Lawn care – after the winter
There’s no doubt it’s been a hard winter for our lawns. Extended periods of freezing cold weather with hard frosts and lingering snow have done extensive damage. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the wet spring is causing water logging and more problems for us gardeners.
Lawn Care – getting the lawn ready for summer
Apart from praying for sunshine, there are things we can do to repair the damage done to our lawns and get them ready for the summer days ahead.
The first thing to do is have a good clear up. With the buildup of leaves, dirt and debris, there’s a good chance your lawn will require a thorough cleaning. Clear away everything that covers the grass – piles of old leaves or build up of soil. Use a special springtine lawn rake to do this job, it will help to remove patches of moss as well as the other unwanted debris. In my opinion, this specialist tool should be in every gardener’s shed. Its long, flexible ‘teeth’ are ideal for removing worm casts, dead leaves and twigs, moss and dead grass which may have accumulated during winter months. It’s quite hard work but well worth the effort. Leaving winter debris on your lawn will make it difficult for the young grass shoots to emerge.
Once you’ve had your workout with the rake, give the lawn a dressing with a special spring food, available in garden centres now. In the business we use a mechanical spreader for this task because we’re generally covering large areas, but the quickest and easiest way to do it, is to use a feed applied with a watering can. Follow the manufactures guidelines for the correct dilution and within a few days the lawn will have taken on a lush green appearance.
Get your lawn mower serviced, if you haven’t already. There’s nothing worse than trying to cut a lawn with a blunt mower. The grass rather than being cut cleanly, is more likely to be torn with a blunt blade, which harms the grass.
Once the grass starts to grow, start mowing regularly. For the first few cuts set the blades at the highest setting. Collect the clippings so the air and rain can penetrate the grass.
Repair damage to lawn edges. Cut out the entire damaged portion of turf and turn it around so the good side now becomes the edge. Fill the hollow edge with soil and sow grass seed onto this. You can seed any other damaged areas in the middle of the lawn in exactly the same way all through the summer.
Lawn Care- how to areate
If your soil was packed down by snow and foot traffic over the winter, it’s going to be hard for the roots to get necessary nutrients and grow, in which case, you’ll need to aerate the lawn. Lawn aeration opens up compacted soil so moisture and oxygen can reach grass roots, which results in a healthier lawn. Although special core aerators, which remove plugs of soil, work best, a pitchfork can can also be used. Hold the pitchfork with the tines perpendicular to the lawn and push their full length straight into the ground. When you’ve covered the affected area, sweep in some sharp sand to assist drainage. Aerate only when the grass is actively growing and not dormant for the season.
With the warmer weather, grass seed should germinate quickly in spring. After digging over the ground, level off the soil and rake down to a thin tilth. Firm the soil well by walking over the prepared area, rake again and tread again in a different direction, finally raking it level and sow the seed according to the instructions on the packet.
If you want an ‘instant’ lawn, use cut turf available in garden centres or order in bulk from a reputable supplier for delivery.
Watch our video showing exactly how to lay a new lawn here:
Lawn care – garden maintenance with dogs
I’m constantly fighting a loosing battle with the brown patches that keep appearing on my lawn. The culprit is Darcy our dog. Though dogs can rip a lawn to shreds when playing the main cause of lawn damage comes from their urine.
There is an element of truth in the old wives tale that bitch urine is more harmful. The reason being that whereas Darcy squats and deposits her urine in one large dose, Toby, our male black lab, goes round spraying a bit here and a bit there to mark his territory from enemy invasion. So the brown patches on my lawn aren’t Toby’s!
The best way of controlling this problem, is to pour water on the patch immediately after the dog has squatted, or make sure that the grass is kept well watered with a sprinkler in high summer.
It also helps if you keep the lawn as healthy as possible by feeding every spring and autumn and mowing weekly. The best way to have a wonderful lawn is to mow regularly.