Setting up the perfect lawn is an art in itself, taking weeks of careful turfing, application of feed and strategic mowing to encourage a thick and verdant sward. A newly turfed lawn requires diligent attention in the first few weeks to ensure the turf takes root, the grass starts growing and weeds and moss don’t take over. Once you’ve got your lawn looking its best, things get a little easier, but regular work is always required to prevent the return of a patchy, thin and weed-ridden garden. Luckily, all of this can form part of an annual routine of regular lawn upkeep which, if stuck to, makes things considerably easier. General lawn maintenance can be incorporated into an annual plan and involves all the little jobs which both keep the lawn looking healthy and respond to all the little instances of damage which it is likely to become susceptible too. When spread out, a little diligence in keeping up regular maintenance can go a long way. Read on for a few of the most essential tips for lawn care and repair. For the most part, these are best done most regularly in spring and autumn; in winter, very little work is required and in summer, lawn use, and an increased growth rate will encourage a little less attention.
Mowing takes place the whole year round (although very infrequently, if at all, in winter). The main things to consider are average grass height and mowing frequency (both of these will vary). The end of winter is a good time to service your lawnmower and ensure that the blades are sharp and the mechanism working. Mowing in earnest will begin in late February. The trick with mowing is to regulate it to your grass growth rate. As the grass grows faster and thicker, increase the mowing frequency. The same goes for the height to which you cut your grass. Keep it long at first as this will encourage root growth and retain moisture. Gradually cut it shorter as your lawn thickens and the hotter weather increases growth rate and continue until you reach the desired length. In periods of drought or particularly hot weather, letting the grass grow in a little for moisture retention is well worth the lawn looking a little shaggy for a short time. The alternative is browned patches or a build-up of dead grass. After a mowing session, it is a good idea to take a half-moon edging tool and trim back your edges as well.
This does not need to be done particularly often but is vital all the same. A well-drained lawn is not only essential for the removal of excess water, but also for allowing nutrients to reach grassroots (especially important after feeding) and for allowing those roots to spread. Both compacted soil and the presence of weeds and moss can hinder lawn drainage. As such, it is a good idea to scarify and weed your lawn in the spring and autumn and to aerate your lawn in the autumn. You can use a fork or any spiked instrument – there are even special aeration shoes available. Failing to aerate your lawn before winter could result in stagnant pools of water after rainfall, as the lack of drainage coupled with the hardening effect of frost can lead to a nearly impermeable lawn (which can be fatal for grass).
Repairing damaged patches of your lawn is a frequently required measure in the summer months when your lawn will be seeing the most use. The trick here is to ultimately create a “seamless” effect between the repaired patch and the surrounding lawn. Don’t worry about achieving this right away, just apply Patch Magic or Smart Patch (a mixture of seed and fertiliser) and mow over the area as normal.
Create a Lawn Care Calendar**
This article has dealt with the regular tasks which contribute to an effective lawn maintenance regime, but the truth is that the best lawns are kept looking their best by means of a stricter apportioning of garden tasks. There are simply some things which are best down in early spring, others in late summer. Your garden workload is at its most effective when subdivided into months instead of seasons. To achieve this, you’ll need to create a monthly gardening calendar or, to save you the bother, **see ours here.