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The Forlawn Hope!

The Forlawn Hope!
Posted on 15/04/09 | Posted by The Fat Gardener

Well, after the wonderful March sunshine we have been treated to a wet Easter bank holiday. Despite humanity’s love of hot, sunny days I am sure mild, wet conditions are much favoured by plants. My garden is exploding into life in all areas except one – the lawn.

My house is located in a wooded area and whilst I do not require bowling green fine lawns with equidistant stripes running up and down, it would be nice to have some grass – not just a soft carpet of moss!

This year has been particularly bad as I have treated the lawn with a lawn feed/moss killer which has meant that dark patches of dead moss now predominate. I am hoping however, that by regularly treating the lawn in future I will be able to bring the ratio of grass to moss back to where it should be.

The maintenance of a healthy lawn (if not a show lawn) can be time consuming, but the results of your labour will be a lawn that everyone (including you) can enjoy. Some of the procedures which can go towards creating a great lawn are listed below, if you can manage to do even some of them you will notice the change in a matter of a couple of weeks.

Remove any large weeds. Removing the larger weeds will immediately give your lawn (and your outlook) a lift. I have some wild violets growing in my lawn which I like and I know that many gardeners like daisies and even clover showing through. So use a daisy grubber to remove what you don’t like and leave what you do like.

Aerating the lawn will allow a compacted lawn to spread and encourage new healthy root growth. This can be done very simply with a spiking fork to create small holes in the lawn or an automatic machine that will cut furrows and allow fertilizer or sand to be added.

Dethatching your lawn will remove the thatch of dead grass that builds up under the top of the turf. This will improve the quality of the ‘carpet’ of your lawn promoting new, strong growth. Dethatching can be achieved with a spring tine rake, which effectively removes thatch and moss but is hard work. The other alternative is an electric rake which achieves the same overall effect, but without the effort.

Top dressing, reseeding, and treating your lawn will all help your lawn improve, however it is always hard to distribute the product evenly over your lawn. To broadcast the seed/product consistently, a spreader will be invaluable – especially if you have a large area to cover.

I will be writing about selecting a lawnmower at a later date, but there are some general rules that should be applied to mowing a lawn. I always recommend cutting the lawn a good inch higher than you want it – removing more than a third of the leaf blade can reduce the health and density of your lawn. Do not mow wet grass – this often ‘rips’ the leaf blade and can even pull it out of the ground as well as clogging up your lawnmower.

The use of edging shears will give your lawn a neat and tidy look and reduce the spread of grass onto paths and borders. You will also need some grass shears which will help to trim grass in hard-to-reach areas of the garden as well as around the bottom of ornamental trees (grass should be kept longer here so that it does not die out).

Lastly, investing in a lawn roller will remove bumps and air pockets from your newly restored lawn giving it the flat look of a bowling green or the centre court at Wimbledon!

So don’t let a great lawn become a forlorn hope!

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