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The early summer treatments will eradicate pesky weeds & lawn grubs and improve density and vigour


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How we can help bring your Early Summer lawn to life

Level

If you have a really old lawn or inherited one from a more recent house purchase, there is a probability that this old lawn is very unlevel and hard to maintain correctly.

Top dressing will restore micro levels with a soil mix material applied at around 8mm depth and worked into the surface to repair footmarks, wheel barrow and traffic marks and after the builders have left.

Is the high spot because the ground around it is low?  Can you build up these low spots and reduce any high spots?  If you lawn requires some major levelling, then the only option may be to kill it off with a Glyphosate total weed killer, let it die back, mow the dead vegetation, rotovate, rough level and import any new top soil and finish off at the final level to any pathways and patios and over seed or turf.  Always finish the soil level to match the level of hard landscaping even if turfing.

Turf

Laying turf is a real treat for any home owner.  Instant grass and enough to make the neighbours green with envy.

Turf can cost around £3.50 per square metre (supply only) plus the labour to prepare the ground and lay the turf.  You could be talking around £10.00 per square metre for a 100 sqm lawn complete installation.  Seed supply for this same area would cost you around £90.00 metre but not with such instant results.

When the turf delivery arrives, check it and let the driver know right away if there is a problem.  MAke sure that it contains no dissease or lawn grubs like Leatherjackets or Chafer Beetle Larvae.  Keep the new turf moist with a wet blanket, especially the ends of the rolls and allow a few rolls extra on the order, more if the lawn shape is not square or rectanglar.

Make sure that the ground where the turf is going to be laid is gently consolidated, level, moist, stone free and pre fertilised with a good granular fertiliser before the turf arrives.  Always work furthest away from the turf pallet and use scaffolding boards or flat sheet boards so that you do not walk on the new turf otherwise you will leave footmarks.  Get the sprinkler ready once the job is complete after a quick sweep and tidy up.  Be prepared to mow the new turf some 7-10 days following installation and do not remove more than 25% growth during each mower session until the lawn is established.  Mow in different direction and keep a good eye out for Fusarium Disease if the weather is warm and muggy.  Keep the dew off the new turf with a whippy bamboo cane or light brush or rubber rake.

Fertilise again every three months to keep your new green sward installation in tip top condition.

 

Seed

In the case of a new lawn installation, the choice of whether to turf or seed is down to the preference of the lawn owner and their budget.  Turf is 8 – 12 months old when it is harvested whereas it can take almost 6 months for newly sown grass seeds to get to the same point of maturity that turf is when it is laid.

One thing that we have learnt from experience is that lawn owners are so impatient when it comes to waiting for grass seed to germinate and establish.  It is not uncommon to receive queries from customers within two weeks of sowing a lawn as to when the seed will be showing it’s shoots and when might we be able to use the lawn.

Typically it can take three weeks for Dwarf Rye Grasses that are in a typical quality lawn mixture such as The Lawn Shop’s Emerald Lawn Grass Seed Mixture to get to one leaf stage.  Two leaf stages tends to happen a week later and three leaf stages around 4 – 6 weeks from sowing.

Best Tip – be patient, please

Factors affecting grass seed germination & establishment

  • Lack of water, you may think you are watering sufficiently but is the ground staying moist to a depth?
  • Natural water loss from sunny or windy weather, water loss can be 50% of any rain or irrigation applied to the lawn area on a hot day and you soon get a natural water deficit
  • The top few inches is always the area of the lawn that dries out first in dry or windy weather and this is where the grass seed is trying to germinate
  • Poor quality or old grass seed
  • Type / species of grasses in the mixture
  • Dry Patch areas in the lawn ahead of renovation, it will always be these areas that require a bit more encouragement and wetting agents will help greatly
  • Poor nutrition at time of sowing and during establishment.  Turf grasses need feeding too
    Inadequate mowing practices or height or frequency
  • Damping Off or Fusarium Disease
  • Dog Urine Burns
  • Weeds may develop amongst the new grasses and these can be controlled once the new grasses are strong enough to accept the weed killer
  • Wet weather
  • Autumn leaves smothering the grass seeds
  • Excessive foot traffic or wear
  • Worm Casts on the lawns surface or foot traffic smearing soil deposits over the new grasses, thus smothering them

Construction

If your lawn is way past its best, the existing lawns’ surface may need stripping off and starting over again. More often than not, the lawn can be renovated without major levelling and soil input by following a Lawn Renovation Process.

You may not currently have a lawn and wish to construct a new one, utilising either turf or grass seed.  Whether you are opting for a new lawn via turf or seed, the process of construction is pretty much the same but turf will provide more instant results.

Do not be fooled into thinking that once you have a nice new lawn that you can forget about it!   The minimum requirement is always fertilising the lawn every three months and reacting to control and weeds, moss and disease and to encourage healthy and dense grasses throughout the year.  You should allow a project budget of at least 25% for growing in and after-care for the next 12 months.  New lawns can often get an attack of Fusarium Disease and an outbreak is not the fault of the turf grower nor landscaper or installer – welcome to real grass and real grass problems!   Newly laid lawns, whether turf or seed, can quickly become thin with constant use and it is easier to over seed an existing but thinning lawn than to construct it again. London or City lawns will always struggle for an ideal balance of light, shade, water and wear which when in equilibrium, provide ideal lawn growing conditions.

We have project managed really small lawn construction jobs up to and including country estates so whatever the size of your lawn, we should be able to assist you so long as we are realistically able to service your geographical location.  It may be that you start the process of a booking a Lawn Consultancy visit as this can save you budget, time and growing a lawn pains on the project.

Please email sales@lawn.co.uk with as much detail as possible including size in square metres and some bullet points as to the problem/request and we can provide some sample costings for your consideration based upon past experiences.

Renovation

Renovation is a bit different to Construction.  If you have more weeds and moss than grass in your lawn, then you will need to be cruel to be kind and go for a complete Lawn Renovation. 

A good lawn should only have healthy desirable turf grasses in it and nothing else! This can be performed at any time throughout the growing season and if you decide to renovate the lawn in the Spring and Early Summer period, consideration should be given to watering and the use of wetting agents so as to allow the new lawn to develop as nothing will grow without adequate water.

You renovate an existing lawn surface by modifying the existing lawn by making Treatments, perform some mechanical operation like Scarification and Aeration and then apply Fertiliser and new Grass Seed (and sometimes new turf too) and Top Dressing.

You twiddle your thumbs, Water when required and wait for the newly renovated lawn to establish. Hey presto! A new lawn.

Dog

All lawn owners with dogs have been there.  Their green lawns polka dotted with brown pee marks from their beloved pooch.  There are the many old wives’s tales of adding tomato juice into their dogs’ food or water bowl to reduce the impact of their dog urine burn mark on the lawn. 

What causes lawn burns and how may they be treated?   Ammonia is released in urine as a part of normal digestion.  In strong concentrations ammonia can burn the grass leaving brown patches. There are effectively two problems to address: 1) How to safely lower the ammonia concentrations in the urine to stop further damage to the lawn. 2) Repairing the existing damage.

Bitches and pups usually squat to urinate, so the ammonia is concentrated in a small area that can cause quite a brown discolouration.   In the winter, dog lawn burns are less of a problem, because rainwater dilutes the ammonia.  It is in the summer months that brown lawn patches are seen more frequently, because the ammonia finds it easier to penetrate the dryer soil and get drawn into the grass.Get yourself some of your chosen lawn top dressing material in a large garden trug, mix in a few big handfuls of grass seed and mix throughly.  Use a big handful of seed/soil mixture on each urine patch and use the back of a soil rake to work the mix into the hole, finishing off with a level patch.  Repeat weekly or monthly as new uring burn patches appear.  You may fill up to 100 patches in this way on a regular basis.

You could also restrict the free movement of the dog in the garden so that some of your lawn area is protected from the late evening or morning doggy pee session.

Rabbit

How cute!  Rabbits like grass and digging holes in your lawn.  They will dig burrows in lawn embankments and leave bunny droppings in your garden.

We recall laying a new lawn and after a week, the client called us to come and check out why the grass was shorter in one area only.  We mentioned rabbit, they said they did not have any in the garden.  We visited the lawn to discover droppings just outside their usual eating area.

Rabbits can strip a lawn quickly if not controlled. If you keep Rabbits on your lawn, remember to move their hutch frequently and uniformly. Cheaper than a lawn mower but a little unpredictable.

Rabbits have almost 360 degree vision but they are born with their eyes shut.

You must obey the law to control rabbit numbers on your property or land. England (excluding the City of London and Isles of Scilly) was declared a rabbit clearance area under the Pests Act 1954.

You must control rabbits on your land in this area. If this is not possible you must stop them causing damage to adjoining crops by putting up rabbit proof fencing. If you don’t take action the Secretary of State for the Environment can enforce control and prosecute if this action is not taken.

You can control rabbits using these methods:

  • gas
  • traps and snares
  • fencing
  • ferreting
  • shooting

Fox

To discourage foxes from coming to your property you should secure food waste in bins and use fencing to protect pets and livestock from foxes. 

Foxes will dig up your lawn to eat some weeds such as the fern like Yarrow as they like the sweet tasting roots and also they will forage for Chafer and Leatherjacket Larvae.

If the problem persists you can use the control methods set out below, but you must not use gassing or poisoning or block or destroy fox earths if they are occupied.

You can use cage traps and snares to catch foxes.  You should check cage traps at least once a day to stop a captured fox suffering.

You shouldn’t relocate or release captured foxes. This will cause foxes stress by transporting and relocating them to an unfamiliar environment.

You must:

only use free-running snares, which relax when the animal is captured

  • check snares at least once a day
  • humanely kill any fox you catch while it’s in the trap or snare
  • release all other animals unharmed – except grey squirrels and mink, which you must humanely kill

You must not:

  • place traps or snares near a badger sett or where badgers are present
  • place snares in urban areas or public spaces
  • use spring traps

You can shoot free foxes using a suitable firearm and ammunition.  You shouldn’t use firearms in urban areas for reasons of public safety.   The British Association for Shooting and Conservation has a code of practice on shooting foxes at night(lamping).

Dogs – you can’t use dogs to hunt.  You can use dogs to stalk or flush out foxes above ground, but only to stop serious damage to your property. You must:

  • use no more than 2 dogs
  • shoot the foxes as soon as they break cover
  • carry proof that you own the land or have written permission from the landowner

You should only use repellents and deterrents approved for use against foxes.

Mole

Moles are cute mammals but the mess they make when they place a large mole hill of moist soil on the surface of your lawn is not so cute looking.

Moles are 15 to 20cm long with grey to black velvety fur. They have very powerful, shovel-like front limbs, used for burrowing underground. Moles, live most of their lives underground and exist on a diet of earthworms and other soil invertebrates. Moles are known to eat every four hours regardless of the time of day or night.

They can burrow up to 100 metres per night. They scour their network of tunnels during each feeding session, searching for food sources that have dropped or entered into the tunnels, making repairs where necessary to the network.

An 80g mole consumes about 50g of Earthworms a day.  Moles will also feed on soil-dwelling pests such as Garden Cock Chafer Beetle Larvae and Leatherjacket Larvae .  They have poor eyesight and use touch, hearing and smell to detect their prey and to help them sense danger.  Despite their poor eyesight, they are very light sensitive.  They dig two types of tunnel, both of which are 4cm or 5cm in diameter. Those immediately beneath the surface are dug by males looking for females during the breeding season (February to June).  Deep holes, between 5cm and 20cm beneath the surface, are used for breeding and feeding. Tunnels can be up to several hundred metres long.  Molehills on the surface are the means of disposing of excavated soil.  Nest sites are marked by large molehills. Females produce litters of three to five young. Their average lifespan is three years.  Apart from the breeding season, moles lead solitary lives so one animal could be responsible for the visible activity over quite a large area. Vacant tunnel systems are often re-colonised by another mole from an adjacent area.

Control measures include employing a professional mole catcher, traps, gas and repellents.

Best to remove the soil mound with a shovel as soon as you view it and before it gets spread out across the lawn in an untidy mess and use the soil in the flower border.

 

Fairy Ring

Fairy Rings are not easy to control, especially as there are three main types, which vary in their visual appearance and effect on the turf.

Do not consider digging them out!!  The fruiting bodies are not bad for your lawn as the Fungi are naturally occurring in health soils.  Apply a Wetting Agent to the area at frequent intervals and make the soil conditions unfavorable for the Fungi to survive.  Improving your turf culture practices may prevent an outbreak, to include: light surface aeration, applying a Wetting Agent, remove the fruiting bodies (mushrooms) rather than squashing them before you mow and applying fertiliser if you only have Type 2 which is a dark ring only to colour the lawn to match the darkness of the ring.

See the Technical Leaflet in the Download section of this site to discover more about Fairy Rings

Total Weed

Total Weed Control of weeds and weed grasses on non crop areas like pathways and driveways can be performed at any time during the growing season.

Total weed killers can come with many different modes of action and as a result are applied at varying times throughout the year. There are three main classifications of total weed killers – Contact, Systemic and Residual.

Contact weed killers, those containing the active ingredient of Diquat also written as Diquat dibromide, Westland Resolva 24H Concentrate is one god example that will kill the weed upon contact by quickly turning the weed foliage black.  You may remember the total weed killer Paraquat doing a similar task.  Apply Contact weed killers in the growing season when weeds are present.  Diquat may be joined in a control product by a Systemic weed killer such as Diflufenican or Glyphosate also written as Glyphosate diammonium.  Glyphosate stops the plant producing chlorophyll and treated weed grasses will turn a pink colour a week or so following application before total death. Weeds will take a bit longer to fully die.

Apply Systemic, also called Translocated weed killers in the growing season so as early as March to end of November but ideally April to September when what you want to kill is actively growing.  Systemic weed killers will kill what is there at the time and a repeat application may be required some 3 months following the first application to keep the area weed free.

The last group of total weed killers are Residual weed killers, applied usually to cold soils in the non-growing season as a blanket spray (all over) to prevent weed growth in the usual growing season occurring.  The active ingredients are held in the soil for a few months and form a proactive barrier killing germinating weeds and grasses before they mature.  Active ingredients will include Diflufenican, Oxidaizon.   Residual weed killers often have some Glyphosate in the mix to pick up on any green vegetation present in the area at the time of the application.  Gardeners make the mistake of only applying Residual weed killers in the growing season months of April to September when ideally they work better going forward if applied in November to March when soils are traditionally much colder.  The active ingredients naturally break down in drier and warmer soils into harmless elements.  It is an odd concept weed killing a gravel driveway when there are no weeds present but give it a go and this winter apply your weed killer containing the active ingredient of Diflufenican or Oxidaizon and you will visibly note a vast reduction of weeds coming through in the spring.

A typical weed control programme for gravel & non crop areas:

Jan/Feb – Apply Residual Weed Killer as blanket spray (all over) to cold soils to form a residual barrier in the soil to prevent pre germinated weeds and grasses.  Even if weeds are not present.  Weedol PathClear

May/June – Apply Systemic Glyphosate based product as blanket spray or spot spray to provide translocated weed control to weeds and grasses.  Repeat after 6 weeks if control not achieved of tougher weeds like Ground Elder and Brambles/Nettles Weedol Ultra Tough Weed Killer Concentrate

August/Sept/October – Apply Systemic Glyphosate based product as blanket spray or spot spray to provide translocated weed control to weeds and grasses  Weedol Ultra Tough Weed Killer Concentrate

Repeat annually. The important one is the Jan/Feb residual barrier spray treatment

How many times have you battled with trying to guess where you have or have not treated using a garden sprayer on your driveway or lawn?

Indigo Garden Spray Dye is a clever granule that is mixed into a garden sprayer containing your chosen treatment spray solution.  When you start spraying your lawn or driveway etc, Indigo will literally provide a temporary visible spray pattern to show where you have or have not treated / sprayed.  It will save you time, money, treatment product, effort and the guess-work when you make your next lawn treatment or driveway treatment. You can buy Indigo Garden Spray Dye in the Shop under Spraying Aids product category.

Leatherjacket

Leather Jacket Larvae are the Larvae of the Crane Fly or ‘Daddy-Long-Legs.  The Larvae require controlling during the Autumn to Spring period.

They are are about 2.5cm (1″ long), greyish black in colour, legless and with no distinct head.

They live in the soil for a year. They eat the grass roots, which then die. Birds, Foxes and Badgers can rip up a lawn to get at this tasty food source.

Do not repair a lawn until the pests have all died off.

There are no pesticide controls of Leatherjacket Larvae, only Biological Controls using Nemasys Leatherjacket Killer, a treatment containing Steinernema feltiae a species of nematodes which controls infestations of Leatherjacket larvae naturally, safely, and effectively.

See the Technical Leaflet in the Download section of this site to discover more about Leatherjacket Larvae

Red Thread Disease

Red Thread Disease is seen on lawns during the Late Summer to Autumn during still, warm and moist conditions making a poor visual.

You will notice pink needles that protrude from the leaf of the grass plants and also a pinkish mycelium on the surface of affected areas. It indicates low Nitrogen levels in the soil, thus an application of a lawn fertiliser will initially control it.

Improving your turf culture practices may prevent an outbreak, to include: Reduce Thatch, Apply Fertiliser at regular intervals, Grass Seed Cultivar selection and Dew removal.

See the Technical Leaflet in the Download section of this site to discover more about Red Thread Disease

Chafer Beetle

Chafer Grubs are the Larvae of the Garden Chafer Beetle, which require controlling during the Late Summer to Early Spring periods.

They can live in the soil for up to three years. They eat the grass roots, which then die.  Birds, Foxes and Badgers can rip up a lawn to get at this natural delicacy. They are creamy coloured with an orange head and are about 1.5 cm in length, they have 3 pairs of distinctive legs and will be found in the grass roots or deeper during colder weather.

Do not repair a lawn until the pests have all died off.

There are no pesticide controls of Chafer Beetle Larvae, only Biological Controls using Nemasys Chafer Grub Killer, a Biological Nematode treatment containing Heterorhabditis bacteriophora a species of nematodes which controls infestations of Chafer Beetle larvae naturally, safely, and effectively.

See the Technical Leaflet in the Download section of this site to discover more about Chafer Beetle Larvae

Wetting Agent

A Wetting Agent lowers the surface tension of water thus making it wetter. Soil naturally suffers from a condition called ‘Dry Patch’.  A programme of Wetting Agent Applications will alleviate the condition and ensure the percolation of any water natural or artificial, through the soil profile. It will conserve water if the water moisture content is consistent down the soil profile. 

It will conserve water by making sure that any available water will not run off and be wasted.  Can be added to irrigation systems too.

Dry Patch is a little known problem of turf in amateur lawn circles but one that has an incredible impact in ensuring consistent colour, growth, nutrient status, run of the ball and most of all visual impact and continuity of grass cover.

Dry patches that are hard to re-wet are the primary causes of lawn failure. If a lawn is renovated, it is always these long lasting dry areas that are the root cause of any seed failing to germinate and establish in these well marked and visual areas. You may notice a darkening halo on parts of the lawn, visible from the upstairs window. This is a good indicator that the soil underneath is starting to or has dried out.

This little known phenomenon is not only related to drought conditions but even if you are watering the lawn on a regular basis all throughout the year, some areas will still never become wet naturally to a depth, thus promoting grass growth in these areas.  The surface of these areas will become dry and crusty and thatchy and be void of grass that cannot grow without water.

A Wetting Agent is used to alleviate localised ‘Dry Patch’ areas on a lawn or grass area.  These areas have appeared because the soil-acting bacteria have made the soil hydrophobic (repelling water) and until you can get these areas wet again, nothing will grow.  Trying to wet an old bathroom sponge, almost impossible.

A by-product of their activity in breaking down thatch in the lawns surface is a waxy substance that coats the soil particles, thus preventing them absorbing available water. It is important to get the lawns surface wet to a depth and consistently even across the complete surface area of the lawn to aid uniform growth and colour and make treatments effective.  The Wetting Agent or Surfactant will reduce the surface tension of the water droplet and make water wetter making it easier to be absorbed into the soil and break down the waxy coating surrounding some of the soil particles. It is particularly good at reducing the activity of Fairy Rings by enabling you to get the soil in the immediate and not so immediate proximity of the fairy ring wet again.  It is a liquid detergent that is safe to use on grass of a minimal salt content.  Wetting Agents are available as a tablet that can be applied via a hose end diluter (like the Miracle Grow one shown) or in a liquid or granular form.

Please follow this programme to eradicate Dry Patch –

Apply once an evening in the first week – Curative

Apply once a week for the remaining weeks of the first month – Curative

Apply once a month thereafter between March and September – Preventative

If the grass trying to grow in these dry patch areas is dead, it is unlikely to come back if it is totally dead so some localised over sowing will be required.  Nothing will grow in the garden without water!

So if you have an area of your lawn that is failing to respond to fertiliser applications, over seeding and some general renovation and TLC, then it is probably a Dry Patch problem.  Get the soil wet again and you should be able to grow grass in these areas once again.  I use mine for general plant watering too and also for getting wet dog urine burns on the lawn just prior to and after seeding.

Turf Managers will apply a Wetting Agent to their turf monthly during the period March to September, often with a Seaweed soil conditioner as a tank mixture.  Making an application of a Wetting Agent to the turf way ahead before the soil dries out as a result of drought, will make any available water applied as a result of artificial irrigation or natural rainfall, will make the water wetter and ensure the even penetration of that water down through the soil profile.

It is possible to obtain a liquid wetting agent that can be dispensed via a side dispenser into the irrigation system.  The products are safe for plants and you will in fact require less water as the wetting agent makes water wetter, making it possible to penetrate dry soils easier.  They are quite effective products, one litre can treat 18 golf greens for example so if an irrigation system has a 100-litre diluter, you would only require a small quantity each month to be dispensed around the garden.  Localised problematic areas should be treated by hand to cure the problem as irrigation systems do not always provide 100% coverage across a lawn.  This can be achieved via a hose diluter and Wetting agents are also available in a granular form that is incorporated following aeration via a rotary fertiliser spreader.  They can be applied diluted with water as a liquid spray via a knapsack sprayer too.  Larger tablets the size of a small bucket can be introduced to the water inflow of an irrigation water storage tank.

If you have dying areas of grass on your lawn or areas that just will not grow, put your gardening knife into firstly a green area after watering or rainfall and then the problem area and cut out a small cube of lawn and you will notice that the dead or problem area is dust dry, much unlike the green area.  Apply a wetting agent to these problem areas to solve the problem, but follow the procedure mentioned above.

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