Get your lawn in shape for summer!
It’s time to get your lawn in shape for summer!
It has been a punishing winter for most lawns and a drive around the neighbourhood has confirmed my suspicions. I’m not the only one that has a lawn looking rather shabby!
Fortunately this can all be rectified quite quickly and now is the time to get your lawn in shape for summer!
A cut with the mower blades set high will smarten things up a bit. However I’m guessing that like me you will have been mowing throughout another mild winter.
Get the drainage right
All but the fastest draining lawns will be suffering for having been wet for too long. This shows itself as grass that is yellow – or worst still brown in colour!
But this wetness also helps moss to thrive.
So you need to get some air into the soil now by spiking it.
Perhaps for the most severe cases you should remove cores of soil and fill those holes with horticultural sand or fine grit. This provides many tiny pockets of well drained substrate. Heavy rain will drain away and the roots can get the air that they need to thrive.
There are plenty of aids to make this task easier from spiked shoes to petrol driven lawn aerating machines.
Even out the bumps
But what if your lawn is uneven?
Well rolling it will help. This needs to be done when the lawn has dried out enough but not so dry that the roller has no impact.
As with everything in the garden; timing is everything! And rolling is an operation not to hurry. A slow moving heavy roller is going to have more effect than one racing over the surface!
Rolling will even out quite a lot of high spots but those dips need attention too.
They should be filled with a special turf dressing compost or screened and sterilized top soil. Spread it roughly then spread it around evenly with a rake turned upside down. The dressing will be pushed off the high bits but left in the hollows.
Smarten up the edges
Smart lawn edges always has a big impact on the whole garden.
If you don’t already have edge support strips installed, this is a good time to do it.
But with a taught string as a guide, cutting the edges with an edging iron can really have a huge impact. I always prefer self-cleaning stainless steel edging irons.
Rectify the hunger
With so much rain this winter many of the major nutrients have been literally washed down the drain. Now is the time to replace those.
Spring lawn feeds will have high nitrogen content and that quickly brings the colour back. If you have no weeds or moss in your lawn – lucky you! That means you need only apply the fertilizer.
Soil pH is important for all garden plants. I have no room for that here but you can read my soils pH blog here.
Get rid of those weeds
Most of us will be trying to control the weeds and get rid of the moss! Both of these can be controlled at the same time as feed is applied with a combined application.
But this may not be enough to control those difficult to control weeds that inevitably build up over time.
So my advice would be to knock them back now with the combined weed feed and moss killer. Then follow up with a specific selective weedkiller that is applied separately and on its own.
Several applications may be needed and weeds certainly are more easily killed if they are growing strongly.
Of course, you may wish to leave all or part of your lawn to have a mix of wildflowers [weeds] as I have. This is very beneficial to wildlife and insect life in particular.
To control moss on lawns I recommend that you try M O Bacter moss control. This is a bacterial and therefore a non-chemical control method.
I’ve had good results with M O Bacter for many years. What I especially like is that there is no need to rake out the dead moss when it is dead. It seems that the product simply eats the moss and it disappears!
Note; whilst M O Bacter was the first to market this Belgian product other manufacturers are now catching up and have their own brands too. It seems that Belgians make more than great beer and chocolates!
Perhaps your lawn is beyond redemption and you need to start afresh?
Well now is the time to do it! Get on with the soil preparation and lay turf or sow seed as soon as you can and that will get your lawn in shape again!
Thicken it up
But established lawns also benefit from regular over-seeding.
This is the scattering of new grass seed over the lawn. It provides young vigorous new grass plants to fill in those patchy areas and creates a thick and healthy lawn. Bulk up the seed by mixing it with turf dressing compost or screened top soil.
There’s no denying that a neat green lawn sets a garden off well and with a bit of effort now, I’m sure that yours will soon look great again!
So get out there and get your lawn in shape for a great summer!