Here are our top ten lawn care mistakes.  Lawn care is a science and like all sciences there is a requirement to follow a sequence like a flow chart and also to keep everything in balance too. 

Tip the scales or be too reactive and your lawn will suffer, get diseased, go thin and less dense and sometimes die.

In no particular order, here are some of the errors we see when out and about visiting lawns:

1. Mowing too low and infrequently and always in the same direction

Well, that’s a three in one to start!  It is important to mow at least weekly in the main growing season and continue to mow throughout the early spring and winter months too if ground conditions permit and the grass is growing albeit slowly.  Why do lawn owners mow their lawns so short too?   Do not remove any more than 25% of the grass growth each time you mow and nothing less than 12mm in height unless you have a super dooper fine lawn like a bowling green.  Most grasses are tufted in growth so change the mowing direction each time you mow to keep the grasses growing upright.

2. Watering too much

Do not reach for the lawn sprinkler at the first sniff of a drought.  The grass is tougher than you think, well, healthy desirable turf grasses are.  Weed grasses not, nor some weeds.  Grasses will naturally go brown but the grass will not die if the plant is healthy and will soon come back to life when moisture levels improve.

3. Failing to maintain a dense sward and ground cover

Weeds and moss do not make up a lawn, never have, never will, neither do weed grasses.  Weeds and moss are indicators that you are neglecting the grasses.  Do something about it.  This is unless you want a wild flower meadow of course.

4. Infrequent fertiliser applications

Most people will only feed their lawn once throughout the year.  It’s a bit like having a baby and not feeding it.  Fertilise every three months from February if the weather is mild.  Make a moss killer and lawn fertiliser application in the early spring, an early summer fertiliser and selective weed killer once you commence regular weekly mowing, follow up with a spring and summer lawn fertiliser in early to mid summer and maybe a further selective weed killer application to tidy any stray weeds up and then follow up with an autumn lawn fertiliser (or use a spring summer fetiliser at half the normal rate if you have some left over) and maybe a second moss killer to retard any autumn/winter moss.  Start again in February.  your lawn will love you for it as each time you mow, you remove some nutrients.  Your neighbours will hate you!

5. Non removal of weeds and moss

You should only have turf grasses in your lawn!  Moss and weeds are indicators of poor lawn management.  Get rid of the weeds and moss, scarify, aerate, fertiliser, over seed and top dress with a loam or recycled compost.  This will go a long way in restoring the lawns’ surface.  Buttercups are known to habit wet areas, Yarrow, dry areas, Plantains and Knotgrass survive heavily compacted and worn areas.

6. Blunt mower blade

It’s all about presentation.  The rotary mower blade is flying round at around 60 mph so it’s easy to damage the grass too by leaving a ragged tip after the mowing session.  Your eye will pick up on the browned damaged tips caused by a blunt and or damaged mower blade.  The grass tip should have been cut straight across without any straggly bits on the end.  If you do’t see this, buy a new blade as trying to re sharpen it on a stone or wheel can unbalance the mower.  They don’t make them like they used to.  Always remember to remove the spark plug or mains plug before attempting to remove a mower blade or perform any mower maintenance.

7. Never over seeding the lawn

Grass seed is a cheap commodity and like shrubs and plants, turf grasses do not last a lifetime.  We often see lawns that are 30 years old or older and they have ever been re seeded!  Always plan to over seed after the removal of weeds and moss and scarification and aeration.  If you have bare areas, then get some grass seed into these areas otherwise the areas will be filled with weeds and moss.  Young lawns can suffer sooner, especially newly turved ones, when it’s easy to think, I have a ice new lawn, it will not require any fertiliser or maintenance apart from mowing.  A false economy and after so much moey would have been spent getting it renewed too.  Protect the investment.

8. Being too reactive with mechanical operations

Lawn care should be a planned operation, a bit like mowing.  Always follow the correct sequence of mechanical operations.  Mow first, then scarify, then mow again, aerate, fertilise and over seed and top dress.  Follow this sequence  even if you do not perform all the above treatments and mechanical operations.

9. Being unaware of or slow to react to pests and disease problems

Correct and timely diagnosis of pests and diseases is so important!  A telepone conversation with a lawn owner only today highlighted that an untreaded severe Chafer Beetle Larvae iinfestation problem was untreated and the lawn was renovated at great expense only still to have the insect larvae problem and now a knackered lawn!  If you get lawn insects like Chafer Beetle and Leatherjacket Larvae munching away at the grass roots, you are unlucky.  Losing your lawn to them is fool hardy and they should have been treated sooner to eradicate them.  Lawn diseases are in the main indicative of incorrect mowing or feeding.  Some can be the result of over feeding so getting the balance and frequency is so important.  Red Thread, Fusarium Disease, Dollar Spot, Rust, Leaf Spot, Chafer Beetle Larvae, Leatherjacket Larvae, Wire Worm, Worm Casts.

10. Non frequent removal of leaves and debris

Dead pine needles and leaves kill turf grasses.  Keep the surface clean at all times, especially in the autumn when clearing leaves is a right chore!  Little and often is the key and also removal, not leaving them in piles for picking up later.  Leaves and debris is easier to blow, rake from mown lawns than lawns that have not been mown all autumn through to the spring time.   Even in the summer months, leaves can shed a lot of debris like needles and the physical weight of these on the lawns surface can have a flattening effect.

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