Plan Ahead For A Stunning Summer Lawn 0The weather doesn't make you feel like gardening but you can start planning ahead for a stunning summer lawn.
What to look for in a turf supplier 0A new lawn is an investment so how do you know if you are buying from the best supplier. This article gives hints and tips on finding a turf supplier that offers best value for money, cares about their products and looks after customers.
Real Turf Vs Artificial Turf 0
There’s a new feature popping up in the gardens of Dorset and Hampshire. Artificial Turf. Personally, I’m not a fan of plastic anywhere in the garden (not even my lawnmower is plastic). However, as a writer/blogger who loves to buy local and use natural products, I’ll try to moderate my opinions and take a look at the pros and cons of using artificial grass vs real life turf.
In defence of plastic grass
It’s convenient, it’s low maintenance, it doesn’t need feeding, and it’s a nice even colour. You can choose the shade of green you want. You can even choose the length and texture of the sward. It doesn’t need soil to root into, it’s not prone to diseases. The dog won’t dig it up. You can park your car on it.
A piece of artificial turf.
The good things about a real lawn
It will pump oxygen into the air for you to breath.
It smells amazing after mowing
It drains naturally – allowing water to filter into the soil
It’s soft to sit on and stays cool on hot days
If your children fall over, they’ll have a soft landing and no carpet-burn
It cleans itself – no need for hoovering or detergents
If you want to change the design of your garden, it’s easy to re-shape a natural lawn
You choose how long or short you want the sward to be – and you can change your mind at any time.
It’s versatile. If you have a natural lawn, you can underplant it with spring bulbs, allow wild flowers to grow in it for the bees, let your pet rabbit graze it (I let my chickens onto the lawn and their eggs taste amazing because of it)
You get clippings that can be turned into home-made compost. Cheaper than the garden centre stuff and ideal for mulching round fruit, flowers and vegetables.
Real turf, freshly cut and ready to lay. That green sward looks very "touchable"
Why I don’t like artificial turf.
Gardens should be for nature.
Artificial turf is oil-based (I think). As the world is running out of oil, it seems a bit daft to waste it on making fake grass. Nature grows grass very well indeed in this country. And nature’s grass doesn’t take centuries to biodegrade if it’s taken out of the garden and thrown away.
It makes me feel hot and sticky and itchy when I sit on it on a summer’s day.
What if the dog poops on it or the children drop picnic crumbs on it? With no soil bacteria to recycle things like that, do they just sit there and rot? Or do I have to hoover? If I’m hoovering it I may as well be mowing it.
It doesn’t last for ever. Like most man-made things it doesn’t regenerate, is difficult to repair and so at some point it will end up being replaced. Real lawns get replaced sometimes too – but the old lawn can be returned to the soil – plastic can’t.
Much of the artificial turf in this country has been imported from the Far East. That gives it a huge carbon footprint and what’s more – it doesn’t do ever so much for the British economy either.
Disadvantages of natural lawns
Yes, believe it or not there are some – but they are only really about convenience – and I think they are easily overcome.
Real lawns need to be tended. Mowing, feeding, aerating, scarifying and occasionally weeding. To me, that’s no big deal. I actually like mowing the lawn. It’s almost meditative and the smell…..oh how I love the smell of new mown grass!
If I were unable to mow it myself, I’m in no doubt that I would be able to find someone who would help out in return for a modest fee.
Aerating isn’t too much of a problem for me either. It’s a once a year job and if I miss it – well it’s not the end of the world.
Feeding? Again, it’s not hard work, it’s just a matter of finding half an hour to do it. The feed is readily available (I like the specialist stuff from Wimborne Turf because it’s not been massed produced by some global chemical manufacturer), and it works. It keeps the lawn looking lush, green and healthy.
Scarifying? I’m not physically up to that job any more, even if I hire a machine it hurts my poorly neck. So I have a local landscaper help out with that. It doesn’t cost much (a few quid and a cup of tea) and he’s done in no time.
What will you have in your garden? Real turf or a pretend lawn?
If you are thinking of replacing your lawn and you’re wondering whether to choose artificial or real, don’t make your decision until you’ve had quotes both products and looked into what’s needed to lay them properly. Poorly installed artificial grass looks nasty, doesn’t last and in some cases can cause trip hazards.
Wimborne Turf offer turf for you to lay yourself – and they’ll talk you through the whole process. OR they will come and lay your new, natural lawn for you. It’s grown in Dorset in the UK by a family-run business who employ local people to help them. Better for the environment, better for the economy and ultimately, better for you.
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Laying Turf in Warm Weather 0
Laying turf in hot weather
It IS possible to lay turf in hot weather, but before you start your project, please read this blog post carefully. If there’s anything you’re not sure of, phone the team at Wimborne Turf on 01258 858118 and we’ll be more than happy to answer your questions.
Ten Things to remember when laying turf in hot weather
- Turf has a very short shelf life in warm weather
- Don’t order more than you can reasonably lay in 4 hours. Have your turf delivered in more than one batch if necessary.
- Have plenty of people to help you – the faster you can work the better
- Always lay turf as soon as it arrives – don’t delay or you may find your lawn is affected by sod heating
- Locally grown turf will be fresher than turf that has been transported from another part of the country.
- Prepare the soil in advance – it should be 100% ready so that there is no delay between your turf being delivered and being laid
- While your turf is waiting to be installed, stack it in small piles in a shady place. Never cover stacked turf and never ever water turf that is still rolled up.
- Watering is vitally important, soak your turf as soon as it is laid and make sure you water it at least once a day until the roots are well established. In very hot weather you may need to water morning and night. Whatever you do, don’t let newly laid turf dry out
- Look after yourself. Wear sunscreen and a hat, drink plenty of water and take regular snacks. Laying turf is hard physical work but you won’t be able to stop until the whole lot is unrolled and watered in.
- Think about delegating – Wimborne Turf’s supply and lay team can do all the work for you while you sit in the shade sipping cool drinks – sound good? Contact us for prices and availability
Spring time jobs to improve your lawn 0
Spring is just THE best time to get out into the garden and really make a difference. Perennial plants can be tidied up, dead vegetation removed, flower beds mulched to control weeds, seeds sown and the lawn preened to perfection.
When you think about it, our lawns get a lot of abuse during the course of a year. We trample on them, sit on them, mow them, neglect to feed them, expose them to drought, deluge, frost and scorching sun. It’s a wonder we get away with it!
Actually, we don’t get away with it at all. When you see a newly turfed lawn and compare it to one that is a few years old, you can see how tired the old lawn is. But, it can be revived and rejuvenated with just a little bit of TLC
- Scarifying removes all of the old dead leaves, the moss and the debris from the lawn. It gives the plants room to breathe and helps rainwater filter through the sward and down to where the roots can use it. If your lawn is relatively small, you can use a springtine rake for scarification. If your lawn is larger, either hire a machine form the local toolhire shop or call in a lawn care company to help
- Aeration: David Hedges-Gower is a lawn care expert. He lists aeration as one of the most important lawn care jobs you can be doing. Aeration basically makes holes in the surface of your lawn. It relieves the compaction created when the lawn is walked and played on. It allows air to get into the soil and it helps enormously with drainage. Always use a hollow tine aerator – never a garden fork – and enjoy burning off the calories you ingested at Easter time.
- Feeding: Last month we blogged about the importance of feeding your lawn. If you missed that blogpost, you can read it here
- Mowing your lawn is an art in itself. It’s not just a case of wheeling the mower out of the shed, starting it up and pushing it around a bit. The cutting height of your mower and the state of the blades are paramount to the health of your lawn. At this time of year (April/May) you should be mowing at least once a week and removing all of the clippings. A family lawn can be maintained at about 5cm height. That might sound a lot, but slightly longer grass is better at withstanding wear and bad weather. Keep your mower blades really sharp. Buy new ones if needs be.
- Edging: This is one lawn care job that will make a huge difference to the whole garden. Having a crisply cut neat edge to your lawn gives a well-tended and manicured feel to the whole property. Even if (as in my case) the flower beds still need weeding and the paint is peeling off the summer house.
- Repairs: After scarifying and aerating you may think some areas of your lawn look a bit thin and sparse. Those areas are easily repaired by oversowing with some grass seed.
- Replacement: If your lawn really is in a sorry state, the quickest and least challenging way to improve it is to simply replace the whole thing with new turf. You can lay turf yourself, or you can make the most of local experts and have them supply and lay a lawn for you.