with problematic chamomile lawns than straightforward ones. It is clearly something of a challenge. I have no personal experience in the field, but you might try the following: Keep weeding the grass out - it is much more competitive than chamomile - during the growing season roll your chamomile weekly, this will encourage rooting and spreading of the chamomile mat; plant more chamomile plants in the lawn to thicken the mat up even more. Good luck, I would love to hear how it goes.


Question

I've managed to grow a fairly large circular chamomile lawn but I'm not sure how to maintain it. I've not used any special soil and grew my plants from seed. I've trimmed it with sheers and prevented it from flowering - can I cut it with a lawn mower? Will it survive walking on?


The Green Chronicle replies...

Hi,
certainly walk on it. In fact you need to do something altogether more drastic to encourage better coverage of the ground. Throughout the growing season you should roll your chamomile lawn. The aim is to crush the stems into the ground and encourage adventitious rooting, this will thicken up your lawn nicely. If I were you I would leave cutting it until it has been rolled and thickened in this way.

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