Most garden, in the UK anyway, have lawns. Some are of course more prefect and would make a wonderful backdrop to a British tea party, others are not much more than dirt patches. Below is a guide to help you create the first scenario and what to do when you end up with option two – the weedy, unsightly dirt patch.
When you have to start right from the beginning, then the best time to establish a new lawn is in early spring and whenever you see a turf symbol on the ‘LWTM life-style calendar’. First dig over the dirt patch and remove all unwanted weeds and stones. Then divide your grass seeds in half and first sprinkle them north to south and the east to west. This will make sure that you get an even coverage and no bald patches. Finally rake the ground over with a big rake and sprinkle a fine layer of compost on. All you need then is to watch for the grass to come up . If the weather is very dry, then add some water, but on the whole it is best to just keep off the grass and let it grow all by itself.
Once the grass has reached a reasonable height, choose a dry day (preferably when you sign the lawn-mower sign in the ‘LWTM life-style calendar’) to do your first cut. Set the blades of your lawnmower quite high, say 4cm (2 in) and finally lower them to the length you want – usually around 3 cm. ( 1 1/2 in).
Lawn care programme in September:
Once your lawn is established it is important to keep it in good shape. The best month for this is September/October and during the Waning Moon.
This procedure will take a bit of time, but will ensure that you have a great lawn.
- Step One: mow the lawn as usual.
- Step Two: Rake out all the moss, weeds and thatch. If you have a medium to large lawn it might be worth hiring a powered lawn raker.
- Step Three: If your lawn is prone to water-logging it is well worth spiking the lawn. It needs to be done every other year. This procedure will ensure that your lawn does not get compacted and that rainwater is free draining. For a big lawn you can hire machinery to do this, but if your lawn is not too big a good old-fashioned garden folk will do this job nicely. Start at one side at the edge and stab the folk into the grounds, making a row of small holes. Then remove the garden folk. Move about 15 cm (4inches) on and repeat the procedure. This is hard work and you may work small areas at a time.
- Step Four: This will be a lot of work the first time you do it. But if you repeat is regularly, it will be rather quick. When you establish a lawn, it is a great idea to put stones around it, so it is easier in the future to edge the lawn. If you have no stone border, you can create an edge by using a garden spade (this should normally be done in early spring). This time of year is more a maintenance work, to keep the edges nice and neat. Perfect edge make all the difference when you want your lawn to look well cared for.
- Step Five: Feed the grass: In September it is important to feed the lawn with a nitrogen-low feed to make it grow less and get it toughened up for the hard winter months to come. Although I recommended anything natural, this is the only ‘over the shelf’ product that is hard to replace with ‘home-made’ equivalents.
- Step Six: Finally top-dress your lawn with a layer of compost. Fill a wheel barrow full of compost and shovel earth onto your grass. It is important not to use too much, as you need to rake it into the grass. It might be better to use less and repeat it more regularly.
If you follow these steps consistently, you will keep a good looking lawn for years to come.
For more information here is an article from the Daily Telegraph about lawn care