How to serve up your own championship lawn

DLF-Trifolium Græsplæne / Roskilde Foto: Søren Wesseltoft 28.06.2012

Wimbledon is a British institution, and for many heralds the start of true summertime.  But Wimbledon would be nothing without the glorious green lawns which provide the backdrop to the tears, tension and celebrations that make its one of the most exciting annual sporting events.  However very few people realise how easy it is to create their very own Wimbledon-worthy lawn at home. Here Guy Jenkins from Johnsons Lawn Seed – the UK’s leading UK premium grass seed supplier – explains how.

First service – Backing the No.1 seed

Wimbledon lawns are created using 100% amenity perennial ryegrass of the highest quality.  The mixture used is quite simply one type of top grade ryegrass, similar to Johnsons Lawn Seed’s ‘The 1’ – new for the 2015 season – (prices start from RRP £7.99 for a 500g carton).  The difference with premium blends and budget brands of grass seed are the mixtures used – often unsuitable agricultural grasses are employed to bulk the pack out, so be on your guard.  Before you look to buy your seed, use the Johnsons Lawn Seed product selector (http://www.johnsonslawnseed.com/seedselector.php) to make sure you get the right seed for your garden.

Tie break – avoid carving up the court with infrequent and heavy mowing 

Cutting the grass plays a huge part in maintenance – yet if done incorrectly the damage to the grass plants you have sown and nurtured will only serve to set your championship lawn up for an early exit.  At Wimbledon, the courts are cut very short on a daily basis, leaving a dense carpet of strong but fine leaved grass plants.  But not everyone has a team of groundskeepers looking after their grass, so be realistic and aim for twice a week.

For the first cut of any newly sown lawn, avoid mowing any lower than 1¼ inches.  All grass plants will naturally grow vertically, towards the light, so if left growing will become tall and sparse in the cover they provide.   By effectively pruning at the right height – cutting just the outer leaves at the top – the lower leaves can develop into thicker, stronger plants.  If your lawn looks sparse, or has weeds filling the gaps, this is often a clear sign that you are cutting too short.

  1. Match point – getting back to the roots

Making sure the root system of your grass is the healthiest it can be is also very important.  The Wimbledon lawns feature complex drainage systems beneath the turf, so to ensure you are thinking along the same lines, make sure to aerate your lawn in the dormant season – autumn being the best time for this.  During summer however, just make sure the ground is not too waterlogged or compacted, by avoiding over watering or feeding.  Conversely, letting your lawn dry out will result in cracks exposing the roots, causing the grass to thin out and making it easier for weeds to take over.

Championship lawns, like champions, aren’t created overnight. However if you start planning now, choose the right seed, mow at the correct height and make sure the ground beneath the grass is in good shape, you’ll be all set to host your own home-grown tennis tournament next year.

Find out more

Johnsons Lawn Seed, one of the UK’s best known lawn brands, is a supplier of varied and specialised lawn solutions.  Developed with skills and expertise, the company offers a variety of lawn seed products so no matter how you use your outdoor space, there is sure to be a product ideal for you to create your perfect, luscious lawn in time for next year.  To find out more about Johnsons Lawn Seed, please visit www.johnsonslawnseed.com

Best types of lawn seed for home grown Wimbledon lawns

The Defending champion

Johnsons Lawn Seed – Quick Lawn (prices range from RRP £4.99 for 250g – £34.99 for 5kg), featuring added seed dressing ‘Gromax’, is the best choice seed blend for a hard wearing yet fine lawn.  Sow between March and October.

The Favourite

Johnsons Lawn Seed – The 1 (RRP £7.99 for 500g, £17.99 for 1.5kg) represents the latest technology in grass seed.  It’s larger than average perennial ryegrass seeds have more energy making them quicker than ever to germinate and establish – without having to mow more frequently than normal.  The 1 also develops deeper roots meaning it is more resistant to drought and maintains better colour throughout the summer months.

The Showboater

Johnsons Lawn Seed – Luxury Lawn (prices range from RRP £4.99 for 250g – £34.99 for 5kg) – a premium blend of top quality fescues and bents, ideal if you are aiming for a more ornamental lawn and want to achieve Wimbledon stripes with your roller.