You dream of a lawn you can be proud of, but instead end up with a weedy mess. It is not as impossible as you think to obtain that lush, green carpet. You just need to remember to carry out regularly a few essential tasks to maintain your lawn.
This operation will take up most of your lawn maintenance time but it is essential to building up and maintaining a healthy grass sward. The varieties of grass in the lawn will change drastically if the height of the cut is lowered or raised for an extended period.
Begin cutting at the beginning of the grass season (end March/early April) till the end of the season (Oct/November). A light topping of the grass may be required on several occasions during the winter. However, be aware that cutting too much grass in one go may result in shocking your lawn, which can result in an invasion of moss and weeds. If the grass has grown particularly long between cuts then mow the grass in several stages, reducing the mower height on the second cut.
Grass growth is affected by soil fertility, grass vigour, grass type, weather and time of year. There is no right height for cutting grass as this depend on the type of lawn you have and the time of year. You are aiming to keep the grass long enough to ensure the roots are not starved, but short enough to look neat.
As a general rule the following heights can be a useful guide:
High profile lawn - cut weekly between 10-25 mm
Amenity lawn - cut fortnightly 25-50 mm
Woodland cut - cut three times a year to 50-100 mm
Meadow lawn - cut to 50 mm and collect grass arisings once a year after flowering.
Trim grass edges
Good design can help lower maintenance of lawns, and where a mower can run right to the edge of a lawn time will be saved. Edges next to beds, paths and tree pits will need to be trimmed regularly with edging shears to cut horizontally growing grass blades.
Squishing worm casts under foot can result in an uneven surface and the soil provides an ideal habitat for lawn weeds to establish. Brush away worm casts prior to mowing or apply a worm killer.
With hose pipe bans in place almost every summer, it is comforting to know that, even though your lawn with slowly turn brown and resemble hay, that your lawn will recover in the autumn and will not be permanently damaged. You will only need to water newly laid lawns to help establishment.
Cropping of grass on a regular basis is a drain on the nutrients available in the soil. A lawn feed applied prior to the growing season will help to prevent thin and sparse lawns.
Pull out occasional weeds by hand. Treat larger areas of weeds with a weed killer as soon as possible.
Moss can be an indication of poor drainage or shading, so you will need to look at the underlying issues. You could plant shade tolerate grass varieties for example or improve the drainage on your lawn. Apply a moss killer to treat larger areas and apply grass seed.
Raking the lawn in spring and autumn will benefit your lawn by removing thatch, the build up of dead grass and debris. Build up of a thatch layer will create a semi waterproof cover which impedes proper aeration and the passage of rain.
During the autumn remove all leaves from your lawn weekly. If they are left on the lawn over winter they will kill the grass by forming a carpet that is impermeable to light and rain.
For related articles click onto:
Grass maintenance - laying turf
Grass maintenance - sowing a lawn from seed
History of the lawn
How to build a cold frame
How to make compost
How to grow a lawn from seed
How to propagate using division
Paths - Brick paving
Plants for Autumn
Preparing a seed bed