Here I bring you some lawn care tips, guidance on lawn maintenance and some general lawn care advice.
Lawn care is one of those gardening tasks that can take you as much or as little time as you are willing to give it.
In a sense, lawn maintenance is a never ending task because your lawn is a living thing.
It is subject to the effects of the living world around it – the insects and bugs in the soil, the animals roaming over its surface, you and your family walking, running and playing on it.
And then there’s the influence of the weather, which provides an ever changing environment in which the lawn has to survive and, hopefully, thrive.
Nevertheless, lawns are a virtually ever-present feature of modern gardens.
They are infinitely versatile and can be a relaxation zone, a football pitch, a play area or a design feature and foil for the trees, shrubs and plants displayed in the garden.
One of the reasons for the popularity of lawns is, ironically, that they are often seen as a low maintenance option.
To some extent, this is true. In temperate climates, a lawn will grow without much bidding from you. Indeed, in the right conditions it will grow and grow unchecked. And, if you are not looking for the perfect green velvet finish, you can keep your lawn serviceable, for a while at least, by merely giving it a mow every couple of weeks in the growing season.
However, lawns left to their own devices will undoubtedly deteriorate over time.
Left unmaintained, a lawn will cease to be a beautiful foil for beautiful border planting
A lawn may develop problems associated with soil compaction, poor drainage or the impact of pests and diseases.
A lawn may also consist of the wrong types of grasses for the climatic or other environmental conditions it is subject to.
And this can change as a lawn’s uses change. For example because some types of grasses are more hard-wearing than others, a lawn planted by an elderly couple for its visual beauty may not be able to withstand the impact of a family with 4 children and a dog if the property changes hands.
In all of these cases, the likelihood is that the lawn grasses will gradually die back and be replaced by weeds and mosses and other unwelcome additions.
Lawn care services and maintenances
So, in view of the lawn’s tendency to decline in quality over time, it is worth considering how you should go about caring for your lawn.
Of course there are lots of lawn care companies who will provide on-going lawn care services and lawn maintenance.
There are national companies like Scotts Lawn Care or Tru Green who will set up a maintenance program for you. These will involve varying degrees of work on the part of the company, according to how much you want to pay.
You’ll also find local lawn care services companies. These may be small operations offering a lawn mowing service, or businesses offering a full lawn maintenance approach.
As ever, work out what it is you need and shop around to find the best value deal.
Do-it-yourself lawn care tips and advice
However, depending on your own personal circumstances, you may want to take care of your lawns yourself and I’d certainly encourage you to do so.
Whilst there is lots of detailed lawn care advice around that will help you, there are 3 main lawn care tips that I think you should bear in mind when it comes to developing or maintaining a lawn.
1. Soil preparation
Lawns won’t thrive in soil which is compacted and/or poorly drained.
The underlying soil needs to be friable enough for the roots of the lawn grasses to penetrate and for water and nutrients to seep into the soil so that they are available to be taken up by the grass roots.
What this means is that when you are sowing a lawn or laying turf, you should take care to prepare the underlying soil well. Dig it over to at least a spade’s depth, remove all weed roots and large stones and rake it flat.
For existing lawns, you need to may need to add drainage to particularly poorly drained areas.
You should also at least ensure that you break up compaction by regular aeration and remove the build up weeds and moss by regularly scarifying the surface.
2. Right grass right place
Different grass species thrive in differentgrasses will not tolerate shade, while others, like Tall Fescue will. Some thrive in full sun, others don’t.
Different grasses will also suit different soil types. So you should find out whether you have sandy, clay or loamy soil.
Finally, some grasses are harder wearing and better suited to highly trafficked areas.
For the details on this, check out this guest article on choosing the perfect grass when planting grass seed, written for Lawn Tractor Buyers Guide by natural landscape designer, Tony Allen.
3. Regular Maintenance
As I said at the beginning of this piece, you can pretty much give over as much time as you want to lawn care maintenance; there is always something you can do. But, on the assumption that you have others things in your life you need to take care of, we can probably safely say that that your lawn maintenance time is limited.
Sacrify your lawn in spring and fall to clear thatch and weed build up
Of course there are certain things you will need to do on fairly regular basis, as necessary, during the growing season, such as mow and water your lawn.
But other than that, the minimum regular maintenance I’d recommend only needs to take place twice a year.
Spring and fall (autumn) are the optimum times in the year for lawn care, so I recommend that you should spend some time giving your lawns some attention at these times of the year.
A spring lawn care session and a fall lawn care session will probably be enough to keep your lawn in good order for the rest of the year, and in the long term.
- Read our piece on spring lawn care tips
- Read about the various types of lawn grasses and choosing the perfect grass when planting grass seed
- Lawn Talk from the University of Illinois
- Turf Files from North Carolina State University
- Return from lawn care tips to lawn tractor reviews – the home page