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Lawn Tips

How To Patch Up A Lawn With Grass Seed

If you are repairing a bare patch you will need to make sure you have good soil to seed contact.

  1. So use a rake to rough up the soil in the bare patch and especially around the edges.

  2. Sprinkle the grass seed evenly over the area and don’t forget the edges. The rate for sowing is approximately 25gm per square metre.

  3. Cover with some top soil or better still some Lawn Dressing which is a mixture of loam and sand, we would not recommend compost. A covering of about 5mm is about right.

  4. Apply pressure to the new soil by treading it down with your heels.

  5. Pray for rain or if you water it, be careful not to wash the seed away.

Grass seed germinates in about 11 days depending on conditions. Ideal conditions are when the soil is moist and at about 15 degrees centigrade. 

If you have a bare patch in a lawn consider what has caused it and try to alleviate the problem.

Is it taking too much wear?

Too Compacted, too dry too shady or roots or debris beneath the soil.

 

Topical Lawn Tip "Scarify Time" for scorched out lawns!

  • Annual scarification is absolutely necessary if you want a great lawn.
  • In autumn we scarify the lawns to remove thatch and debris that has accumulated during the mowing season.
  • This thatch build up will be choking the grass and making it difficult for the base of the sward to ventilate therefore allowing it to stay damp through the winter, an ideal environment for moss.
  • It’s a common misconception that we scarify to get the moss out, yes we do get a lot of moss out when we scarify but it’s nearly impossible to get all the moss out of a lawn.
  • A lawn will look a bit sorry for itself for a couple of weeks after we scarify it, but they do recover and look all the better for it next season.

Over Seeding

  • When we scarify it’s a great opportunity to over seed a lawn, because there is a greater chance of germination due to soil/seed contact.
  • Of course not every seed germinates, but generally by applying new seed every year we are gradually replacing the old stock grasses and keeping ahead of the wind blown poa annua that arrive in the swarth.
  • New grass has exceptional vitality and will help make the lawn lusher and greener.

Topical Lawn Tip "Leather Jackets"

  • Leather Jackets are starting to appear in droves, you will notice them when you are mowing the lawn this weekend.
  • You will also notice them on painted walls of the house.
  • What you’ll see are “Daddy Long Legs” or Crane fly. Just because you have a lot of them doesn’t mean that you have an infestation, but it could be building up trouble for next spring. (Pictures to follow, when it stops raining.)

Topical Lawn Tip "Red Thread"

Red Thread has come back to our lawns yet again this year see article in Daily Telegraph yesterday:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/08/13/eagrass213.xml

Trinity Lawns guide to "red thread"

  • For the past three weeks brown patches have been forming on lawns through out the area. These have been cause by red thread fungus.

    The picture above shows a typical red thread patch.
  • Sometimes you can actually see the fungus, which is usually a coral coloured blob on some yellowed off grass. The classic form which forms spiky antlers on the blade of the grass is sometimes seen, but not always.

Now you have it, what are you going to do about it?

  • I suggest unless it’s on the greens of a champion golf course, don’t worry about it. Its not going to cause any lasting damage and it will grow out and get mowed away.
  • Show it to your friends and wonder at the marvels of nature.
  • What causes it? Well I’ve been in the laws business for years and I’ve heard all sorts of reasons. Some people say its lack of nitrogen, this I believe is nonsense. I would say that the pathogens are present all the time in the soil and it only needs the conditions to kick them off.
  • Earlier we have escaped quite lightly with hardly any attacks in the spring, but in June and again now we are seeing it again on lawns.
  • The conditions are mild and wet, so it has been humid. This I believe is the ideal conditions to kick it off.
  • What would the professionals do about it? Well the green would have been treated well before now on a regular basis with a systemic fungicide. So it’s like taking out an insurance policy, but it could still happen anyway. Last resort is to use a contact fungicide and try to grow it out as quickly as possible with copious amounts of feed and watering.
  • So best just to put up with it or we can put down a cocktail of fungicides, contact & systemic along with some other lawn tonics. But we have to charge for it. The minimum treatment cost would be £50.

Topical Lawn Tip "Lawn Brown Out"

Whats happened to my lawn in the last week? It's turned brown while I went on a weeks holiday!

The picture above shows a very typical problem that is occurring just this week. Areas of the lawn actually look as though they are dying. Patches of grass have turned from a beautiful green colour to straw.

The particularly dry area on this lawn shows that there are still remains of an old path buried below it. Also it is being affected by the roots of a plum tree just out to the left.

This is absolutely natural behaviour and with a bit of rain just as we are receiving right now all should be well quite soon.

Its grass's natural defence mechanism to turn straw like during dry hot spells.

Will fertilizer help? Not until we get some rain, but it’s better to have it already on the ground so the rain washes it in rather than putting it down afterwards. But make sure it’s one of the non scorch controlled release types which are available. And you don’t need much or you will turn it into a grass factory as soon as the rains arrive.

Topical Weeds

Weed of the month

Convulvus or Bindweed

This is a big problem in the flower beds but no problem in the lawns. Get us to give it a spray of the right stuff and let it work down to the roots. Don’t use Glyphosphate (Roundup) on lawns, only use a selective gentle weed killer.

Topical Lawn Tip "Red Thread"

All you need to know about "red thread"

  • For the past three weeks brown patches have been forming on lawns through out the area. These have been cause by red thread fungus.

    The picture above shows a typical red thread patch.
  • Sometimes you can actually see the fungus, which is usually a coral coloured blob on some yellowed off grass. The classic form which forms spiky antlers on the blade of the grass is sometimes seen, but not always.
  • Now you have it, what are you going to do about it?
  • I suggest unless it’s on the greens of a champion golf course, don’t worry about it. Its not going to cause any lasting damage and it will grow out and get mowed away.
  • Show it to your friends and wonder at the marvels of nature.
  • What causes it? Well I’ve been in the laws business for years and I’ve heard all sorts of reasons. Some people say its lack of nitrogen, this I believe is nonsense. I would say that the pathogens are present all the time in the soil and it only needs the conditions to kick them off.
  • We have escaped quite lightly with it this year and I didn’t notice it on lawns till just three weeks ago (halfway through May) the conditions are very mild and wet, so it has been humid. This I believe is the ideal conditions to kick it off.
  • What would the professionals do about it? Well the green would have been treated well before now on a regular basis with a systemic fungicide. So it’s like taking out an insurance policy, but it could still happen anyway. Last resort is to use a contact fungicide and try to grow it out as quickly as possible with copious amounts of feed and watering.
  • So best just to put up with it.

Lawn Tips on how to have a great lawn

Feel proud of your lawn
When I get up in the morning and pull the curtains open, I feel a rush of pride as I look out at the lawn and see how well it’s growing and how green it is. I find it hard to put into words this feel good factor that sets me up for the day. Would you believe I actually love mowing the lawn now?

What’s the best mower to use?
My favourite machine is a Honda 21 inch Pro, it may not be the best mower to use but for me it’s certainly the easiest. I just bought a "new" one last week, when I say its new, its actually a 1992 model in perfect condition so it was well worth the £200 I paid.

Other excellent mowers of this type are:
Lawnflite
Sarp
Asuka DR021
These are all professional rotary mowers, they do cost a lot more than the domestic equivalent, but you get what you pay for. You should be looking ones that have a “rotor stop” mechanism, this means that you can empty the bag without stopping the engine. These ones all use a Honda engines of about 5.5hp.

I don’t like the idea of ones that have the recoil starter attached up on the handle rather than right on the engine.

Rear Roller or just wheels?
This depends on weather your lawn has a lot of beds in it with a lot of edges you have to be careful of. If you have a lot of edges then the rear roller is going to allow you to cut over the edge if you’re careful, but the wheel version is a bit lighter and more versatile if you have to do the long grass on occasions.

Why do I like this machine?
Well we bought one in 1982 and it only clapped out a couple of years ago. It still cuts well but you have to push it as the gear box has expired. 

The best mowers for cutting fine lawns are undoubtedly cylinder mowers and to box the grass off, but they take a great deal more maintenance and they probably cut too close for most of us.

Tidy the Lawn.

Raking the lawn is not just good for the lawn it’s a great way to work out. Get one of those rakes with the wide plastic tines, if it has a wooden handle all the better.

Make sure all the leaves are cleared up now, especially in those damps corners. Wet leaves will kill the grass beneath if left to rot on the lawn.

As you rake a lawn it is important to change arms and use the rake on the other side. I know this comes a little harder, but it is essential that you get used to raking from both sides if you are not going to cause injury or back strain. Don’t over do it, or force anything. If you persevere you will soon become an ambidextrous raker and get quite fit in the process.

If the lawn is dry there is nothing wrong with mowing it, as long as you only “top off” the grass, this will smarten up the whole garden.

Mowing Tips.

Try your best to change direction when you mow.

Why? This for two reasons, the wheels of the mower compact the soil in the same place causing a washboard effect in the lawn that makes the grass in between grow shorter, this is why some lawns some lawn have the moss only in stripes between the wheel marks. The second reason is that if grass is always cut in the same direction, it will eventually only be pushed over, this in turn allows the creeping grass species just to put out long runners.

Do not cut the grass too short.

Why? Because it’s a plant that needs it’s leafs if it’s going to stay healthy. It’s such a common mistake to think, “I’ll cut the grass extra short this week, so I can leave it next week.” This just doesn’t work, if your going on holidays, just leave it till you get back and just cut the top off it first. As a rough guide never remove one third of the length of the grass in one session.

Cut the grass at regularly.

Why? It’s a routine that’s essential if you want a great lawn, but traffic on a lawn is important to keep moss at bay.

Don’t Scalp the edges.

Why? Well this one is obvious but we are asked so often why moss has started up on the edge of a lawn and it’s nearly always because the mower has gone off the edge and scalped the lawn.

What sort of mower should be used?

Answer There is no doubt that when a lawn is mowed with a cylinder mower rather than a rotary mower the results are not only looks better but the whole turf is better maintained.

Why? This is because the grass is sheared and cut properly rather than just hit very hard by a blade. The tip of the grass is cut neatly and there is less likelihood of fungus or diseases. There is usually a light roller at the back of cylinder mowers which is gently firming up the soil and this action helps prevent moss.

But! This is all very well, but over 90% of people use the rotary type mower, that because it’s easier to use, cheaper to buy and requires much less maintenance plus it can usually handle a bit of rough grass treatment and the odd stone. So although it may not be the best, as long as the blade is kept sharp it is probably the best solution.

What about mulching mowers?

Answer As far as we are concerned the jury is still out on mulching mowers. We are firm believers in “Boxing off” the cuttings, and putting them on the compost heap. If you do use a mulching mower system, you must use it very regularly, and be prepared to scarify the lawn out every year. (A good idea anyway)

Having said this, here in Royston and I’m sure nearly everywhere else the council’s contractors do a great job of keeping the verges in very good order just by regular mowing with hydraulic triple mowers, which are cylinder mowers that don’t collect the clippings.

Visit Anglesey Abbey Garden

Even if you have been before, the winter walk never fails to delight and well worth a visit especially at this time of year.

Wednesday through Sundays, only 6 miles North East of Cambridge at Lode, signposted from the A14.http://www.angleseyabbey.org/gardens/snowdrops/index.htmlIf your quick you will just catch the snow drops.

More Snowdrops at Benington
http://www.greatbritishgardens.co.uk/benington_lordship.htm
If you visit Benington, its also a good excuse to have lunch in the Bell !
http://www.bellbenington.co.uk/web/index.htm

Debby's Garden Links 
http://www.debbysgardenlinks.co.uk/ 
Directory of categorised links to UK gardening related websites.

 

Testimonials

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     With apologies to Will Shakespeare, Tom Jones and others! 

     
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