Lawn Care Tips & Advice
At Greensleeves, we know that a thick green lawn doesn’t happen on its own. It takes time and effort to get the best out of your grass. With a combination of our lawn treatments and making use of these lawn care tips, you’ll have a beautiful garden to enjoy in no time. Read on to learn more from the lawn care experts.
We’ve put together a collection of useful hints and tips to assist you in maximising your lawn’s potential so you can get beautiful grass. Whether you are bogged down by aeration or worried by weeds, our industry-leading tips should help to put you on the right track. We’ve covered a number of common lawn problems, such as insect infestation and regular lawn maintenance, such as mowing. However, if after reading you still feel as though you are facing an uphill battle, please give us a call. We are always happy to have a friendly chat and offer some advice. We do love looking after lawns after all!
In addition, be reassured that your lawn treatment expert will always be on the lookout for any pests that may be infiltrating your lawn but if, inbetween visits, you spot something, give them a call and they will happily assist.
Lawn Care Tips
What Type Of Mower Should I Use?
Mowing is one of the most important things you can do to maintain a beautiful looking lawn. When making a choice as to which lawnmower is most suitable for your lawn, there are a number of factors to take into account:
- The size of the lawn
- How high you want the grass to be
- Is the ground even or not
- Is the ground sloped or flat?
- Ease of use
A rotary mower is a great all-rounder that will suit most domestic lawns and can come in different size and price ranges. Hover mowers are often easier to use as they are lighter and can provide a reasonable cut on uneven ground. Cylinder mowers are suited to lawns which are perfectly flat and will give a fine, low cut but are often difficult to use and need to be serviced regularly to maintain their quality.
Don’t forget to keep your mower well maintained by cleaning grass clippings from the underside after use and keep the mower blades sharp to ensure a nice clean cut – essential to the health of the grass blades.
Your lawn should be mowed as regularly as possible, at least once per week during the main growing seasons of April – June and September – October and do not be frightened to mow your grass in the winter as long as the ground is not waterlogged or frozen.
Cutting your lawn regularly at the correct height will encourage healthier growth from the roots to tip.
Mowing the grass too short will cause the grass to dry out and lose colour therefore never cut the grass lower than 25mm (1 inch). As a guide Greensleeves recommends removing no more than one third of the leaf.
Make sure you mow your lawn in a different direction each time you cut it. This will strengthen and improve the quality of the grass. Remember to remove any clippings or debris from the lawn each time you cut as this can encourage thatch build up and moss to grow.
What Is Moss?
Mosses are resilient and versatile non-flowering plants that are, for many, the worst of all lawn problems. Moss will thrive in areas of excessive moisture, shade and poor turf quality. If left unchecked moss will increase, reducing the ability of the grass grow and will eventually ‘choke’ out the grass completely.
Why Have I Got Moss In My Lawn?
Moss is a symptom of poor lawn quality and is prevalent in lawns either due to excessive moisture or weak turf. These in turn are caused by a number of factors that can include:
- Clay soil
- Poor drainage
- Excessive thatch
- Grass left too long over winter
To successfully remove a moss problem it is important to identify the primary cause and remove it to reduce its impact. The first thing to do is to try and identify the cause of the moss problem. Once identified the source of the moss Greensleeves can then target the problem with a specific moss removal program designed to maximise the effort against moss and reduce its impact as much as possible.
Greensleeves will treat the moss problem with a specially formulated product. By doing so we will not only reduce the vigour of the moss but we will apply our lawn feed which will encourage the turf to grow and thrive.
If needed, Greensleeves can remove the moss by scarification giving the grass the opportunity to grow through and dominate again. If the cause of the moss is due to excessive moisture, Greensleeves hollow tine aeration will help to improve surface drainage and prepare your lawn to withstand any future moss invasion.
What Are Weeds?
There are many different types of lawn weeds, or broad-leaved weeds as they are sometimes referred to, and they can leave a lawn looking very unsightly. They tend to produce flowers and seed heads at different times of the year ruining the uniform green of a lush, well-maintained lawn.
Why Have I Got Weeds In My Lawn?
Weed seeds will be carried into a lawn from a number of different sources: from birds overhead, cats, dogs or other mammals that roam freely or from people carrying them on their clothing or footwear. A seed will quickly develop into a full blown weed if left unchecked so it is important to remove any weeds as soon as they are visible.
Greensleeves use an exclusive herbicide that contains more than one active ingredient and will kill a broad range of lawn weeds. We are usually able to reduce the amount of common weeds in your lawn by more than 70%.
Weeds are best treated when they are actively growing, which is usually any time from April – June and then again in September – October. Hand weeding can be a very difficult task and in some cases, such as dandelions, can actually worsen the weed problem.
Some weeds are a little more troublesome than others but we are confident that we are able to correctly identify weeds and control your lawn weed problem effectively.
What Are Chafer Grubs?
Chafer Grubs (phyllopertha horticola) are larvae of Chafer Beetles. They eat the roots of the grass, causing yellowish patches to appear on the lawn. The Chafer Grub burrows holes through vegetation including lawns resulting in large patches of bare brown grass. If they are left untreated they can cause extensive damage to your lawn by enticing predators such as birds, badgers and foxes to dig for a tasty meal.
How Can I Spot Chafer Grubs?
Chafer Grubs can be found under loose turf and are identifiable by their large curved white bodies, light brown heads and several pairs of legs towards the head.
We would recommend our Biological Insect Control (also known as Nematodes) treatment which can be carried out between July and October for the best results. This specialist treatment can only be used in the right conditions – the soil temperature must be above 12 degrees. Additionally, the soil must be moist in order for the nematodes to survive once applied. Prior to the application, the lawn should be mowed and spiked to ensure that the nematodes have maximum opportunity to reach the pests inhabiting in the top layer of soil. The nematodes will be mixed with water and applied to the lawn using a back pack sprayer.
If you think you may have an infestation of Chafer Grubs, Greensleeves can provide a professional treatment to irradiate the troublesome lawn pests and protect your lawn against future infestation.
What Are Leaf Spots?
Leaf spots start to appear like little cigarette burns on individual blades of grass and eventually cause large areas of brown, dried out grass to form. Usually staying dormant for most of the winter, leaf spots start to affect your lawn in spring when the temperature exceeds 12 degrees and are an indicator that the grass is struggling in the heat.
How Do You Treat Leaf Spots?
Leaf spots are a sign that the grass plant is under stress from heat therefore ensure the grass is kept well hydrated by feeding and watering your lawn. If the problem still occurs you may need the help of some expert treatment from Greensleeves in order to return your lawn to full health.
What Is Red Thread?
As its name suggests, red thread causes a reddish fungus to appear on your grass. Typically seen in the summer months, the first noticeable symptom is irregular patches of bleached grass appearing on your lawn then at closer inspection the red fungus becomes visible.
How Can I Spot Red Thread?
In humid weather, the fungus grows visibly on the infected grass blades. The fungus produces thread-like strands or web areas of coral pink to blood red hyphae on the tips of the grass blades. The strands can protrude up to 2cm upward from the blade tips and are easily seen hence the name “red thread”.
The best solution is to keep the soil well fertilised, provide good soil drainage, help to avoid the grass from overheating and do not allow thatch to accumulate. Where disease is severe, fungicide applications may be necessary. If you think your lawn is suffering from an invasion of red thread and need some expert advice call Greensleeves. Our red thread treatments are much more effective than DIY and often work out more cost effective too.
What Is Lawn Rust?
Lawn rust can affect all types of grass in the UK. It can be easily identified by the spores growing on the grass turning it a rusty colour (hence the name). Although in most cases rust won’t kill your lawn it does look unsightly.
How Do You Treat Lawn Rust?
Lawn rust can be eradicated by regularly feeding your lawn and also mowing it regularly to reduce the number of affected leaves, disposing of any clippings to ensure it doesn’t spread. You can prevent rust by ensuring your lawn is well aerated using hollow tine aeration which eases compaction and allows air and nutrients to circulate down to the grass roots.
What Is Lichen?
Lichen, a combination of plant and fungus, is usually found growing in the damp, shady areas of your lawn. Although this fungus won’t kill your grass directly it will affect its appearance and may prevent light reaching the grass resulting in the prevention of growth, wilting and discolouration.
How Do You Treat Lawn Lichen?
The best approach when treating Lichen is to address the cause of the problem. As Lichen tends to be found in dry, compacted soil with heavy thatch and poor nutrition the first step is to repair and rejuvenate your lawn. Greensleeves lawn renovation programme will transform your lawn, removing layers of problematic thatch, relieving soil compaction and adding nutrients back into the soil to help target natural root grown.
What Is Thatch?
Thatch is a layer of fibrous organic matter made up of dead leaves, grass and root stems that develops between the green leaves of the grass and the soil surface. All lawns have thatch and a small amount of thatch is considered healthy in a lawn as it aids water absorption and protects the grass from extreme temperatures, however excessive thatch can be a problem as it can affect the health of your lawn.
A thick layer of thatch can stop moisture and vital nutrients penetrating the soil and grass roots, preventing healthy growth and providing an ideal breeding ground for unfriendly bacteria and fungi that are likely to cause disease.
Thick thatch prevents new grass growth. It can be easily identified as it creates dead patches in the lawn and makes the lawn feel very spongy. A simple core extration will easily display the depth of the thatch layer in your lawn.
The levels of thatch in a lawn can be controlled through scarification which is the process of mechanically raking the lawn removing much, although not all of the thatch which eases soil compaction allowing air and nutrients into the grass roots to grow healthier.
Your lawn may also benefit from hollow tine aeration to open up channels to allow air and moisture through the thatch and allow the bacteria that break thatch down to develop.
In addition you can help too much thatch from building up throughout the year by keeping your lawn clear of debris such as grass clippings and dead leaves.
What Is Snow Mould?
Fusarium patch, also known as snow mould, creates brown or yellow patches on lawns, particularly in autumn or winter and is a sign that the lawn may be under stress. Snow mould fungi are active at temperatures above freezing in moist conditions. These conditions occur most frequently under snow cover or anything else that causes a layer to cover the grass such as fallen tree leaves.
The disease is first highlighted by small patches of yellowish, dying grass turning brown that rapidly increase in size due to the wet weather. There are two types of the disease; grey (typhula incarnate) and pink (microdochium nivale). Grey snow mould usually only occurs after prolonged snow cover whereas pink snow mould may be active in cool, wet conditions.
Ensure the lawn dries rapidly after rainfall by ensuring the lawn is well aerated to assist drainage and encourage water absorption from the surface to the roots.
The best way to prevent snow mould from occurring is to maintain a healthy lawn, ensuring that it is regularly scarified and aerated and embark on a regular mowing practice, particularly in winter time. Also ensure any debris is removed from the lawn as quickly as possible.
What Are Leatherjackets?
Leatherjackets are the larvae of the crane fly, or as it is most commonly known the daddy long legs. The female crane fly will lay up to 300 eggs during the autumn which hatch within a matter of weeks. Once hatched the larvae wreak havoc on your lawn by attacking the grass root or encourage predators such has birds, badgers and foxes to dig for these juicy morsels.
Once the larvae begin to eat the grass roots, the lawn will develop yellowish/brown patches and dies. By lifting a small section of the turf, you will be able to see the leatherjackets in the affected layers of the soil. During periods of high rain fall the water forces the leatherjackets up onto the lawns surface making them visible to the human eye.
Biological Insect Control (also known as Nematodes) treatment can only be used in the right conditions – the soil temperature must be above 12 degrees so application is recommended between July and October. Furthermore, the soil must be moist in order for the nematodes to survive once applied. In preparation of the application the lawn should be mowed and spiked to ensure that the nematodes have maximum opportunity to reach the pests inhabiting in the top layer of soil. The nematodes will be mixed with water and applied to the lawn using a back pack sprayer.
Read more about Leatherjackets here.
What Can Be Done To Maintain A Green Lawn?
It is very important to increase the height at which the mower cuts the lawn – the higher the better! This will avoid putting the lawn under more pressure and weakening the turf, it will avoid scalping, reduce moisture loss and maintain a far greener and healthier looking lawn through the summer.
If you wish to retain a green lawn, you will need to apply water. This should be done when the soil becomes dry, but before the grass becomes pale or brown.
How Often And How Much Should You Water?
If there is no rain, the lawn should be watered at least once a week. It is best to water heavily to allow real penetration into the soil rather than “little and often” which encourages shallow rooting and a weaker plant.