Green Fingers: Top tips for maintaining a green lawn - James Vaughan

James Vaughan

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James Vaughan

Green Fingers: Top tips for maintaining a green lawn - James Vaughan

Nothing beats freshly cut grass

ONE job that we try and keep on top of now is to keep the lawn trimmed and tidy. This is easier said than done ! With work and children -and the weather - it is sometimes difficult to keep on top of the lawn. In addition to cutting the grass there are other lawn-care tasks which need to be performed. This will ensure that your lawn continues to perform and give you much satisfaction going forward. I have listed a few handy hints below that will help you maintain a tidy lawn.

Scarifying

Each time you cut the lawn some blades of grass fall onto the soil. Over time these blades of grass accumulate and form a ‘thatch’. This ‘thatch’ layer is bad for the lawn as it prevents air and sunlight getting to all parts of the grass. The best way to get rid of the debris from the lawn is to scarify the lawn with a springtime rake to remove moss, thatch (dead grass below the living shoots), and any other debris smothering the grass.

If you have a larger lawn you can also purchase or hire a petrol-powered machine for this task. Performing this task will let in much-needed light and oxygen, promoting better growth.

Getting oxygen down into the soil, improving drainage so your lawn doesn't become waterlogged, and reducing compaction can all be achieved by aerating your lawn. To do this, you can either drive a garden fork into patches of your lawn which have particularly poor drainage, working it backwards and forwards to enlarge the holes, which should be at about 15cm intervals. Alternatively, you can use spiked shoes which are made especially for lawn drainage. Once you've made your holes, brush in sharp sand, which will improve drainage and stop the holes from closing up again.

Feeding Lawns

Feed the grass with lawn fertiliser available at most garden centres. This can be done by hand, and follow the instructions to make sure you've added the right quantities before watering it in. If you have a larger lawn you might consider purchasing a ‘walk-behind’ mechanical spreader. This takes less work and time to apply than spreading by hand. Some lawn dressings incorporate a slow-release fertiliser but if this isn't the case, add a little amount of general lawn fertiliser (not containing weed or moss killer) before applying it.Make sure you brush it evenly over the area, or it will become patchy when the fertiliser kicks in. A few weeks later, if your lawn is still patchy, oversow it lightly with a quality lawn seed.

When to Mow

Mowing should certainly not be done when the grass is wet. Wait until the grass is actively growing, when the weather has warmed up. In Ireland the lawn growing season is from around March until September. Outside of these times you may wish to lift the cutting deck on your mower and give a cut- just to take the height out of the lawn. This will help achieve a uniform appearance.

Inspect your lawn mower regularly to ensure the blades are sharp and, if necessary, sharpen or replace the blades.

Contact James by emailing james.vaughan1020@gmail.com