To keep a lawn looking good, a regular maintenance regime is required as well as regular mowing, otherwise bare and brown patches can appear, and weeds may start to take root. As you mow the lawn take note of any areas needing attention.
Should I use a fertilizer on
Applying a fertilizer will greatly help the appearance of the lawn and
keep it looking lush and healthy.
Use a dedicated lawn fertilizer rather than a general garden variety. Some lawn fertilizers also contain moss and weedkillers, thus eliminating the need for separate applications. Apply fertilizer twice a year, first in spring-summer, then again in autumn, after you have carried out annual maintenance.
Can I make the grass
Surprisingly, yes. Use a fertilizer that contains iron (Fe) – the packet will list it as a component. Iron does not actually feed grass but will darken the green, making it appear lusher.
What is thatch?
Throughout the growing season, dead material accumulates around individual blades of grass. With the wear and tear a lawn receives, this material compacts down to form a thick layer, which prevents rainfall from penetrating the ground and weakens the grass. The lawn can lose its lush appearance and start to show bare patches. Left untreated, thatch will prevent the grass from growing evenly and make way for weeds. Thatch should be raked off regularly throughout the growing season.
What annual maintenance do I need to carry out on my lawn?
Apart from the regular mowing and raking of the lawn that you do throughout the year, lawns benefit from an autumn maintenance programme comprised of scarifying, spiking and top-dressing.
What is scarifying?
Scarifying is a method of removing thatch that has built up around the blades of grass that will adversely affect drainage if left in place. Scarifying is hard work, so it is best to use a proper scarifying or lawn rake, which has flexible tines arranged like a fan, rather than an ordinary garden rake. Pull the rake all over the lawn in one direction, then again in the other. The thatch can be added to the compost heap.
What is spiking?
Spiking a lawn allows excess water to drain away from the surface rapidly and allows air into the soil, promoting good root growth. Use a garden fork to make holes all over the lawn surface. Alternatively, use a specialized tool that removes long plugs of soil.
What is top-dressing?
Prepare a mixture of lawn sand and garden compost, with added peat substitute or leaf mould if available, and spread this over the lawn. Brush over the lawn so that the mixture fills the spiked holes.
Does a lawn need watering?
As a general rule, no. But you may want to water it during a dry period to improve its appearance.
1: Rake over the lawn with a scarifying rake to remove thatch and other dead material such as leaves from neighbouring plants. Apply a strong even pressure.
2: Make holes in the lawn to improve drainage. Either use a special tool, or spike the lawn using a garden fork. Make the holes approximately 15cm/6in apart.
3: Mix together equal parts lawn sand and garden compost or a peat substitute until evenly combined, then distribute a thin layer over the whole area using a spade, or shaking it from a bucket.
4: Brush over the lawn briskly with a hard outdoor brush so that the top-dressing fills the holes, rather than sitting on top of the grass. If the weather stays dry, lightly water