It’s very easy to take the lawn for granted. I do. I walk all over it when it’s wet, I let the children play on it in all weathers, I let the dogs run, play and skid. I neglect the edges if I don’t fancy being outside or I get busy doing other things. And then when I invite everybody to mine for the baby’s christening party, I look in horror at the poor pale grass plants, the baldy bits and the weeds and I wish I’d worked just a bit harder instead of reading that novel.
All is not lost. If you start now, at the beginning of the growing season, your work will pay dividends in the summer.
Step 1:Repair the damage done by waterlogging and/or compaction
Once the lawn is reasonably, one big job will make one enormous difference to the plants. Aeration. It’s all about letting the roots breath. Creating air spaces in soil where water and/or heavy traffic has driven the oxygen out from between the soil particles.
Some gardeners will suggest using a garden fork to make deep holes all over the lawn. Don’t. All that does is squish the soil at the edge of each hole. Instead, invest in a hand-held aerating tool or hire a powered aerator for the day. These actually remove plugs of soil and make “useful” holes that actually serve their purpose.
If you feel energetic, you can follow up with a layer of topdressing. Brush it into the holes to get nutrients right down to the roots.
Step 2: Take out the rubbish
Scarifying is like a deep clean for the top of your lawn. If you have a problem with moss, treat that first with some sulphate of iron. Once the moss is dead, give the whole lawn a really thorough raking. Use a springtine rake and really get in deep. You need to take out all of the dead moss, any dead leaves, thatch and rubbish.
Excellent exercise for your shoulders, biceps, triceps, heart and lungs! It does make a temporary mess though.
Follow up with feeding and seeding so that the plants can recover.
Step 3: Overseed any bare patches
Just scuff up the surface of the soil and sprinkle on some grass seed. Couldn’t be simpler. You might need to keep the birds at bay for a couple of weeks. It’s easily done by putting sticks in the ground, tying string between them and then fixing some old CD’s or some strips of tinfoil on to the string so they twist in the wind and glint in the sunlight.
Step 4: Feed the grass
If it’s the only job you choose to do from this list, you MUST feed your lawn in early springtime. Vivid Green is a good value-for-money lawn food. It doesn’t take long to apply and you’ll see a difference within days. The grass will be greener, healthier and it’ll bounce back quicker after mowing.
To buy Vivid Green fertiliser click here.
For hints and tips on dealing with moss please click here.
More about coping with a waterlogged lawn click here.