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Grass

A Guide To Lawn Improvement

Naturally, you want your lawn to look its best. But as we all know, poor weather, pets, garden parties and children playing can all take their toll leaving bare patches and damaged areas.

How Can I Improve My Existing Grass?

As the temperatures begin to rise in spring, you may notice your lawn hasn't survived the cold winter quite as well as you'd hoped. But don't despair, as a little tender loving care in early spring can achieve a lush, healthy lawn by summer.

Mowing

Mowing your lawn is one of the most helpful things you can do to maintain a bright and healthy appearance. Mow your lawn fortnightly in spring. Increase to weekly as the summer months approach and the weather gets warmer.

Keeping lawns short and trim helps the roots spread, which is good for regrowth in patchy areas. Regular cutting also minimises the number of weeds that can take hold. Ensure the mower blades are sharp and raise the cutting height during drier spells to help prevent scorching.

Grass Seed

If your existing lawn has dead patches then you'll want to invest in some grass seed to cover them. This is much cheaper and easier than re-turfing the whole lawn.

Before purchasing grass seed, consider what your garden is most used for. A general-purpose seed may suffice but you may see longer-lasting results with hard-wearing seed for heavily used areas or shady area seed for under trees and next to fences.

For best results, tailor your grass seed to the to suit the garden lawn you have

Lawn Edges

Once all of the above is done and your lawn is healthy, green and usable, you may want to further improve its appearance. Neat and tidy edges can transform the appearance of a lawn, giving a polished finish that will show off all the effort you've put in.

Edging produces a clean sharp line between your lawn and beds, borders or pathways. It not only looks sleek, but it also prevents grass from invading and growing between paving slabs or into your flower beds.

The best time to do the bulk of edging work is spring, ready for the warmer weather. Use a half-moon tool to create the edges. If you don't have a great eye for lines you can work along a plank of wood for straight edges or a rope for curved edges. This should give you the basic shape for your lawn and you'll already notice a massive difference. To maintain, simply use long-handled edging shears to trim any blades of grass that hang over when you mow the lawn.

If you'd rather not spend time and effort maintaining edges then you may choose to install plastic or metal edging. These can be fixed into the ground and act as a barrier to prevent grass from spreading into areas you don't want.

How Can I Improve My Neglected Lawn?

Most homeowners are guilty of letting their lawns get a little neglected at some point or other. Sometimes it's due to a hosepipe ban or perhaps something as simple as an extended holiday or life getting in the way of tending the garden.

The good news is that once established, lawns can recover from issues relatively quickly.

Damage Caused by Pets

Pets can wreak havoc on lawns but, of course, they are part of the family and we love to see them running around and playing in the garden. So what's the solution?

If your dog often 'goes' on your lawn then it's likely you'll notice yellow patches of dead grass dotted around. One of the easiest ways to prevent this kind of damage is with water. Adding more water to your dog's routine will reduce the concentration of the urine and help stop it from creating a yellow patch. You can do this by encouraging your pet to drink more or adding water to their food.

Alternatively, you can water the grass after your pet has done their business. Keep a watering can handy and rinse off the area after your dog has 'been'. Picking up poo immediately will also keep your lawn clean and healthy.

Like all garden plants, grass can be ruined by excessive pet urine. Keep water handy to rinse off your lawn whenever your pet 'goes'

Damage Caused by Heavy Use

Everyone wants to enjoy their lawns, whether kicking a ball around with kids, enjoying a picnic or inviting friends round for a party or barbecue. Unfortunately, much of that activity can be detrimental to the lawn.

Soil Compaction

People and pets standing or running around on grass can often cause compacted soil, which is not great for lawns. Compacted soil affects the roots and stops the grass from growing well, resulting in thin or bare patches.

Lawn aeration is a child- and pet-safe way to reduce the damage caused by soil compaction. It allows nutrients, moisture and sunlight to penetrate the soil surface and maintain a healthy root system.

Aerating a lawn is relatively simple and cheap to do. You can buy a rolling aerator or aerating sandals for a quick and easy solution. Alternatively, you can aerate the lawn using a regular garden fork.

Aerate the lawn to let in valuable nutrients for a greener appearance

General Lawn Care Tips

Watering

Like all plants, grass requires water to survive and flourish. Of course, now and again a period of drought hosepipe ban may be put in place, which prevents watering the lawn. However, if you have a dry spell with no watering restrictions then your lawn will benefit from a good drench now and again.

It's best to water the lawn either in the morning or in the evening. This prevents the water from evaporating in the hot sun and helps stop the grass from being burned. Water enough to ensure a decent amount of soil moisture.

For even distribution, you may wish to use a sprinkler rather than a hose.

Water turf during dry spells to help keep it green and healthy

Feeding

Most garden plants benefit from some form of feeding or fertilisation and lawns are no different. As well as fertilising the grass, lawn feed helps minimise the appearance of some weeds and moss, which thrive in poorly nourished ground.

The best time to feed your lawn is soon after mowing. This allows more time for the nutrients to be absorbed before the grass is cut again. If using liquid feed (or if you've used a weed killer at the same time), let it dry before watering. Granulated fertilisers often need to be watered in and this can be done right away.

 

One thing to be aware of when feeding a lawn is the weather forecast. Feeding will be more effective if you let any rainfall dry first. But perhaps more importantly, don't carry out feeding during particularly dry spells. Grass stops growing and can become stressed in long periods of hot weather and feeding during these temperatures can actually do more harm than good. Wait until the weather breaks and feed again a day or two after a rain shower.

Apply lawn feed to the garden soon after mowing for best results

Raking

Raking is a great way to promote a healthier lawn. In spring a rake can be used to get rid of any thatch build-up and remove debris that has appeared over winter. Lightly rake now and again throughout summer, when you just need to remove any grass clippings or weeds. In autumn you should rake regularly to get rid of damp fallen leaves that can damage the lawn and kill the grass. As in spring, a rake also removes any thatch from the lawn and will make for much lighter work in spring.

A good quality rake is a valuable tool for lawn maintenance

Grass is generally robust and if you keep on top of looking after it throughout the year then you should be able to enjoy those picnics, barbecues and play times without any concern for your lawn.

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