How to get and maintain a beautiful lawn
As a nation of garden lovers, there’s nothing we like better than showing off a beautiful lawn! As well as looking great, a well-kept lawn is also good for exercise, picnics and even connecting with nature and walking barefoot! Lawn care and the quest for the perfect lawn can become an obsession but can be very scientific. Apparently, new grass varieties take 15 years to develop before they can be marketed.
At Garden Thyme, grass care goes beyond just a fortnightly cut. Our maintenance and renovation methods ensure beautiful lawns all year round, partly based on science but also a good deal of skill and intuition. Timing and using the right techniques are the key to a successful lawn. Here we give you tips on how to keep a lovely lawn by describing our processes.
When is the best time to apply lawn treatments?
In a typical average year, we would apply a selective herbicide in mid to late Summer to control broad leaved weeds. The weeds have to be growing actively as the herbicide will have limited effect on drought stressed weeds.
It’s not worth applying treatments on the off-chance for various reasons - time, money and environmental considerations. While we go about our business maintaining and improving environments for ourselves, we believe we have a duty of care towards bugs and creepy crawlies as whenever we apply a herbicide there is a risk to them. A fertiliser could be applied a few weeks beforehand to get everything growing. We would recommend steering away from ‘feed and weed’ type fertiliser, as you will have more control applying each element separately ie. a separate feed, weedkiller, and mosskiller.
Next comes moss killer if required. It doesn’t entirely kill the moss, but it does control it. First it turns the moss black, stops it growing and then makes it easier to remove. This is a good step towards your lawn renovation. But you will need rain to wash it into the affected area and to make it active.
What is scarifying?
Scarifying is a mechanical process where you go over the grass with a machine to remove moss, grass, thatch and other debris that has built up. In the sports world, this is an extremely important part of maintaining a playing surface, although undertaken at a considerably more intense level, and with greater regularity than a regular lawn. But even with a simple lawn, using a scarifier will make all the difference. We’ve owned our scarifier for many years, it took some finding, but we knew how good it was as soon as we tried it out. It handles beautifully and requires little maintenance apart from replacing the blades every few years.
When is the best time to scarify a lawn?
The best time to start scarifying is from late September regardless of whether your lawn treatment has been successful or not. Scarifying is sometimes likened to pruning, if you do nothing else to your lawn, scarifying will improve the overall quality. It creates space for the grass to grow by removing debris like grass cuttings and dead moss. The ‘pruning’ effect enables the grass plant to spread more easily.
What do we do with our grass waste?
The grass material we remove is usually pretty heavy partly due to its mineral content. We would much rather do the process on a dry day, however a bit of damp is still acceptable. Scarifying creates an enormous amount of waste material which can look quite alarming, we’ve been known to confuse onlookers who wonder if our mower has broken! We dispose of the waste at a registered green recycling site but you can also compost it if you have the space. Once the scarifying is complete, the lawn is ready for overseeding.
What is overseeding?
Overseeding is the term used by professionals for sowing new seed into an existing lawn.
We use a professional overseeding machine to distribute the seeds, it's simple but very effective and works very hard. We also use carefully selected seed from manufacturers like Barenbrug. Our favourite seed has been specially developed for sites where one aspect gets a lot more sun than the other. We tend to use this seed where there is a lot of shade, and another seed mix where the grass is in an open position and gets a lot of sun. And as a little tip, going over the area with seed in two different directions helps to get a more even distribution. Provided you use fresh seed of excellent quality, you will find that seeding in the Autumn is very reliable.
Once the seed has germinated an Autumn fertiliser can be applied. For best results you need to continue to care for your lawn and repeat the process every year with regular mowing and fertiliser application.
How often should I mow my lawn?
Cutting a lawn regularly helps to keep it healthy and weed free. We recommend cutting at least once every 2 weeks in the Summer and doing a final cut before Winter on a dry day in Autumn.
Want a beautiful lawn for your business or organisation? We offer lawn management as part of our Grounds Maintenance services. Get in touch today to discuss your requirements using our contact form.