A LOVELY green lawn is more than just an attractive asset – it is a triumph of hard work, careful nurturing and lashings of love and attention.
Despite their best efforts, most gardeners still despair at the state of their lawns. There’s too much moss, to many weeds, it’s dry and patchy or so soggy you daren’t set foot on it.
A beautiful lawn may seem a dream, but for most of us there is no reason why it shouldn’t become a reality.
The easiest route to a great lawn is to start from scratch.
High quality seeds and careful preparation of the soil can create an excellent lawn ready for rough and tumble within six months.
A more expensive but quicker alternative is to lay good quality turf, which should knit together to provide a lawn you can walk on within a few weeks.
Choice of grass is important and depends on how you plan to use the lawn. All seed mixtures are made up of different grasses with different qualities – and the blend determines the type of lawn you get.
A mixture containing modern ryegrass will be hardwearing and quick to establish, ideal for heavy and frequent use.
Non-ryegrass mixtures are for luxury lawns that will not be used much. They create a beautiful bowling green appearance – although they are slower to grow, taking up to three weeks to germinate.
The best time to sow a new lawn is during the early autumn or mid-spring,when it is damp.
The ground should be prepared well in advance. First dig it over, removing any large stones using a rake to level the surface and crumble the soil. Gently trample on the surface to make it firm, then leave for several weeks so weeds can be removed as they appear.
Pre-sowing fertiliser should be spread a few days before the seed – and once the seed is sown it should be gently raked over and left to germinate. If it does not rain, the soil may need to be kept moist by gentle watering.
If planting a new lawn is not practical, a little work will soon bring an existing one up to scratch. All lawns need mowing once a week during the growing season and the edges should be trimmed at the same time.
A hover mower is ideal for a lawn with awkward corners or slopes – while a good roller mower will give an excellent striped finish.
Regular feeding is important, particularly if a lawn needs rejuvenating. Even a healthy one needs high-nitrogen lawn fertiliser at least twice a year to help it withstand wear, tear and dry spells.
LAWN CALENDAR CHECKLIST
January-February: Keep off the grass. Walking on frozen or waterlogged lawns will cause damage – although leaves should be raked up if it is dry
March: Lightly rake to remove dead grass and leaves. Apply moss killer if needed and lightly cut if the grass has started growing
April: If the grass is growing apply fertiliser and weedkiller. Begin regular mowing to about an inch
June-August: If the weather is dry, consider watering and raise the height of the mower
September: Reduce the frequency of mowing and raise the cutting height. Aerate the lawn by spiking, apply fertiliser and carry out any repairs to damaged areas.
October: Continue mowing until the end of the month. Apply autumn fertilisers
November-December: Keep clear of leaves – otherwise relax
See full story in the Leader