Do we or don’t we? Just when you think it’s time to get the mower out in the fine spring weather, the heavens open and everything has to be put back inside again.
Spring can be unpredictable but if the weather starts to improve, soil temperatures rise and the grass soon grows. If it’s a poor spring, hardly anything seems to happen at all, so be prepared to implement your lawn care plans any time soon – but be flexible.
David Hedges-Gower, a regular on BBC radio, RHS lecturer and National Trust advisor, author of Modern Lawn Care, explains that all the mistakes we make with our lawns come from one problem.
“We view the lawn as just an outdoor living carpet; we forget that it is made up of plants with the same needs as the flowers, shrubs, vegetables and trees in the rest of the garden. We only think about what we can see, that green surface. We forget about the thatch layer and the soil underneath and the nourishment the grass needs for strong, healthy growth.”
If you treat your lawn the same you do a cherished shrub, you’ll make a huge difference, he advises, and it takes less time than you spend putting right all the problems caused by neglect. Just like that shrub, your lawn needs to be pruned – that’s scarification, removing a good portion of the dead matter that forms the thatch layer. This lets light and air embrace the grass plants.
You’ll need to look after your soil, aerating it to let the oxygen through, letting it breathe and helping vital microbes and good bacteria to thrive. The lawn will also need feeding four times a year, with food suited to each season.
David offers the following tips to tackle the core lawn jobs you can start doing in March, as soon as the weather is dry enough.
Don’t forget to mow and get into a routine, but make sure to mow at a sensible height, lowering gradually as you mow more frequently. Remember to maintain that sharp blade.
If the weather is suitable, hollow-tine aerate your lawn when conditions allow and before the onset of dry weather.
As the ground temperature begins to rise, this is a great time to prune your grasses and remove thatch and moss.
If scarifying, apply a good balanced feed afterwards, which will allow new grasses to flourish once all the moss and debris has gone.
If you are doing renovation or maintenance scarification, apply moss treatment and remember to do this after scarification, not before, as you achieve better success.
Continue to be vigilant – changing weather means changing disease patterns.
Keep material, twigs, leaves, furniture, off your lawn.
Start or continue minor repairs to lawn edges, bare areas etc
If the temperature is rising, begin to sow seed, to take advantage of early spring sunshine.
Should you wish to apply any dressing material, do so now.
Weeds will start to germinate as it gets warmer and you can apply selective herbicides now if you want . Stick to improving your grass health and you may not need to.