There are millions of lawns in the UK serving many different purposes. Yet the bulk of British lawns just exist, without any attention whatsoever other than a mow now and again. With just a little tender loving care begun in spring the lawn can look really good for the whole of the year.
Giving the lawn a good rake (scarifying) will remove dead material and encourage the grass to thicken by developing runners and side shoots.
Many lawns have some areas that have become compacted. They may be high traffic areas (the route to the washing line) or dips and hollows. They are often indicated by puddling after rain. Air needs to be introduced to the soil in these areas to penetrate to the roots of the grass and assist the water to get down into the soil. A garden fork or hollow tine fork (which removes cores of soil) will do the job or a mechanical spiker can be hired if the problem is extensive.
For the first few cuts of the year set the mower blades to their highest setting to avoid scalping the lawn. Later in the season the blades can be lowered but the trend these days is to avoid cutting the grass too short in order to help it withstand dry spells.
A problem for many gardeners especially after prolonged wet weather. Where moss is more than an irritation it is a good idea to apply a dedicated moss killer. These usually contain ferrous sulphate to deal with the moss together with some nitrogen content to fertilise the lawn.
If the level of moss penetration is not too severe a combined feed, weed and moss killer is the ideal product, a weed killer is included together with a moss killer and nitrogen. By mid April the lawn and the broad leafed weeds are in active growth so it is a good time to treat them. Lawn weed killers are selective in that they only attack the broad-leafed weeds and not the grasses. The use of ordinary weed killer on the lawn could be disasterous.
After applying a feed and weed treatment the lawn will soon take on a richer greener colour. The moss turns black as it dies and needs to be raked up. Following treatment the weeds tend to grow quickly at first before effectively burning themselves out in about three to five weeks.
Granular lawn treatments can be applied by hand or by spreader, avoid over application and always use in strict accordance with the instructions. Ferrous
sulphate can stain clothes and paving slabs.
Later in the season the lawn can be kept in top condition by further feeding which will help to keep it looking green and healthy and assist it in withstanding dry spells.