Lawn Care Advice From The Experts
General Lawn Care Advice
The best lawn care advice that I can give you to make your lawn look really attractive, is to be aware that there are various things which can be done and take time to do them. One of these is to finish the edges off really well. I like to see them neatly trimmed – it makes all the difference between a first-class and an average lawn. If this is done fairly frequently before the grass gets too long, there is no need to pick up the clippings as they will soon wither and mix with the. In some cases they can be cut at the same time as the lawn is mown. If the lawn is edged by a paved path the mower can be run partly along the path or, where there is a flower border at the side of the lawn, the mower can be used along the border’s edge so that it projects over it by a few inches; but do not let it overhang too much, otherwise it will overbalance, and make sure that the edges are firm and have not been undermined by moles.
Where it is not possible to use a mower, there are various satisfactory tools that can be used for edging – the standard long-handled side shears, clippers mounted on wheels, also with a long handle, and edging tools which will tidy up crumbling edges, such as the half-moon edging iron, the spiked edging iron which is pushed along the edge and rotates as it goes, and a rectangular cutting iron mounted at an angle on a long handle.
To save time, an alternative to these is to use one of the chemical growth retardants for the grass, which is mixed with water and sprayed on to the edges. It is not really a good idea to use these on the whole of the lawn, where the grass is fine, and the appearance important, but where only a narrow strip is in question, this will keep the grass short and, incidentally, prevent it creeping on to flower beds.
Lawn Care Advice for Removing Bumps and Hollows
Another small attention which much improves the appearance of a lawn is the removal of bumps and hollows. This should not be done by rolling – this will only bring different and much worse difficulties – but by the following method, which is just as quick:
Cut the turf in the shape of a capital H over the bump or hollow, roll back the two flaps of turf so formed, and add or remove soil as required until that part of the lawn is at the same level as the rest. Then put the flaps back in position and dress the cuts with sand or a topdressing mixture.
Lawn Care Advice for Removing Autumn Leaves
Another important point for autumn care is the removal of leaves. Letting them lie on the grass until the wind blows them away may mean the grass being covered for several weeks so that it turns yellow and becomes thin and straggly; worms and other pests congregate under the leaves and the final result is a very nasty patch of grass. Sweep the leaves up frequently, either with a besom broom or with a mechanical leaf sweeper, if the area to be swept justifies such a mechanical aid.
Alternatively, use a wire-tined rake or a garden rake for this job.
Lawn Care Advice for Renovating Jobs
When the edges of the lawn get broken, as inevitably they do, especially when there are children in the family, treatment with an edging iron may suffice, but if the breaks are deep the only thing to do is to lift a strip along the damaged edge and turn it round. The broken edges will then be on the inside and the holes can be filled with soil and re-seeded in the spring. The first part of this operation can be done at a slack time in winter, if so desired.
Another common trouble is bare patches caused by excessive wear. An easy way to eliminate these is to prick over the surface with a fork in September to a depth of about 2 inches to loosen the soil and then sprinkle some high-quality grass seed over the area. Cover the seed with a little fine soil, give a light dressing of fertiliser and the patches will disappear. Do not mow these areas, though, until the grass is well-established. The more traditional way of doing this job is to remove all the grass from such areas and either lay new turves or sow the whole area again. It is not usually necessary to go to such trouble.
Lawn Care Advice for Topdressing
It is often not realised what topdressing is, in relation to, nor at what time of the year it should be carried out. It is thought to refer to fertiliser treatment or sometimes to lawns and, but in fact it consists of putting on the turf a mixture of loam, peat and sand (or of leaf-mould, dried sludge, or well-rotted farmyard manure, mixed with or substituted for the other ingredients) in the spring or autumn to improve the structure of the top few inches of soil gradually over the years, and to prevent it deteriorating, or becoming short of humus-forming material.
It also provides a good basis for new grass shoots to root into, and helps to fill in the minor hollows.
A suitable general mixture for the average soil could consist of 4 parts loam, 2 parts sand, and 1 part granulated peat. The loam should be put through a ¼ inch sieve, and the sand should be coarse river sand. Mix all these together thoroughly and then apply the mixture dry at 2 lb per square metre, as evenly as possible. After application, work it into the surface with a stiff broom, or the back of a rake; it will smother the grass if left on the surface and do more harm than good.
If lawns on sandy soils are being treated, the quantity of peat in the mixture can be doubled, and the sand halved; where clay soils are involved use a mixture of 2 parts loam, 4 parts sand, and 1 part peat. In every case the parts are by volume. One topdressing a year is usually enough. Sand alone can be used as a topdressing where the soil is particularly heavy, of a particle size of 1/32 in. to 1/16 in., spread over the grass in a thin, even layer.
As a rough guide 3lb per square metre may be put on, and worked well into the surface.