17/03/2014

Getting a green lawn

Achieving a green lawn requires three main elements; regular maintenance, regular mowing and fertilisation. Each is just as important as the last and doesn’t require hours of backbreaking hard work!

Regular maintenance 

Around mid-March to early April aerate your lawn. This will loosen compacted soil and allow more oxygen to reach the grass roots and microbes in the soil which is required for grass growth. This will also help improve the drainage of your lawn when it rains. 

Aerating your lawn can be done using a standard garden fork by staking it into the ground to a depth of around 2cm. 

Next on the ‘to do’ list is pulling up any weeds from your lawn. While these maybe green, I doubt it’s the green lawn you are after. It is better to do this early on in the grass growing season, as once it starts to get warmer they will spread quickly. In areas where large numbers of weeds are present, put some weed killer down to ensure their roots die and cannot grow back. 

If there are any bare patches on your lawn, late March is the ideal time to lay some lawn seed. Remember to remove any brown or dead grass before you lay any grass seed as this may reduce the likelihood of the seed growing. 

Often the best defence against weeds and moss growing in your grass is a thick lawn. By over-seeding your lawn, it encourages more grass to grow. This in essence reduces the space between the grass blades and prevents weeds and moss from growing. This also helps create a thick green lawn. 

Regular mowing 

Now this is essential. Being cut is a stressful event for grass and in order to get a green lawn you should try and minimise the stress as much as possible. 

To reduce the stress on your grass when cutting your lawn, never cut more than 20% of the length of the grass blade off in one goes. If this is the first time you have cut the grass this year, you may have to cut the grass over a period of weeks to get it to the length you want. 

Never cut the grass using a dull or blunt blade on your lawnmower. A blunt blade will tear the grass instead of cutting it, stressing the grass out further. It is recommended that you replace your lawnmower blade every year to ensure that it is always sharp. 

By June-July the weather will have become warmer and your grass will be growing at a much faster rate. Regular mowing is essential to keep your grass looking neat, tidy and green. It is recommended that during the summer months you cut the lawn once a week. 

If you are cutting the lawn every week, then your grass clippings may be short enough to leave them on the lawn to break down and decompose. This is a great way to add natural fertiliser to your lawn, and because the grass contains nitrogen it will help keep the grass green. 

Once you have cut the grass and tidied up, it is a good opportunity to water the lawn. This will encourage the grass to grow and recover from any damage that it has suffered from by cut. 

Fertilisation

The last and equally important part of getting a green lawn is to ensure that your grass has enough nutrients to grow. A well fertilised lawn helps the grass create a better, healthier root system and helps it cope against the everyday stresses and strains. 

As a general rule you should fertilise your lawn once in early spring and again in the autumn. You should use a nitrogen rich fertiliser to encourage the lawn to grow green. Avoid over fertilising your lawn as too much nitrogen will actually harm your lawn. Avoid adding fertiliser to your garden during wet weather as rain water will wash the fertiliser from your lawn and into rivers and drains. This not only provides no benefit to your lawn, but it also adds pollutants to the environment.

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