How to repair your lawn with grass seed
Is your lawn a little bit worse for wear after the winter? In this blog we’re looking at ways to repair your lawn quickly and cheaply with grass seed.
This winter has been particularly hard on Scotland’s lawns. At Stewarts Turf we’re hearing from people whose lawns are bare in patches, have thinning grass and look weak and tired. The problem is worse where the lawn has been walked on a lot and in shadier areas where moss has invaded.
Here’s our guide to repairing your lawn with grass seed
First of all, tackle the cause of any problems
Compaction. If the grass in your lawn is missing or thin where you have been using it over the winter months, the chances are that all of the air pockets have been squeezed out of the soil. We call this compaction and it tends to restrict root growth making the plants weak and unable to cope with wear and tear.
Compaction is relatively easy to cope with. All you need is a hollow tine aerator. You can buy a small, handheld aerator quite cheaply over the internet. For large areas, I’d recommend either renting aerator from your local tool-hire shop or asking a lawn care professional to come along and do the work for you.
Use the aerator to make small holes all over the compacted area and then brush some topdressing into the holes.
Once the compaction has been relieved, use a rake to remove debris and scuff up the surface of the lawn, then sprinkle on some suitable grass seed.
Moss in your lawn?
Where moss has invaded the lawn, the grass will be thin. I’m sorry to say that my own lawn is a prime example of mossiness this year. And now that the sun has come out I’m going to be making an effort to tackle it.
Moss likes damp shade. In my garden it’s growing beside a tall hedge. So over winter I asked my Son to bring his chainsaw and reduce the height of the hedge from 3m to 2m. He also took the lower branches from a mature tree that was casting deep shade over the lawn. If your garden is shaded and you are able to cut back tall vegetation without upsetting the neighbours, your lawn will thank you for it.
First job when repairing a mossy lawn is remove as much moss as possible. A springtine rake will pull the moss out from the grass – moss is a shallow rooted plant. It will come out easily. If like me, your back and shoulders get tired easily when raking, you can rent a professional standard scarifying machine, or you can buy a domestic sized, manual one. I’ve not tried the little one yet, but I have one on order.
With as much moss as possible removed, treat any remaining plants with a proprietary moss killer. My favourite is Iron Sulphate. You might have to scour the garden centres for it but it’s very much cheaper than the branded versions. The Iron gives the grass a good boost too.
Wait a week or so before overseeding the area with a shade tolerant grass seed. You’ll find a good one on the turfonline website.
Where the grass is thin and weak
It’s probably quite hungry. Aerate if you can but definitely apply a spring/summer feed and water it in before overseeding.
Which seed to choose
Oh my goodness there are so many grass seed mixes to choose from out there.
For a family lawn, choose a mix of dwarf perennial ryegrass, fescues and smooth stalked meadow grass. In my experience it gives the best results for durability, texture and appearance.
For lawns where some areas are in shade, Supernova Poa Supina has proven performance. It’s a bit of a mouthful to pronounce so you’ll find it on the market as “shadesman”.
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