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Home » Lawn Care » Lawn Care and Maintenance

Lawn Care and Maintenance

Mowing the lawn.

Lawn MowingLawn mowing begins in March and continues through to October. The lawn can also be given a light cut during milder periods in winter. At the beginning and end of the growing season, cut the lawn once a week. During the summer, cut twice a week. If the event of a dry spell, reduce the cutting to once a week.
If the lawn is allowed to get out of hand, reduce the long grass gradually over 2 or 3 cuts.
The cutting height depends on many factors such as the variety of grass and time of year, as a general guide, a height of just over an inch is the norm for a utility lawn during the summer.

Grass clippings.

Many people advise leaving the grass clippings on the turf to retain moisture and return nutrients to the lawn. This is ok when the weather is warm and dry and the clippings are able to dry out, but when they become damp the turf can become spongy and worm activity can increase. Worm casts cause small bumps in the lawn and provide an ideal place for weeds to take hold. Also, if you have a few weeds on your lawn to start with, spreading the clippings can spread the weeds.

Watering the lawn.

After a week of dry summer weather, it’s time to think about watering your lawn. You can tell when the turf needs water, firstly it starts to lose it’s springiness, then the bright green colour of the grass will start to dull. It’s important to water as soon as you notice these telltale signs as it won’t be long before the grass begins to turn light brown. Lawn weedsIn addition, some weeds are more drought resistant than grass and will begin to spread. Regardless of how dry the lawn gets - even if it turns brown - it will survive and recover, but it won’t look good and any weeds may have spread in the process.

Depending on the soil type, it may be necessary to spike the lawn prior to watering. Check to see if the soil is baked hard. As a general guide, give the lawn an inch a water for each dry week. Place a cup on the lawn within range of the sprinkler and run the water until the water in the cup is an inch deep. This will give you an idea of how long to run the sprinkler in each area of the lawn. Don’t water too regularly; once a week during a dry spell is sufficient.

Lawn raking and scarifying.

Gentle raking during spring helps to break up thatch and lifts the grass in preparation for mowing. Thatch (also called a mat) is a fibrous layer of dead matted grass on the surface of the soil. When thatch becomes more than an inch thick, it reduces water penetration. A metal tine lawn rake can be used gently to break the thatch up. Leave around half an inch of thatch as a thin layer does help prevent water loss and will give the lawn a springy feel.

Scarifying is basically using a rake with more force and is best carried out in the autumn. The purpose of scarification is to remove thatch and other debris from the lawn. When carried out in September, scarification will help encourage the production of side shoots. It also helps to remove moss after the application of a moss killer.

Aerating the lawn.

The purpose of lawn aeration is to allow oxygen and water to penetrate below the surface of the lawn and to allow carbon dioxide to escape. Aeration is achieved by spiking the lawn with a garden fork driven into the surface to a depth of 3-4 inches.

It is only really necessary to spike the lawn if you have heavily trafficked areas such as pathways or play areas, or if you notice water laying on the surface during rains. These areas are likely to suffer from compaction below the surface and will benefit from spiking during September. Use a garden fork or hollow tine aerator and leave 6 inches between the lines of holes.

Pricking is a gentler form of spiking and is carried out during spring and summer. Again, the objective of pricking is to allow water to penetrate the soil. Special pricking tools are available that slice into the lawn surface, pruning the grass roots and promoting growth.

Feeding the lawn.

An attractive lawn requires regular feeding with fertilizer in order to maintain a healthy appearance. In addition to making the grass look greener, lawn fertilizer produces a dense close-knit turf, making it harder for weeds and moss to take hold. See out lawn feeding article for more information.

When choosing a spring lawn feed, make sure you pick one made up mainly of nitrogen. This is the most important element required by the grass and promotes vigorous, green leaves.

The easiest option for lawn feeding is to use a specially made lawn builder or a feed that is designed for a specific time of year, for example, ‘Spring lawn Feed’. Many lawn feeds will also incorporate a weed or moss killer. A drop spreader will help to you apply lawn fertilizer quickly and evenly to a small lawn. If you have a large lawn, you can use a rotary type spreader.

More Lawn Care Tips from Rolawn - The Lawn Experts

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