Lawns: spring into life

Friday, 07 April 2017 | Gardener Expert
Posted in Garden Trader Blog, Gardening Advice

Lawns: spring into life

A dictionary definition of a lawn is quoted as a stretch of open, grass-covered land, especially one closely mowed, as near a house, on an estate, or in a park.
At this time of year, the lawn is actively growing and requires feeding, moss-killing, weeding and regular mowing. Spring is also a suitable time to over-seed sparse areas.
Most if not all domestic homes have a lawn of one shape, form or other, however the quality of their lawn is always determined by three main factors:

- Underlying soil type

- Grass species

- Maintenance regime

The inherent soil you have, will determine how well your lawn will grow, Soil is a mixture of minerals, organic matter, gases, liquids, and countless organisms that together support plant growth.
Your soil type will be determined by the amounts of clay, silt and sand particles found in your soil, hence a clay soil will have predominantly more clay particles, whereas a sandy soil will have a lot of sand particles present, and finally a soil with a balance of all three sand, silt and clay is often classified as a loamy soil.
In simple terms a heavy clay soil, will retain water and often remain wet and soggy during the winter months, whereas a sandy soil is more free draining and often quick to dry out in the summer months. Therefore, a soil that is classified as a loamy soil tends to give you a better growing medium for your lawn.
As for grass selection, this will often be determined by the choice of grasses sown, it is usually a mixture of bent, fescue and rye grasses that are predominantly used in most lawn seed grass mixtures.
However, the biggest influence that affects the quality of your lawn is the amount of regular maintenance work you undertake and the choice of mower.
You will always get a better quality of cut from a cylinder mower compared to a rotary mower, mainly due to the finer tolerances seen on cylinder mowers in terms of heights of cut and the fact you can now get, 5,7, 9, and 11 bladed cylinder mowers.
There is a vast range of domestic and professional mowers now available form Dealers, DIY chains and the Internet. Be sure you research and choose the right mower for your lawn.
In recent years, we have seen the introduction of the battery powered mowers, they are becoming very popular, especially now their battery life has been extended. Having said that, the cutting quality on most new rotary mowers is getting better and tend to be simpler to set up and use.
Ideally you should at least be mowing your lawns on a weekly basis and collecting the cuttings. To achieve a really good lawn this frequency would be increased to twice a week.
Height of cut should be maintained at between 20-35mm dependant on the type of mower and desired presentation required.
To help maintain a healthy lawn we also have to undertake a number of additional tasks on a need must basis, the grass will need a regular feed throughout the growing season using a combination of spring summer and autumn feeds.
Weeds, pest and diseases can be controlled by the use of a range of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides however, there are now a number of dual fertiliser and weed control products on the market.
Finally, it pays to undertake an end of season lawn renovation, usually in September this generally involves carrying out a programme of scarification, aeration, topdressing and overseeding.