How to get a healthy lawn
21 Sep 2017
Imagine a healthy and beautiful lawn with thick, lush green grass, soft underfoot, and free of weeds and patchiness… Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, it’s really not that difficult to achieve, it just takes a little time, patience and the right information. So here are our top tips for a great lawn.
Lush grass comes when you trim less height but do it more often. Another benefit of the ‘less but often’ method means you don’t need a catcher. The clippings are small enough to fall to the ground between the blades of grass where they breakdown as mulch, returning goodness to the soil.
Vary the direction you mow each time to keep the grass growing straight and tall.
Never remove more than 1/3 of the grass length/height on any one occasion.
If your lawn has a ‘silver sheen’ or ‘frayed’ look after mowing your blades need sharpening.
A kilo of grass clippings takes around 30g of nitrogen, 20g of potassium and 10g of phosphorous from the lawn. It’s important to replace these nutrients to keep it green and growing and capable of dealing with drought. To be at their best, lawns need to be fed certain nutrients on a regular basis - every 4 to 5 weeks during spring and summer.
But it’s more than just healthy grass. Healthy soil means fewer weeds; because the grass isn’t “stressed out” it can better compete with and/or crowd out weeds. Consider slow release fertiliser over the often cheaper fast release fertiliser, this will keep your lawn looking better for a longer period of time rather than an instant ‘flush’ achieved by instant fertiliser.
Seaweed fertiliser is a great organic fertiliser that with regular (once ever 6 weeks) use, can do wonders to your lawn. It is an excellent soil conditioner, and improves your lawn’s resistance to heat, drought, disease and more. Packed with nutrients, It is relatively cheap and easy to use – simply hoses on with a special bottle or you can use your watering can. Liquid seaweed fertiliser is available from most garden centres.
Getting the soil just right
You may want to go one further than just applying a generic fertiliser and test the pH level of your soil. By testing and amending your soil you can be absolutely certain you’re giving your grass the best conditions to thrive.
During summer, lawns need watering to remain soft and green. How much and how often will vary depending on your lawn type and local weather conditions. Bear in mind that at the height of summer local councils can enforce water restrictions so aiming for a healthy lawn with a strong root system that naturally captures and uses water efficiently is your best defence against browning in summer.
The best time to water your lawns during summer is after dusk or before dawn, when evaporation will be the lowest, and the lawn has time to absorb the moisture properly.
Lush, thick grass helps prevent weeds from growing as there just isn’t anywhere for them to take hold. But should the odd one pop up, manually removing them is best done after rain or watering when the soil is looser and you can pluck out the whole root. However, if your lawn has been left to deteriorate, or is full of weeds, consider using a stronger lawn weed killer before nourishing your lawn back to good health. Prevention is the best cure!
Scarifying/dethatching and aeration
Spring or autumn, when it’s neither too hot nor cold, is the best time to scarify your lawn. This process, which involves cutting or raking out thatch (a layer of living and dead grass and moss that develops between the soil and the blades), helps improve the fresh air supply to the root system, allows more light to get to the lower parts of the grass and helps fertiliser to reach the roots. It’s not an essential process and you should only do it if it is needed; this will depend on your grass type and condition.
Aerating is another important task that further improves air supply to the root system. To aerate your lawn you can either go over it with a garden fork, poking holes in the lawn every 10cm or try something less labour intensive and hire an aerator that simply rolls over the lawn.
To learn more about getting the perfect lawn, download our free maintenance guide for lifestyle properties. It’s packed with more useful info such as dealing with prickles, the ideal grass mowing height and an equipment checklist as well as many more tips and tricks to help you get the best out of your land, lawn and gardens.