LAWNS – despite my recent protestations about the British passion for lawns, our precious lawns and public grassed areas form an important part of our lives, whether as a backdrop to our planted gardens or as a space for exercise or as a place to lay in the sunshine.
So, if you have chosen to retain your piece of turf as a fine British lawn, now is the time of year to take stock, assess the state of the grass after the ravages of winter, consider which of the many suggested treatments you think you might have to undertake of the next three to four weeks and then trek off down to your local garden centre or DIY outlet and choose the materials to use and the mechanical aids to help.
What might you need? In order of priority and sequence, you may need the following:
_ A functional and sharp lawn mower that is fit to do the job.
_ A mechanical scarifier or a springbok rake, if you have the energy, to remove dead grass (thatch) and other debris that has accumulated since last summer.
_ A fork or mechanical spiker to aerate the soil and provide some drainage for surface water.
_ A granular spring fertiliser that is high in nitrogen to give the lawn a boost.
_ A moss killer to kill off the overwinter build up – sulphate of iron is the best and the blackened dead moss can be raked out within two weeks of its application.
It is still a little early in the season for selective weedkillers and this is one of the reasons why I do not like the combined spring lawn treatments, that often leave dead patches on the lawn.
Wait until mid-late April before using a liquid weedkiller such as Verdone and only use it where and if you have a weed problem. Finally, you may need some more grass seed to over-seed the lawn after all these other treatments have left your lawn with thin and bare patches.
Now you can see why I am not a great lover of the traditional British lawn, with all its hard work and expense!