Maintaining a healthy looking lawn is easy if you understand how grass plants grow, writes Johnsons Lawn Seed’s Guy Jenkins
With barbecues, garden parties and all types of outdoor games taking place over the next few weeks – weather permitting of course – summer is a crucial time for the traditional UK lawn. Unfortunately, so many of us get it wrong when it comes to maintaining our lawns that we never really get a chance to enjoy our green spaces for the duration.
Cutting it fine
Irregularly mowing grass too short is one of the most common mistakes – and simply one of the worst things you can do to your lawn during the growing season! Close shaving grass simply starves grass plants – they can’t photosynthesize or retain moisture effectively or spread into a thick carpet – which leaves gaps that weeds will take full advantage of.
It’s time to get up close and personal – take a look at one of the many grass plants that make up your lawn – are the leaves visible or is it all stalk? If it’s the latter, you’re mowing too closely, so raise the cut to 1 ¼ inch for utility/back lawns and ¾ inch for luxury/front lawns during dry weather. You can actually get a little closer with Johnsons Lawn Seed’s blends, down to 1 inch for Quick Lawn and ½ inch for Luxury Lawn for example, but if you don’t know what you have – just play it safe and use the two thirds rule; i.e. only cut away the top third of your grass.
How often should I mow?
At the other end of the spectrum, leaving grass growing for too long a period can equally harm your chances. At any one time, there are usually several different species of grass plant in your lawn – each growing at different rates. If grass is left to grow, the finer leaved, luxury grasses that would usually thrive get swamped by the faster growing, taller grasses and weeds. Obviously, if it’s raining heavily or if you experience a period of dry weather, you can take a break, but in normal conditions, a twice a week trim during the growing season is usually the best course of action.
To mulch or not to mulch?
Many modern lawnmowers include a mulch feature that essentially returns finely chopped grass to the surface of the lawn. However, this feature is only really beneficial during hot weather and when weeds aren’t present – so just make sure that if you do have weeds in your lawn that you collect and dispose of them instead of spreading them back over your garden.
When little and often won’t work
As grass plants have relatively shallow, fibrous roots, you might think they would need a small amount of water, just to keep them moist, and attending in the same way as you would mow – frequently and in small doses. This could not be further from the truth – grass plants actually rely on a large reservoir of water so it is always better to fill this up during prolonged dry weather. Aim to soak to at least 4 inches below the surface – but watch out for overwatering – as of course flooding can also be very harmful to grass.
Up to 4½ gallons/20.5 litres of water evaporating per square yard every week, which gives you an idea of how important it is to keep the plants reservoir topped up. The most effective way to water a lawn is to use sprinklers, and really give it a good soaking – before it turns yellow! There are many different types of sprinklers and watering devices, so you’ll need to check with your local garden centre to see which are best for the size and shape of your lawn.
Find out more
The Johnsons Lawn Seed website has a wealth of hints and tips to help find the right grass seed for any garden, whilst also showing the additional benefits to using each blend.
To find out more about Johnsons Lawn Seed’s products, please visit www.johnsonslawnseed.com
For more information, interviews or images please contact:
Kimberley Hornby & Robbie Cumming, DLF/Johnsons Lawn Seed PR Team, Hornby Whitefoot PR
Kimberley Hornby Tel: 01604 373700 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Robbie Cumming Tel: 07765251173 Email: email@example.com