Well it certainly has been an interesting start to the growing season, the weather, to put it bluntly has been very poor.
The cold and wet weather have delayed the joys of spring for several weeks; however, we finally have had a couple of warm, dry sunny days at the start of April stimulating a late burst of spring colour. This splash of colour has seemed to come all at once, with a grand showing of crocus, daffodils, tulips, cherry blossom and forsythia putting on a glorious show. As for the lawns, grass growth has been particularly slow, I have only just managed to complete my second round of mowing of the year. This onset of a late spring may have also delayed any opportunity to carry out your spring lawn renovations, however, there is still time to undertake this work. The benefits of a spring lawn renovation are numerous giving you the opportunity to:
· Clean out surface moss and fibre
· Aerate/de-compact the soil
· Topdressing with a sand/soil dressing to maintain surface levels
· Overseed with some new grass seed to repopulate the lawn, sowing at a rate of 35grams M2
· Apply a spring NPK base fertiliser
The benefits of this work will be seen later in the summer, especially if you continue to look after the lawn by carrying out regular mowing, feeding and watering.
Mowing should be carried out at least weekly, using either a cylinder/rotary cutting mower, cutting at a mowing height set at between 30 – 40 mm.
Ideally if you want a respectable manicured lawn, you should be looking to cut between two and three times a week and feeding every 4 - 6 weeks with a spring and summer fertiliser.
As for the rest of the garden it is just a case of keeping it tidy and weed free. Spring pruning will help reshape and induce flowering on certain shrubs and trees, made easy with access to a lot of new pruning tools on offer in most decent garden centres. I quite like the new battery powered loppers and hand pruning tools they are very effective and simple to use.
Talking of battery powered equipment, most well-known manufacturers are now increasing the range of battery powered equipment they have on offer. The ongoing reliability of these tools and the longer battery life is driving a surge in the production of battery powered tools for both the professional and domestic gardening markets.
A recent visit to the Mowershop in West Haddon Warwickshire enabled me the chance to see several new battery powered mowers such as the Mountfield Princess 34li and 38li mowers that cost in the region of £350 and £450. Good value and quite comparable with the cost of petrol engine powered mowers.
I also like the concept of robotic mowers, again a number of manufacturers are now offering a range of robotic mowers to suit different size lawns ranging from 300m2 - 4000m2.
They are now very reliable and clever, having on board GPS technology to monitor their performance and refrain them from wandering off site. Most current models do use a perimeter wire to keep the mower working in its designated lawn area. However, it will not be long before these mowers can detect their working environment using sensors and GPS technology.
In Scotland, Edinburgh Council have been trialling a number of robotic mowers to cut some of their local parks and open spaces, the results have been very encouraging with both the public and council officers pleased with the performance and reliability of these mowers.
The cost of these Robotic mowers varies, based on their size and range of cutting capacity. They generally start at around £500 and move swiftly up to £2500.
For example, the Stihl IMO MI 422 model can cut lawns up to 500m2 and will cost around £1,000 whereas their top of the range IMO MI 6 32 PC that can cut lawns up to 4000m2 will cost around £2300.
The Mowershop sold over thirty robotic mowers last year and is expected to see a rise in their popularity during 2018. I was certainly impressed with the quality of cut I saw on their demo area and for most lawn owners the investment in a Robotic lawn mower will take a lot of the hard work of mowing your lawn and at the same time save you a lot of time and money.