Lawn Maintenance

A little lawn maintenance at the start of the year can often safeguard your lawn from many problems that can happen throughout the rest of the year.

For instance it can safeguard against common problems such as moss, weeds and drought.

Circa Week 10-13: Brush off any windblown debris, and worm casts if conditions allow.

Alternatively, use a spring-tine rake to remove the debris but don't scarify the turf.

Delay scarification until the autumn, to do it now can thin the lawn

If the lawn is troubled with surface water after rain, improve the drainage by spiking with a garden fork.

If conditions allow, improve the surface soil by brushing in a top-dressing of sieved compost, peat or proprietary lawn dressing.

If any bald patches have apeared in the lawn, lightly rake or fork the surface of the bald area/s prior to seed sowing.

At the same time level out any depressions on the lawn.

Broadcast 20-25g (¾-1 oz) of grass seed per square metre over the prepared area/s and lightly water it in.

If the weather remains dry over the next few days, lightly spray the area taking care not to wash away the seed.

Week 26: Where edges of lawn are bald or crumbling, cut out the affected area with a half-moon edging tool or sharp spade.

Loosen the exposed soil and mix in a little fertiliser.

Reverse damaged turf, then re-lay so that a clean edge is formed.

Fill the bare area behind with compost and re-seed, or trim to form a square gap and fill with a new piece of turf.

Installation of a proprietary plastic or alloy edging strip, will protect the lawn edge, and help to prevent unsightly grass growing out into the border.

Week 28: Lawns will require mowing at least once a week.

On recently laid lawns set blades a little higher to reduce stress.

Use a sprinkler if conditions are dry, especially where your lawn has been recently seeded or turved.

Lawns that have become compacted as a result of heavy use will benefit from spiking every two to three years to improve aeration.

Small areas can be spiked with a garden fork, making holes 100-150mm (4"-6") apart.

On clry or water­logged soils use a hollow-tine aerator* to extract plugs of soil.

Sweep up plugs and brush in a sandy soil mixture to improve air and moisture penetration.

A simple mix is: three parts sandy loam, six parts sharp sand and one part compost or leaf-mould (by volume), applied at 2-3kg per sq m.

Proprietary mixes can be purchased from many garden centres.

*Powered versions can be hired.

Week 35> now is a good time to renovate your lawn and give it a chance to respond prior to the onset of winter.

Decisions may have to be made i.e. does it need renovation, relaying?

If renovation is the answer, start by removing any thatch that has accumulated throughout the year.

Thatch is an accumulation of moss and dead grass stems that have built up on the lawn.

This dead growth can impede the absorption of water and fertilisers into the soil.

To rectify this situation, the lawn will want scarifying.

On small areas the use of a spring tined rake may suffice, but on larger areas, hiring a powered scarifier may be the better option.

Take care not to scarify too deeply as this might damage the lawn.

Lawns that have sunk or lifted can be re-levelled.

Do this by slicing through turf and rolling it back, then fork the soil below and add or remove soil as necessary.

Replace the turf, and water thoroughly.

Week 40: Where heavy wear, or the removal of large weeds has left bare patches, fill the gap/s in by re-turfing or breaking up the surface of the soil and sow the affected area with grass seed.

Week 52: Continue removing late falls of leaves from turf and consign these to the compost heap.

Try to finish off any remaining spiking jobs, but avoid walking across lawns when they are frosted, or covered with snow, as this can lead to damage and disease later.





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