A beautiful lawn is one of the most desired features in gardens all around the world. With a little care and a lot of love, you can ensure a lush green lawn that will be the envy of the neighbourhood. We have gathered five useful tips to help you in your quest for the perfect lawn.
Regular cutting is key to a thick lush green lawn, trimming a little more often is far better than trimming a lot less often. As a rule of thumb try to keep the lawn around 3-5 centimetres in length, in the middle of summer you might want to keep it a little longer to help it better withstand periods of drought. Keeping your grass blades a little longer not only feels great underfoot but also helps to protect the roots and maximise photosynthesis.
In the warmer months of spring and summer you can remove the catcher from the lawnmower and mow in mulching mode, provided you are trimming a little more often, as the cuttings will fall to the ground and quickly break down returning valuable nutrients to the soil.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to vary the direction in which you mow from week to week to allow the grass to stand tall and straight. Robotic lawnmowers are ideal for the maintenance of a healthy lawn. They mow little and often, they mulch regularly and mow in a random pattern.
To look their best, lawns need essential nutrients and this is achieved through regular feeding. Depending on the type of lawn, we recommend feeding your lawn every four to five weeks during spring and summer.
For each kilo of clippings you remove from the lawn you also remove around 30 grams of nitrogen, 20 grams of potassium and 10 grams of phosphorous; these essential nutrients need to be replaced. Nitrogen helps to promote greening, potassium helps the lawn to cope with drought and phosphorous stimulates root growth to help with water uptake.
There are a number of great products available specially formulated for lawns, ensure you select one suited to your lawn type and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to correctly feed your lawn. To make life even easier, we also recommend using a spreader to apply the fertiliser as this not only ensures an accurate dose, it also keeps your hands clean and safe.
To maintain a lush green lawn all summer long watering is essential, how often and how much water depends on your lawn type and local weather conditions.
A lawn that is well maintained requires less water as it has a strong root system and can naturally capture water and use it efficiently. When your grass is in need of water it will begin to look dull and the older blades may start to curl up and wilt. Water early in the morning before the heat of the midday sun, this also prevents the grass from sitting wet overnight. If you have just planted a new lawn it will certainly need watering every day to ensure a solid root system is established.
There are a number of products available to make watering your lawn simple and even automatic, including water computers, timers, sprinklers and complete irrigation systems.
4. Weed control
A thick, lush lawn naturally prevents weeds from taking hold as there simply is no space for them to pop up. Many weeds can be manually removed, which is best done after rain or watering as the soil is looser and you’re more likely to pull up the whole weed.
With persistence and using the right technique the battle against weeds in your lawn might actually be won. A lot of weeds can be removed using mechanical means. Smaller weeds (veronicas or white clover) should be removed with a manual scarifier, used often in order to disturb them and preventing growth.
Daisies and dandelions should be removed with a root weeder and it’s very important to get as much of the root as possible in order to prevent the regrowth. If all attempts fail, you will have to consider herbicides. In the worst-case scenario when the weeds have completely taken over the grass, the re-structuring of the entire soil and covering it with rolled turf is the best solution.
5. Scarifying and aeration
Scarifying or raking your lawn is an important task and best performed when weather conditions will assist the lawn to fully recover. Spring or autumn are the best times as they generally offer warmth, sun and rain but are not too hot or too cold.
Performed once or twice a year scarifying helps to improve the fresh air supply to your lawns root system. It also allows more light to reach the lower parts of the grass and provides better access for fertilisers to reach the roots. It is best to bring the grass height down gradually a week or two prior to scarifying as this will reduce damage to the grass blades. Vigorously rake the lawn to remove dead grass, leaves and thatch (a layer of living and dead roots, stems and shoots that develops between the soil and the green grass blades). Keep in mind that modern lawn varieties generally don’t develop heavy thatch, unlike older varieties such as couch. A thin layer of thatch can help to protect your lawn against extreme temperatures, however any more than ½ an inch and your lawn is likely to suffer. Only scarify if it is really needed.
Aerating your lawn is another important task as it helps to separate the blades of grass and further improve the air supply to the root system. To aerate your lawn, simply drive a garden fork into the soil (around 50mm in depth) and move it back and forth a few times. Repeat this across the whole lawn, roughly every 100mm or so. To make this task a little easier, especially for large lawns, hire an aerator that you can simply roll over the lawn.