Taking Care of Your Lawn
If the weather permits, aerate the surface using a solid tine spiking machine or, in smaller areas, a garden fork.
Keep the surface free from leaves, twigs and other debris. This helps keep the turf dry and reduces the risk of disease.
The same procedures apply this month. If there is a hint of spring you might top the long, straggly grass that has grown over the winter period with a carefully set mower.
Brush the ground regularly if dry enough to remove any further leaves, twigs, debris, or worm casts.
A key month for maintenance.
At the first signs of real growth, give the surface area a light-to-medium weight rolling, to consolidate any surface unevenness caused by winter frosts.
Then, vigorously brush the surface removing any further worm casts and debris and mow the grass with an aim to start reducing the mowing height.
Always use a grass box. A twodirectional 50/50 mowing is best at first. Make sure that the mower is set correctly and that you are achieving a good, clean cut.
About two days after the first mowing apply a proprietary brand of lawn fertiliser or Inturf Establish fertiliser.
The feeding programme continues with another dressing of Inturf Establish fertiliser around midmonth. You may also need to apply a selective herbicide (weed killer) of a proprietary brand to eradicate broad-leaved weeds that have appeared over winter. There are several brands available which should be applied strictly in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations.
Treat areas infected by moss with a proprietary moss killer. These are available in either liquid or powder form. Inturf Establish fertiliser contains iron sulphate which is useful not only to control any moss, but also to invigorate the desirable grasses and to deepen the green colour of the overall appearance.
Continue to gradually reduce the mowing height and step up the frequency of mowing from once to twice a week, not forgetting always to remove clippings.
Now that the grass is in “full flight”, you should scarify the area by machine (for a large area) or using a spring tine rake to remove any dead grass lying in the base of the sward or “thatch”.
If a lot of material is removed at the first pass, it would be best to scarify every two-to-three weeks during the growing season, until only a small amount of debris is removed.
Over-sow with an Inturf grass seed if the surface area is sparse in grass growth. Grass seed can be broadcast over the area, by hand or by machine depending on the size of the area.
To ensure satisfactory germination, apply Inturf Premium top soil, and top dress over the surface of the sward, effectively covering the seeds.
Continue mowing two-to-three times a week and aim to be at your optimum desired mowing height at this stage.
For domestic lawns, one would be looking at a total growth of 25mm (1”) to 37mm (1¼”). On finer turf areas, one would be looking to mow down to between 9mm (3/8”) and 12mm (½”) at this time of the year.
Routine rolling can also continue, but this would be more for the finer surfaces, where a playing surface is required, rather than for aesthetic appearance of the grass sward.
Apply a further application of Inturf Establish fertiliser if needed.
If there are signs of a drought, water the lawn area, avoiding excessive watering since this encourages weed grasses to flourish.
If other weeds are present, a further treatment of herbicide (weed killer) will be necessary.
Continue to mow two-to-three times a week together with routine scarifying, rolling, and generally keeping the area clear from debris.
July & August
Continue to mow, remembering to alternate direction periodically.
Water during drought conditions and, if the area has become compacted, a light spiking could be beneficial.
Apply the final application of Inturf Establish fertiliser towards the end of August.
Above all, during these two months, you should take the opportunity of enjoying the surfaces as much as possible.
There will be plenty of time to renovate any worn areas in the next couple of months.
The frequency of mowing will decrease and the height of cut can be raised gradually to between 6mm (¼”) and 12mm (½”) above the summer height.
If the underlying soil tends to consolidate excessively, start hollow tine spiking, followed by a top dressing of Inturf Premium top soil.
The top dressing should be applied evenly over the lawn and then brush/worked in to the sward to give approximately 3mm (1/8”) coverage on average, varying the amounts depending on any depressions or irregularities in surface levels.
You might add a mixture of Inturf grass seed in with the top dressing material in order to increase the population of grass in any worn areas. Repeat the process as described earlier in the year.
Worms may become active again at this time of the year. If this is a problem, treat the area with a proprietary brand of worm killer.
Light rolling may be useful, but only if absolutely necessary to help settle the lawn for the autumn and winter period.
It will no longer be necessary to scarify the area, providing this has been undertaken on a fairly regular basis throughout the spring and summer. However, if this has been neglected during the growing season, now would be the last opportunity of undertaking this - but then only very lightly so as not to cause too much shock or damage to the sward prior to the autumn.
An application of Inturf Establish fertiliser can be made towards the end of the month. This will also naturally help with disease control too.
Regular mowing gradually comes to an end although when weather conditions are suitable, mow the area as frequently as demanded by the length of growth.
Keep the area free from debris and leaves and try to use this month to “rest” the area in readiness for the winter months.
If you can, apply a solution of iron sulphate to enhance the appearance of the grass and “harden-off” the grass in readiness for the winter (Inturf Establish fertiliser contains iron sulphate).
During frost-free and fairly dry periods this month, mow the area as and when necessary - the blades now set at their highest level.
If you missed any autumn/winter fertiliser dressings or worm control applications, this is your last opportunity to undertake this work.
Not much to be done at this time of the year, but remember to keep the area brushed and raked free from debris to ensure that you don’t attract too much moisture which would lead to disease and pest infestations.
You shouldn’t need to mow the area at this time, but if you missed an end-of-season mowing, pick a nice dry day to do it. Keep off the turf during wet and frosty weather.
No mention has been made of fungicide applications, as we feel that these are only necessary when the first signs of disease are evident. So, although we don’t recommend precautionary treatments of fungicide, it would be recommended that you stock some contact, broad-spectrum fungicide of a proprietary brand and, at the first signs of disease, spray the affected areas very quickly.
These notes are offered purely as a very general guide to the upkeep and maintenance of established turf areas: not every lawn is the same!