It’s not exactly inspirational gardening weather at the moment. Which is why now is the time to plan ahead for a stunning summer lawn.
Maintain, Refurb or Renew?
In between rain showers, take the time to thoroughly assess your lawn. What you see will help you decide whether to simply maintain what’s there, to do some serious refurbishment or to start again from scratch.
Here’s our list of things to look out for
It’s quite difficult to control moss so don’t be at all surprised if you find any in your lawn.
Small amounts of moss can be controlled with chemical treatments and light scarification. Keep it under control and it won’t be a problem to you.
Where thick moss is confined to relatively small areas – for example under trees or shrubs or in that shady corner by the shed – it’s not so bad, you can live with it. When the weather warms up, grab your springtine rake and scrape out as much of the moss as you can. It’s great exercise! Then apply a moss treatment before re-seeding the area with shade tolerant grass seed.
For widespread moss coverage, you have a challenge on your hands. Realistically, it’s quite likely that the soil beneath your lawn is compacted and poorly drained. Plus, there will be a lot of moss spores lying dormant in the lawn. You can hire a scarifier and an aerator from your local tool hire shop. The two operations will leave your lawn looking sorry for itself for quite a while.
Or you can dig up the lawn and start again – which is a good way to deal with compaction and really improve the soil before colonising it with lovely lush grass turf.
You can look at a weedy lawn in one of two ways. Either it’s a mess or it’s a wonderful biodiverse area providing flowers and food for the bees. If you like your lawn to be uniform in colour and texture, then you need to treat weeds as soon as they appear.
If you only have a few weeds in your lawn you can either dig them out. Or you can apply a chemical treatment in the spring.
If you have a lot of weeds and your lawn looks unhealthy, uneven and unkempt, then there may be underlying issues with the soil that have stopped the grass from crowding out the weeds. Typically, if the roots can’t penetrate the soil properly or if there are not enough nutrients you will forever be struggling to keep weeds at bay.
The whole process of preparing soil for seeding or turfing kills weeds, addresses problems with the soil structure and adds nutrients. Trust me – creating a new lawn is quicker and easier in the long term than trying to grow healthy grass in compacted soil.
A healthy natural lawn should soak up rainwater and allow it to filter through the soil into the water table. After snow melt or heavy rain, it’s not unusual for the soil to be pretty soggy for a few days. That’s normal. But if your lawn stays very wet for longer than it should. Or if there are large areas of pale or yellowing grass in your lawn, then you could have an underlying problem with drainage. It’s well worth asking an experienced professional for advice before trying to repair your lawn yourself.
Types of Grass
There are several species of grass growing naturally in the UK. Some of them make good lawns. Some don’t.
Perennial ryegrass is a great lawn grass. It’s hardwearing and happy to be mown. Likewise, cultivated fescues and bents make for a beautiful velvety sward. Poa annua on the other hand, is a common grass that really doesn’t work well as a lawn. Then there’s Yorkshire fog. Yorkshire fog is a coarse grass with a loose, untidy growth pattern that will never look neat whatever you do to it.
If your lawn isn’t performing as you’d like it to and you’ve ruled out problems with drainage, compaction, weeds or excessive wear, then you really need to take a close look at the grass species within it. A trained eye can tell one species from another and advise you on what to do next.
Peter Flower at Wimborne Turf has been working with lawn grasses for over 40 years. What he doesn’t know about grass isn’t worth knowing. And if you need help improving your lawn, he’s the man to ask.
If you want a stunning summer lawn
Decide now whether your lawn is OK as it is and just needs regular maintenance. Or whether you need to refurbish or replace the lawn.
Refurbishment can be hard but rewarding work. You’ll learn a lot about grass, soil, tools and backache. You’ll also be really proud of yourself when it works. Start work as soon as the weather warms up. We often share lawncare tips on our blog and social media pages – feel free to visit either for updates and ideas.
If your lawn really has passed the point of no return, the sooner you replace it, the better it will look in summer. All you need to decide is whether you will do the work yourself or whether you will call for expert help.
If you decide to refurbish your lawn
If you decide to replace your lawn
Contact Wimborne Turf for a quote. We offer a really good supply and lay service, or, buy some of our homegrown quality lawn grass to install yourself.
Book early to ensure that your lawn can be laid, established and ready to use before the lovely spring/summer weather arrives.