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Tidy Turf Tips
Tidy Turf Tips

A few simple tasks carried out at this time of the year can help to prevent this from happening. And before we go any further the lawn mower should be serviced and fitted with sharp blades to begin the new mowing season. Also, never walk on or mow the grass during frosty weather conditions. It will damage the grass possibly killing it - all according to how hard the frost is.

Firstly, spiking and feeding will stimulate a burst of new, healthy growth of fine grasses. This will have the immediate effect of refreshing the overall appearance of the lawn. Spiking or aeration allows oxygen to enter the soil which encourages a healthy root system that is capable of absorbing water and nutrients. Professional greenkeepers use machines to carry out this task but you can get by simply using a garden fork. All you need to do is drive the tines of the fork as far into the soil as possible. If you soil is stony you have to settle for a minimum of half the length of the tines (15cms/6 inches). Gently lever the fork backwards and forwards to enlarge the hole. Remove the fork from the soil, move forwards by 15cms/6inches and repeat the exercise all over the surface of the lawn. If the lawn is too big just concentrate for now on the areas where the soil is most compacted.

After aerating the lawn it is time to give it a spring feed. Use a lawn fertiliser which is high in nitrogen to encourage new growth. Feeding the grass will strengthen and thicken the sward, it also gives it a good fresh green colour and increases its drought resistance. If moss is a problem on your lawn spring feed can be bought with some form of moss control included.

Now the lawn is ready for its mow of the new season. Don’t be tempted to cut too low at this early time of the year. If you attempt to cut the grass low all at once it will look a weak and sickly pale yellow. Think of the first cut as more of a trim. Set the mower blades at their highest cutting position and gently mow the grass. The sward will be higher and thicker in some places; so slowly push the mower across these areas. It may be necessary to use the high cut once or twice more until the finer, shorter grasses begin to grow. This usually happens when the soil temperatures begin to warm up. The longer grass will also act as an insulation blanket protecting the tender young growth from the threat of frost damage.

Cut weekly during the summer and remember that cutting too low weakens the grass and this lets in weeds and moss. A cylinder mower with a box attachment fitted is the best machine to use for stripes and that bowling-green look. But a well maintained rotary mower with sharp new blades fitted for the coming summer will provide a neat finish and appearance. Whichever machine is used the blades should be raised during prolonged periods of dry weather. The longer sward will shade the roots of the grass preventing moisture loss which means there will be no need to waste precious water on the lawn. I have managed lawns that turned straw yellow by the end of September but they always recovered when the autumn rains arrived.

 

 

 

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