Lawn Maintenance Tips
Ever wondered why the grass is greener over your neighbour’s fence? The perfect lawn needs love and attention, and of course the right lawn equipment to help with its maintenance. Below are some of the vital lawn maintenance tasks a gardener must make part of their gardening calendar if they want the perfect lawn.
When mowing your lawn it's best to stick to the ‘third off’ rule; if your grass is 3 inches tall set your lawnmower to 2 inches. Never taking more than this off will ensure that your lawn retains its bounce. Try to mow your lawn as frequently as possible; and always make sure the blades of your lawnmower are sharp, get them sharpened at least once a year. You need to mow when it's relatively dry as mowing a wet lawn will give you bald patches. A really good piece of lawn equipment is a cylinder mower as it gives that close cut, stripey effect. The rear rollers on cylinder mowers also save you the job of rolling later. If you have a regular lawnmower you'll have to invest in another piece of lawn equipment, a garden roller, to keep your lawn perfectly flat and smooth.
When tidying lawn edges many people simply use a standard trimmer, however if you're after perfectly manicured edges, a trimmer with and edger attachment is an invaluable piece of lawn equipment. If you have one of these you can simply wheel it along the edge of your lawn to create a perfectly straight line. If you don't have a trimmer then unfortunately you'll have to use shears . These are time consuming, backbreaking and, unless you're highly skilful, will only give you mediocre results. Try to stay on top of the edges by going over them around once a week, even if you aren't mowing your lawn.
Don't overwater your lawn. Even during a drought you should only water your lawn around once a week. It's best to water well and infrequently. Watering too often will make your grass disease prone. The best piece of lawn equipment for watering is a sprinkler as you can set it to light for around half an hour however if you're not lucky enough to own a sprinkler use a hose pipe with a fine attachment.
When fertilising be careful not to use too much as it will only force your lawn to grow quicker. Fertilise several times over the course of the year, most importantly in spring and autumn. In spring, fertilising will give roots a boost and help them to grow deeper before the warm weather. In autumn, after scarifying and aerating, fertilising will help grass to fight off disease and weeds. Your garden centre should stock different fertilisers for the different seasons - some containing less nitrogen.
Whilst the best lawns are organic, you may need to use weed killer if your lawn suffers from daisies or clover. These carpeting weeds can be hard to remove without having to scarify your whole lawn. If you do need to use weed killer it is vital you follow the instructions on the packet. Using only slightly too much could result in a bald patch where grass has been unable to grow. Many gardeners say to only apply weed killer in the spring or summer. However, as long as it says it's ok to do so, on the packet, I say apply whenever the weed problem arises. When applying your killer, do so during a dry patch as rain will simply wash it away. Also be careful not to splash nearby plants, you don't want them dying too. After tackling the problem, leave the grass for a week or so before mowing to ensure the killer has had time to soak down to the roots of the weed. If your weeds are persistent it may be better to re sow your whole lawn than to keep applying weed killer as it' not an ideal solution being highly harmful to the environment.
Repairing is a really important part of lawn maintenance. The best time to repair your lawn is in the autumn. Scarifying and aerating your lawn once or twice a year should stop any bald patches appearing. If you do have bald patches you'll need to remove any weeds, wash the soil, and work in a mixture of well-rotted manure and compost. Then aerate by create holes with a fork all over the patch. Once the patch is prepared, lightly sprinkle your grass seed onto the patch with a spade then brush over the patch so that the seeds go down the holes. You can then apply a layer of top dressing soil which you can buy ready made up from your local garden centre. It is better to use this as regular compost can contain weed seeds. Apply this lightly with a sieve to remove any lumps. If you need to repair large patches of lawn, it may be worth investing in some professional lawn equipment. Avoid mowing the repaired patch for the first few weeks whilst all the seeds germinate, and only water very lightly so that seeds aren't washed from spots.
By sticking to this six lawn maintenance tips you can have a lawn to be proud of the whole year round.