Printer Friendly

Grass roots support; There's still time to give your lawn a spring boost to help it survive the worst of the weather, says Hannah Stephenson.

Byline: Hannah Stephenson

GARDENERS who didn't want to venture out in the freezing weather at the beginning of the month may now be looking at a moss-ridden, lumpy lawn with scatterings of bald patches, a world away from the velvet carpet of grass they desire. But there's still time to give your lawn a boost, even if it might look a bit forlorn now, or consider re-seeding or turfing if you think it's beyond hope. If you have loads of moss, it's worthwhile applying a moss killer before you scarify, and wait a few days before raking it up. Improve badly draining soil by aerating the lawn, driving a garden fork into the ground all over the lawn when it is moist, making holes to a depth of 10-15cm (4-6in).

I once bought a pair of lawn-aerating shoes, but they kept falling off so I went back to the old faithful fork. Others use hollow-tine lawn aerators which remove plugs of soil from the ground, but they are hard work and aren't very good on stony soils or heavy, dry soils. The holes you make allow air and water to get into the grass roots and should then be filled with sharp sand and organic soil conditioner to stop the holes from closing up. If the soil is heavy and air is forced out due to excessive rain, spread a large bucketful of sharp sand per square metre over the surface, working it into the holes with the back of a rake. Feed the grass with lawn fertiliser available at most garden centres.

This can be done by hand, applying approximately two grams per square metre, and water it in. All lawns need good drainage and oxygenation, so scarify it with a spring tine rake to remove thatch - dead grass that mats beneath growing grass - and moss. For larger lawns, it's worth renting a petrol-driven lawn scarifier to do the same job. Some lawn dressings incorporate a slow-release fertiliser but if this isn't the case, add a little amount of general lawn fertiliser (not There is still time to get your lawn looking lovely containing weed or moss killer) before applying it. Brush it evenly over the area or it will become patchy when the fertiliser kicks in.

A few weeks later, if your lawn is still patchy, oversow it lightiy with a quality lawn seed. Once it's ready to cut, make your first few cuts, keeping the blades set quite high. If your grass is already long, give it a few cuts over a number of weeks, lowering the blades a little at a time, so that you cut the grass length down gradually. By summer, you should be mowing weekly, stepping up to twice a week when necessary, but don't mow the grass shorter than 2.5cm (lin) high and keep on top of weeds in the lawn. Of course, in the unlikely event that we have a sustained period of warmth in the summer, go easy on the mowing and don't worry about letting the grass go brown because it will recover. When you mow during drought, leave the cuttings on the lawn to stop the roots drying out and help keep in the moisture. Continue to feed the lawn monthly through the summer, then you can apply a high-potash fertiliser in the autumn to keep the grass in good condition in the cooler months.


There is still time to get your lawn looking lovely

Turfing is an option if you think your lawn is beyond hope
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 20, 2013
Previous Article:OFTEN featured as a stand-alone [...]; FLORAL BORDER.
Next Article:Subaru XV 2.0D SE Lux Premium.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters