Lawns and grassed areas are one of the most commonplace features of many gardens in the UK. They are used for a variety of purposes, both decorative and as a place of entertainment and relaxation and must, as a result, therefore fulfill a number of differing roles.
This article shall deal exclusively with creating a family friendly lawn - as few people reading this will be interested in creating pristine bowling greens in their back yards! This style of grass will entail a hard wearing grass seed and a lack of broad leaved weeds in order to foster the best growth in the season, able to cope with the stresses of both the party and football demands placed upon it. Garden centers will sell a range of suitable grasses, be sure to check the packaging for an indication of the hard-wearing nature of the enclosed grass seed or, for a quicker start to your developing lawn, choose a good quality turf instead from a reputable supplier.
Turfs and seed should be laid on a soft bed of earth, lightly compacted, and free from weeds, stones and debris. Never, stand on areas recently turfed or seeded for at least 2 weeks (even longer in the case of newly sprouting grass seed) and always incorporate a good amount of multi-purpose compost when laying the grass. Watering is the key to a green lawn, not chemicals. Garden centers will charge the earth for “quick fix” solutions to yellowing lawns, however, have you even seen anyone adding swathes of chemicals to your local park? That grass remains chemical free and yet is still green! Water your newly developing lawn almost every day, ensuring that it NEVER dries out. Dry grass is dead grass... It might be prudent to ensure that you have access to a hosepipe in these early days, as other wise you will soon tire of watering it properly.
Maintenance of a lawn, will involve three main tasks; Weeding, Scarifying and Aerating. Weeding is best done with a sharp knife, inserted next to the weed (often dandelions) and then extracting the weed from the lawn and firming over the small hole. Broad leaved weeds kill grass in huge patches so remove weeds while they are young and keep on top of things to reduce your workload. The roots will be smaller too using this method. Scarifying, requires a special scarifying tool, a leaf rake will do the job by hand. Hand scarifying is extremely tiring but good exercise.
You will need to firmly rake the established lawn (do not do this on young lawns!!) in order to rake the moss and dead growth from the lawn. This will allow new growth and light to permeate the base of the turf. You will be surprised at how much comes out! Do this every couple of months to ensure a clean green lawn. Finally, aerating a lawn involves spiking small holes all over it, in order to allow air into the root system and a better drainage system into the earth too – especially as lawns can easily become compacted and puddle in heavy rain. This aerating can be achieved by using a special aerating tool, or by simply using a garden fork and regularly spiking the entire lawn at 6inch intervals all across it.
None of these methods are quick fixes and all are time consuming and hard work, however, they are small steps on a path to an immensely satisfying and healthy garden lawn – good luck.
Article by Kevin Thornes
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