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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Scarification assists in the removal of the dead grass leaves that will turn into thatch. The older turf grass leaves will naturally fall off the turf grass plant with new ones emerging and these old leaves will drop down into the turf sward and build up as leaf litter debris if not collected by the suction action of the mowing process.
The scarifying process should be performed in the Autumn and Spring periods and as part of a complete renovation programme and in the normal lawn growing season, not outside it. For routine scarifying, little and often in different directions is the best method to adopt for a domestic lawn.
Most Scarifying machines have solid / rigid metal blades and these can be quite rough on the lawn’s surface if not used correctly and at the incorrect time of the year. There are also wire comb reels that are great for a light clean up following the winter on better quality lawns and croquet lawns and tennis courts for example.
It’s always best to mow the lawn in multi directions ahead of scarifying as this will reduce the vegetative volume of grass and make it much easier for the Scarifier to do it’s best on the day.
Clear the Scarifier debris with a rake or blower, working in the direction the machine last travelled and then mow the lawn afterwards to tidy it up and collect any debris that was missed during the clear up operation.
Aerate after Scarifying. The lawn should be fertilised and then over-sown with grass seed following ahead of any top dressing to restore the micro levels.
Aeration aids root development, air percolation, drainage and allows the roots to breathe. It should be performed in the Spring and Autumn periods and also as part of a complete renovation programme.
Whether you use a pair of aerating shoes, a garden fork or a mechanical aerator, the important aspect is to aerate with what you have available or can hire in as doing nothing will not help the lawn one bit.
The majority of lawns require deep solid tine aeration, and then hollow tining every 3 to 4 years to assist in thatch reduction. You can also use over seeding tines and chisel tines.
Birds love Earthworms, Leatherjacket Larvae and Chafer Beetle Larvae. When food is in short supply, flocks of large birds like Rooks and Blackbirds will come to your lawn to rip up the surface to get to the tasty grubs below.
Do not underestimate the damage birds will do to your lawn if there is a rich food source underneath. They control Earthworms naturally thus reducing the number of worm casts on your lawn which is a bonus.
What can you do to deter them? Sonic bird scarers, fake Owls on the fence, tie old CD’s onto bamboo canes with string so that they move in the wind and reflect the sun to naturally scare the birds off. You can get tape that you fix to a fence post that glitters in the wind and sun. Get a dog or cat. Formal bird scarers include automatic gun shot strings, a Scarecrow, and gas powered bangers to name a few.
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.
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.
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
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.
Fusarium Disease is commonly found on new and old lawns and generally appears during the Late Summer to Spring periods. It can commonly be seen on newly laid lawns and is not the fault of the turf grower or landscaper. Welcome to new lawn problems!
Left uncontrolled, it will totally kill a lawn and although a change in cultural practices can prevent an outbreak, it can only be effectively controlled using a Turf Fungicide.
Improving your turf culture practices may prevent an outbreak, to include: Aeration, reducing thatch, dew removal, correct fertiliser applications and frequency of fertiliser to name a few.
See the Technical Leaflet in the Download section of this site to discover more about Fusarium Disease
Lawn Weeds need controlling in the growing season as and when you see them with a Selective Weed Control product. This will the weeds that are present at the time of the application but some weeds may take another treatment some 6 weeks following the initial treatment.
Do not mow three days or after following a treatment to allow sufficient time for the control product to work.
Make sure that you follow the label and calibrate your chosen garden sprayer.
There are two main weed periods. Firstly control the over wintering weeds earlier in the spring time and then treat again to control the finer clover type weeds in the early Summer months.
Lawn Weeds compete for water and light and grow more quickly than turf grasses so if you have many weeds, you could be doing more mowing.
A healthy lawn should not have any weeds in it.
Always ‘Feed’ before you ‘Weed’ so that you do not ‘check’ the grass and stress it out when making the treatment.
Worm Casts should be controlled in the period Autumn to Spring when they are active in the upper root zone.
The treatment product CastClear prevents the Earthworms casting for a 20 day period but does not stop them naturally aerating the soil beneath the grass. Repeat every 20 days at 1/3rd of the initial dose rate.
Squashed Worm casts make an ideal growing medium for moss and weed spores/seeds.
As the soil air to water ratio changes in the more traditional autumn months, you will notice an increase in lawn soil cast activity. The wetter the Autumn or Winter, the greater the Worm activity will be.
The root zone of the lawn will become spongy as the Worms undermine the upper surface and mowing will become difficult, especially with a cylinder mower. The use of the lawn will diminish as a result of the soil casts on the surface making the lawn uneven, bumpy and also muddy.
See the Technical Leaflet in the Download section of this site to discover more about Worm Casts
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