space
Sallis Chandler Landscape Designers and Gardeners
spaceDesign and Advice Garden Styles Garden Features Aftercare

Lawns

Regular Maintenance
Lawns have spurts of growth in late spring, early summer and in mild autumn when they will probably need cutting at least once a week. In the height of summer, if the weather is very hot and dry, the lawn should be left reasonably long and cutting should be avoided. However, if an irrigation system is used, the grass will continue to grow throughout and will need cutting accordingly. Avoid excessive wear on the lawn especially when wet and while the turves knit.

Lawn Mowers
If using a cylinder mower please ensure that the blades are sharp and correctly set. Hover mowers are lighter and easier to use and can now be purchased with grass collection boxes if desired. Although they will never achieve a show lawn finish, they carry less risk of mowing unevenly and therefore damaging the lawn.

Mowing
arrow In order to maintain a successful general purpose lawn, grass should never be allowed to grow longer than 6-8cm or cut shorter than 2cm. Cutting should therefore be as frequent as required to maintain this.

arrow Ideally the lawn should be cut when the grass is dry, but it is more important not to let the grass become overgrown especially in the spring, so it may need to be cut even if it is quite wet. Grass cuttings may be composted.

Lawn Care

Seasonal Maintenance

Autumn:
Rake fallen leaves off lawn as soon as possible using springbok or rubber fingered rake.

Leaves left lying on the lawn will adversely affect the quality of the lawn in future years.

Spring:
If the appearance and durability of the lawn is poor in future years it may be necessary to carry out the following:

Spiking, Top Dressing and Feeding
Improvement of the organic content of the soil beneath a lawn is obviously much more difficult than in planted areas. Soil improvement to help increase aeration and drainage is very important.

The lawn should be spiked all over to a depth of 15cm using a garden fork or a mechanical spiker. Ideally this be done after scarifying has removed any thatch.


INITIAL ESTABLISHMENT

The lawn has been turfed with a reliable general-purpose turf, without rye grass, which is capable of producing a durable, good quality lawn without a huge investment in time.

Newly turfed lawn is very vulnerable until turves knit and the root system becomes established. Avoid unnecessary walking and playing on the lawn and do not place garden furniture on it until early summer when it will have settled and become properly established.

We have only lightly firmed the turf in order to maintain good air circulation in the soil to encourage a good root system. As it settles and with the weather and the action of earthworms it may become slightly puffy or uneven in places. If your mower does not have a roller it may be necessary to hire a roller in the summer to correct any irregularities.

A mixture of 50:50 sharp sand and sifted compost (e.g. peat substitute) should be prepared. If the compost is low in nutrients a slow release granular fertilizer can be added to the mixture. This should be spread out to a depth of 2cm over the entire lawn, ensuring that it is worked well into the spiked holes and then levelled and raked over evenly in around the base of the blades of grass. A rubber fingered rake is the best tool for this purpose.

Reseeding

If the lawn has developed bare patches, grass seed can be sprinkled into the top dressing in those places. However, do try to assess why the areas have failed and right the problem so that it does not recur. Bad drainage, poor soil, mower scalping or excessive wear are all possible causes.

NB. Spiking and top dressing are a lot of work but there is no easy alternative to improving the soil and lawn. It does have the advantage that you can improve the soil condition, feed and reseed in one go, which is all that should be needed for the year. Liquid feeds can be used later in the season if required but should not be looked up on as an alternative to spiking and top dressing. We are not enthusiasts of the commonly used granular lawn fertilizers which are difficult to apply successfully, often result in scorching and only offer a short term improvement to lawn quality.

Summer:
Thatch: Lawns mown with a hover mower are particularly susceptible to thatch. This is a combination of prostrate growing grasses and dead and decaying grass cuttings. It reduces light and air circulation and stifles new growth. If the lawn becomes filled with thatch it will need to be scarified. This can be done by hand with a Springbok rake or a mechanical scarifier can be hired. Great care should be taken with mechanical scarifiers as they can easily damage the lawn.

Weeds
If weeds become a nuisance in the lawn they can be dug out with a hand or daisy fork. If necessary applications of broadleaf weed killer in a Weed Gun may be used.

ARTIFICAL TURF


Keep artificial turf raked free of leaves, soil etc. and do not allow other debris to lie on the lawn or build up.

arrow Regularly brush with a stiff broom to encourage pile to stand up.
arrow Periodically, resand with fine sand, by spreading over surface and brushing into pile.
arrow Hot items such as barbeques should not be placed directly onto the surface or damage may occur.
arrow Do not stub cigarettes out on the surface.
arrow Avoid placing or moving heavy objects on the surface, which may cause rutting of the underlying soil.
arrow Snow should be left to melt and chemical de-icers should not be used on the surface.
arrow In damp areas it may be necessary to treat the surface with a moss killer once a year. The suppliers recommend you use a liquid form containing dichlorophen.


New lawn

Spiking the lawn


Trees arrow