Although this winter it has not been particularly cold, it has been wet since a dry January. Lawns are in need of a little TLC to get them ready for summer and March is the ideal time to get your grass match fit.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to lawns these days and most of us are reluctant to use weedkillers on lawns. Many people have decided to let areas of lawns grow long, to benefit wildlife or to accept some weeds in the lawn because these weeds bloom, benefiting bees. I don’t use weedkillers so the clover flowers profusely in summer – it makes mowing a slow job sometimes as I have to stop to let the bees fly off before I mow! In some gardens it is possible to leave an area of grass to grow long but many gardeners still like to have at least part of the grass mown to make a foil for borders and an area to walk, sit and play.
But chemicals are not the only way to keep weeds down. Regular, frequent mowing helps to stop weeds sowing and growing and keep the turf dense and strong so it smothers out weeds. Feeding is also vital for a green, healthy lawn. Lawns should be fed, twice a year: with a spring feed that is high in nitrogen and in autumn with a feed that is higher in potash to toughen it up for winter. Over winter, heavy rainfall leaches out nitrogen from the soil that is needed for healthy, green growth. So a spring fertiliser replaces this and boosts growth.
A granular fertiliser can be applied via a spreader or by hand and will feed the lawn for several months. Some people are reluctant to feed their lawns because they fear that the grass will grow more quickly and need to be mown more often! But a starved lawn will never look good, it will be prone to moss and weeds and if you only mow once every fortnight in summer, scalping it so it is left with yellow patches, you will weaken the lawn and invite weeds in. So feed your lawn, mow little and often and your lawn will be healthy and less work.
You can use liquid lawn fertilisers but these need to be applied with water every few weeks in summer. They act quickly to give a fast ‘green up’, but bear in mind that we may not be able to use hoses in summer!
This is also the perfect time for sowing a new lawn and for laying turf. You can also repair bare patches in the lawn with seed and ‘patch packs’ that contain seed, compost and fertiliser are perfect for this.
On existing lawns, tidy up the edges to give the garden a spruce up – nothing makes a garden look tidy more efficiently than a mown lawn and neat edges!