“My mom said the only reason men are alive is for lawn care… and vehicle maintenance.”
– Tim Allen
New Turf and/or Seeding
Maintaining the health of any lawn starts with how it’s initially prepared. We give new lawns the best start by either seeding or laying quality turfing to provide aesthetic and functional open space, from a fine bowling green to utility hard wearing turf.
Regular raking (or scarifying as it known) keeps levels of thatch (old grass stems, dead moss and other debris) at an acceptable level, and involves regular raking vigorously but carefully with a spring-tined rake. For larger areas powered tools are available as single units or mower attachments. But turf can be damaged if scarified too deeply.
Aerating (or spiking) lawns allows better movement of air and water into the roots. A well-aerated lawn will manage better in periods of drought or water-logging. For an average lawn, aerate it every two to three years, and concentrate on areas that receive the most wear and are most compacted. While small areas can be spiked with a garden fork, on clay or waterlogged soils use a hollow-tine aerator every three to four years. Hand held and motorized hollow tiners are available.
Top-dressing is the application of loam, sand and well-rotted organic matter to a lawn in order to correct surface irregularities and improve the texture of difficult soils. This encourages the roots and thickens the turf.
To correct bumps and troughs
This is the most obvious (and one of the most important) maintenance task over spring and summer. Mowing regularly keeps the lawn in good health.
Moss is a problem in damp, poorly drained lawns. Spring is a good time to remedy moss problems.
In mid-spring, use a proprietary spring or summer lawn fertiliser at the manufacturer’s recommended rates. Feeding the lawn will increase vigour and help prevent weeds and moss from establishing. Apply fertilisers when the soil is moist, or when rain is expected. But remember, encouraging green leafy growth at the wrong time of year could damage your lawn during the winter cold or by pests and disease.
After moss or weeds have been removed, or where grass is growing sparsely, over-seeding may be necessary. Early autumn is the best time for this job, but mid-spring is also suitable. In heavily used areas, choose a hardwearing utility mix containing ryegrass. Most lawn grasses do not thrive in shade, so for these areas choose a shade-tolerant mix.
Even if lawns turn brown and dry over summer, they usually recover well when rains return. Watering is usually not necessary over summer. But if you do have to water the lawn and maintain a green sward, water when the soil becomes dry, but before the grass turns yellow or brown. If the ground is very hard, aerate it by spiking with a garden fork before watering, to aid water penetration.