We talk about plants and transition seasons a lot on Mr Plant Geek, but what about lawns? After all, taking steps to maintain your lawn correctly at the end of winter can mean an even more beautiful garden in spring.
David Hedges-Gower, today’s guest blogger, is a lawn expert with over 35 years’ experience. He is a regular on BBC Radio and the national horticultural lecture circuit. David owns Lawn Solutions, a company which specialises in turning tired turf into luscious lawns with their annual lawn care programmes.
Lawns and the weather
I’ve always felt that horticulturists are some of the most positive people on the planet.
Why? Well, quite simply, I’ve always thought that they are like boxers (hang on, I’m not losing it already before you ask!)
You see, the weather is our main opponent and boy is it powerful. And every time we get everything in the garden just how we want it, nature often comes along to give us a beating with some form of wind, rain, snow or drought! It knocks us back down, only for us to get straight back up with our positive head on to re-plan the plans that we have just thrown in the bin!
Now you get the boxer bit?
Anyway, coming out of winter is no exception. Our positivity, although present over the winter months, is often contained somewhat, and the coming of spring lets us unleash it!
Sometimes there’s no stopping the positivity!
And it’s now when spring pops its little inspirational head up that we get really excited.
Lawns during winter
Now, I’m no gardener (I’m a lawn expert), but my view is that gardens and plants often get put to bed over winter (correct me if I’m wrong) by being cut back, ready for next year’s growth. However, lawns get far worse a deal.
They’re not cut back. They’re exposed to everything winter can throw at them – and they even get trampled on! What other plants get such a battering?
It’s now in spring that if they get the correct help, lawns will last a full season without too much hassle.
Prepping lawns for spring
Mowing can start to be stepped up. Remember though that mowing is a form of pruning. Done regularly, your lawn grasses will thicken naturally. Mow irregularly and you will lose all that plant growth.
Scarification using a powered blade that cuts through shoots and stolons will allow our natural grasses to re-produce, negating the need for over-seeding in most cases. Use a springbok rake (a gardener’s tool, not a lawn expert’s) and the only benefit you will get is removal of thatch and moss. Pros use machines, as essentially scarification is our second pruning technique – and it’s much easier too!
Yes, we know a springbok can remove material, but a pair of stilettoes can put holes in a lawn and you wouldn’t aerate a lawn with these, would you?!
And what about a garden fork? Once again, this is a garden tool, not a lawn tool. Hollow tine and leave cores open. This will give compaction relief, allowing soils to rejuvenate over many months and stimulate the grass on top. The fork? Well, I could think of a pun, but I’ll leave that to you.
If you have moss, scarify first, BUT, apply a liquid moss killer AFTERWARDS, as you’ll get much better, longer term control.
Then last, add a nice spring feed and allow nature to take over the work for you.
Determining the cause of poor lawns
Of course, it all sounds so simple when it’s written down like this – but believe me, grass is the easiest plant to grow on our planet. It covers a quarter of it! So if your’s is poor, it’s time to look at why. Maybe your tools are to blame? Well, in this case, you may just be right!