How Often Should I Water My Lawn
- You need to water your lawn to supply the right amount of moisture, cool down the soil temperature and wash fertilisers into the soil. As clay soils hold moisture for longer than sandy soils, youll need to water grass planted in sandy soils more frequently. However, clay may hold onto water more intensely, preventing your lawn from utilising that high moisture content. Loam is the ideal soil mix and will retain just the right amount of water, while still releasing enough moisture.
- If you have loamy soil with a warm season grass, give your lawn a good soaking of water once a week, and perhaps just cool it off if the grass is under stress from extreme heat. The norm is 25mm of water per week. Place a container in each of the sprinkler zones and determine how long it takes to fill the container up to 25mm. This is the amount of time youll have to irrigate each zone once a week. Its better to give more water in one session to force the roots to grow down to a deeper level, than giving a little water every day.
- Cool season lawns need more frequent, shallower watering, as their root systems are not as deep as some of the warm season lawns.
- Water early in the morning as this is the coolest time of the day and there will be less evaporation. Youll lessen the chances of your lawn contracting a disease if it dries before nightfall.
- Water spots where pets have urinated immediately, or at least more frequently, using a watering can or hose.
How To Take Care Of A Microclover Lawn
Micro clovers do not require much water to survive. They, however, need four to six hours of sunlight every day. So, before you plant microclover seeds, make sure the land where you plan to grow them gets proper sunlight.
As micro clovers are more drought tolerant than other plans, you do not have to worry about them turning brown during summer. But, do not forget to water your lawn at least once or twice a week.
Raise The Height Of The Mower
So many of us Brits like to keep our lawns mown really really short. Scalped almost. Personally I dont understand that because grass harvests life-giving sunlight through its leaves. The bigger the total surface area of the leaves is the more sunlight the plant can harvest. Therefore, the more sunlight it harvests, the healthier it is.For lawns in shade, where sunlight is in short supply, your grass will truly appreciate being allowed to grow a little bit longer. My own lawn is maintained at around 5cm long. Its a deep green colour, its lush and I rarely see any signs of fusarium patch disease or redthread disease.
It feels lovely beneath bare feet, softer and cooler than my Dads lawn which is virtually shaved at least twice a week My husband grows different grasses wheat and barley mainly . In my experience, it doesnt matter what length your grass grows to if its all the same length it will look amazing.
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What Is Scarifying And Aerating
- These two practices involve removing dead root material from a lawn and ventilating the root system in the growing season when the underlying thatch becomes a visible problem.
Aeration is carried out to enable air to get to the roots. It aids drainage and also allows water, minerals and nutrients to reach the roots. Its done by using a spike roller, fork or a hollow tining machine to punch holes into the soil.
Scarifying is a process where a rotary-type mower is used to cut into the soil. Bolts or pins are fitted to the rotary blade and the mower is then set to its lowest setting. This is followed with an application of fertiliser and lawn booster.
Scarifying puts the lawn under stress as it is torn rather than cut. This can make it susceptible to disease and there is the possibility of cutting the live root system. An alternative is to get a professional to dethatch or verti-cut your lawn. That is to remove the zone of dead grass roots that builds up below the soil surface. This process rips into the grass vertically, tearing into the roots and cutting them vertically, leaving a lot of roots intact to immediately start growing.
How To Choose The Perfect Grass Seed For You
How much will I need to spend?
Good grass seed costs between £10 and £15 per kilo, and covers an average of 30 square metres . Coverage and price vary, so we’ve given details of both for each seed in our rundown.
Don’t get carried away and buy 5kg when you’re just planting a small front lawn. Too much seed causes overcrowding, which leads to bald patches.
Even the priciest grass seed costs significantly less than buying rolls of turf, but it does require more patience and work to create a lawn from seed than from turf.
What is grass seed made from?
That’s not a silly question, honest. All the products in our line-up are seed mixes, made up of different grass varieties that each have their pros and cons.
To see which varieties each mix contains, check the ‘Key specs’ under each bite-sized review below. We’ve listed the main ingredient first, food label-style.
Three varieties turn up most often in grass seed mixes:
Ryegrass is the most common type of grass seed. It’s coarse, versatile, hard-wearing and fast to grow. Technically speaking it’s a ‘bunch grass’, which means it’s a cool-season grass that thrives in most soil types and conditions.
Fescue is also hardy and versatile but a little finer than ryegrass, so it’s softer beneath your feet and creates a thicker look. It’s also good at growing in the shade, unlike most other grass varieties. Its main downside is that it needs warm soil to germinate, so it won’t grow if sown in cooler months.
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Easy Ways To Improve Your Lawn
Most people think that to have a nice lawn, you need to apply lots of fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides and water. But in most parts of the country, it’s actually not that difficult to grow a healthy carpet of grass. The problem is that most turf is growing on a thin layer of poor soil that contains little organic matter or beneficial soil life. To establish a healthy, low-maintenance lawn, you need to work from the soil up.
Best Grass Seeds For Northern States
If you live in a Northern state, select a cool-season grass. Cool-season grasses thrive in the late spring and early fall months in the northern two-thirds of the United States. Northern grass seed products grow best when temperatures are 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
The most popular cool-season lawn grasses are:
- Bentgrass seed. One of the standard grasses for golf course putting greens, some bentgrass varieties, such as Colonial Bentgrass, are made for home lawns. It likes to be cropped short.
- Kentucky bluegrass seed. This is the classic choice for Northern lawns and was brought to the United States during the colonial days. Wants full sun, not shade tolerant.
- Fine Fescue seed. This perennial bunchgrass doesnt mind poorly drained areas.
- Tall fescue mix seed. Puts down deep roots, so a tall fescue lawn is drought tolerant.
- Creeping fescue seed. Although slow to germinate and spread, this fescue seed has tolerance for shade, and low maintenance requirements make it a good choice for large expanses. It is also a good companion for bluegrass since it will thrive in shady spots where bluegrass will not.
- Ryegrass seed. The annual variety is used for a quick shot of green. Its permanent, perennial cousin is noted for its wear tolerance, so its a good choice for places where children will romp.
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Plant And Fertilize Your Grass Seed
With your soil ready, its time to lay down the seeds.
For planting grass seed in small areas, hand-seeding is fine. For larger areas, youll want to use a seeder. They can be hand cranked, chest mounted or push-from-behind models. Another option is a drop seeder, which drops seeds directly below. They are a good choice for small areas and are more precise than the rotary models. There are more expensive commercial seeding options as well.
Follow the instructions on the seed bag, but you generally want 15-20 seeds per square inch. Make a couple of test runs, aiming for half of that number since you are going to make two passes with your seeder. If the seeders lowest setting is too generous with the seed, thin it out with sand or vermiculite.
Once you get the distribution setting right, make two passes across your lawn area. If you go north-south on the first pass, go east-west on the second. Broadcasting the seed from two angles gives seed the best chance to spread evenly.
We call it the seed-soil contact, said University of Illinois Extension office educator Richard Hentschel. You want good seed-soil contact. If the seed and soil are not in intimate contact, the little root radicle may die out before it hits the soil. The radicle is the first root to emerge from a seed.
Rake the seeded surface lightly to mix the grass seed and fertilizer in the top 1/8-inch of soil. If you have access to one, roll using an empty roller to improve the germination rate.
Protect Animals And Insects
It is important to protect birds, beneficial insects, earthworms, and other organisms that play an important role in keeping your lawn healthy.
- Birds and predatory insects feed on grubs and other pests.
- Insects, earthworms, beneficial fungi, and other micro-organisms break down thatch and aerate the soil.
The best way to protect these beneficial animals and insects is to only use insecticides and fungicides when absolutely needed. See Understanding your lawn’s lifecycle for more information.
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Add Variety To Your Grass
A typical lawn will only have a very limited number of grass species in it , as these cope well with regular mowing, wear and tear and periodic drought. But grasses are a diverse group and there are many species native to the UK.
If left unmown, grasses will produce flowers and seeds which are important for many animals, including insects and birds.
Flowering meadow foxtail grass. The species provides habitat and food for lots of invertebrates, including Essex skipper butterfly caterpillars. Â© Martin Addison via geograph
Grasses can also add structure, movement and colour to your garden. Consider sowing a wildflower lawn seed mix with a blend of different native grass species to add more variety to your lawn. Give the grasses a chance to flower by leaving them to grow.
How To Accelerate New Grass Seed Growth
You dont want to be too rough with newly planted grass, just like you wouldnt with an infant, so mow with a sharp blade and mow slowly and gently.
When it comes to when and how to sharpen your blade, every 20 hours of use is excellent. You may sharpen a mower blade yourself or get it sharpened at your local hardware store for a little fee.
Mowing with a dull blade is the last thing you want to do since it will pull up the healthy grass at its roots and utterly kill fresh growth. Make sure you replace your blades once a year.
Avoiding cleaning up the grass cuttings after mowing your lawn, as strange as it may sound, is a terrific technique to encourage grass growth.
Grass clippings decompose quickly, so leaving them behind replenishes soil nutrients and promotes grass growth.
Because wet grass tends to become tangled and ripped quickly, resulting in uprooting, you should mow your lawn when its dry, not after a watering session or downpour.
Variate your mowing pattern because mowing in the same pattern week after week can lead the grass to grow at an angle, which is not aesthetically pleasant or healthy.
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Consider The Layout Of Your Garden
Before you start working on your lawn, you need to have a good think about the layout of your garden, and what will be practical for you.
Begin by looking at the size and shape of your garden. Which areas do you tend to use the most, and which areas catch the most sun? You want your garden layout to maximise the sunlight, so think carefully about where to place features, plants or trees, and where to lay the lawn.
Next, consider who uses your garden, and what you actually use your garden for. If you have children or pets, a full lawn is best for allowing plenty of room to run and play. If you host regular BBQs or garden parties, a patio area and lawn combo, with room to entertain, will be perfect.
Include A Mix Of Plants
Be sure to include a mix of many different plants and grasses in your lawn. A diverse landscape is better for the environment and can be easier to maintain, because it prevents pest problems from spreading to the whole lawn.
For places where it is hard to grow a lawn, try plants more adapted to the area. See Plant diversity for more information.
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The Importance Of A Lawn Soil Test
A soil test is a crucial step in finding out what nutrients your lawn is lacking and what fertilization and any other treatments can do to improve its density and color.
For instance, if your soils pH is off, then the fertilizer youre feeding it might not be working at all on your quest for greener grass. Poor pH could limit nutrient uptake.
In Central and Southern Maryland, lawns tend to lean on the acidic side. Limestone applications can help to correct your soils pH and bring it back in balance.
Also, only some lawn care professionals like Natural Green Systems Lawn & Pest conduct free soil tests on their customers properties to ensure the custom program they develop for each lawn meets that lawns specific needs.
Cut Your Grass Correctly And To The Recommended Cutting Height
Knowing what height to cut your grass is an important way to get your grass to grow healthy and strong. Setting your lawnmower to the highest or lowest setting is not necessarily the best thing for your grass. In fact, different grass species have different needs in terms of grass cutting height. Check out this guide to grass cutting height. Additionally, you should keep the blades on your lawnmower nice and sharp so that it cuts your grass effectively. Also, consider buying a reel mower, which actually cuts the grass like scissors rather than tearing it like traditional rotary lawnmowers. This makes for healthier grass in general. Read this guide to reel mowers for more information on the benefits of reel mowers and how to select one for your needs.
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The Secrets To A Lush Lawn
No matter how much effort you put into your flower beds and landscaping, your garden wont look good if the grass is patchy and weed infested. We asked Richard Erasmus of Lawnpro, a professional with over two decades experience in residential lawn care, to answer some common questions about creating and maintaining a lush lawn
Growing A Lawn From Sod
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Mowing A New Lawn: Be Gentle
Be careful with the lawnmower the first few times your new turfgrass is mowed. The roots will not be long or well-established, so it will be easy to accidentally rip up the young plants. Sharpen the mowers blade, so you cut, not tear the tender plants. Try to start the mower on a flat surface away from the lawn, and minimize the number of turns you make with the mower. Abide by the rule of , which is to never remove more than a third of a grass plant in one mow.
Once you have mowed at least once, cut back on your frequent shallow watering, and switch to watering a couple of times a week, deeply. Get water down to six or eight inches deep to encourage your new lawn to root deeply. Once established the lawn will start spreading to cover any gaps.
After about six to eight weeks, your lawn should be well-established. Hit it with a little more fertilizer to encourage deep roots, and take down your keep off the new lawn signs. Your new lawn is ready for you.