[Infographic] How to create your urban garden?
Summer is the real time to be enjoying the lawn, and quite right too. That’s what all your hard effort should be for, although of course a healthy lawn can look good all year. So what do you do if yours isn’t looking superb and you’re not sure why?
I’ve always believed good lawn care to be similar to snooker; you’re never really thinking about today but ahead to the next step or the one after that. Pro-activeness is the key to success at lawn care, and getting a lawn into good shape means it will be healthy regardless of what the weather throws at it.
So, it’s summer, and maybe your lawn looks tired and parched? And perhaps you threw some fertilizer down last week to perk it up in time for this weekend’s garden party? That’s the opposite of proactive, and I’m afraid it will do more harm than good, unless…
… you previously prepared your lawn in the spring.
You see, all aspects of lawn care link up – for example, soil work (aeration) thatch control (pruning with the scarifier) and nutrition. Just one of these alone, and done too late, can lead to more stress for the lawn.
By contrast, if you can go into summer with a well-prepared lawn, it will require far less effort, far less water, far less fertiliser and far less worry.
So, for this summer, just enjoy what’s there – and enjoy that garden party. But make a promise to plan next year’s lawn care in advance.
It’s the one thing that is definitely in the here and now and not from the book of proactive techniques. I’m talking about mowing. And many people are unsure of the best summer mowing regime, so I’ll tell you.
Having started the spring cuts with the mower set high, you’ve probably lowered it over a period of time. Logically the cut should now be at its lowest. But that’s wrong – your grass is tired and not getting the water it wants; so why stress it even more by cutting off the little food reserves it still has in its leaves?
For tidy summer mowing, first sharpen the blade and then mow regularly – but just take off the tip of the leaves; this leaves enough leaf to photosynthesise in all that lovely sunshine. And if you allow the cuttings to fall back into the lawn they return valuable moisture to the sward.
If your lawn has had a marquee or tent or simply children running around having a great time, this will have taken its toll. The best thing is first to let the grass breathe again and, eventually, undo any light compaction with some aeration.
… that you can indeed have a strong summer lawn; but if you haven’t prepared is advance, it is really too late for this year. Simply drenching it for a few nights or throwing food at it may create a fleeting improvement, but it won’t last.
But don’t beat yourself up either. It’s never too late to learn what’s god for your lawn. And it is never as complicated as some would have you believe either. It just needs the right things doing and at the right time.
So for now, learn from experience, enjoy what you have and relax, put your feet up, read up on modern lawn care – and start planning for next summer.
David Hedges-Gower is the UK’s leading lawn expert and has more than 36 years of lawn and turf experience. Professional grounds people, landscape specialists, commercial property developers and leisure gardeners – have benefited from David’s enthusiasm and knowledge.
David is a National Trust advisor and was formerly advisor to Homebase, he is a regular on BBC Radio and a favourite on the national horticultural lecture circuit.
David’s fantastic new book on Modern Lawn Care extends his love for and knowledge of the topic. This is the first comprehensive and authoritative guide to lawn care for over 40 years!
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