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Top Tips for the ‘Perfect’ Lawn.

Does looking at the lush verdant grass at Wimbledon make you jealous?

Were you green with envy when you saw the beautifully kept lawns at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show? Well, we can understand that; most people could only ever dream of having a lawn that is beautifully maintained.

Then again, large prestigious venues do have a large number of ground staff dedicated to the task. Sadly most of us are not in that position. Never the less, you too, can have a beautifully manicured lawn if you’re prepared to give your grass a little TLC. It’s unlikely to ever meet the exacting standards of Wimbledon or Hampton Court, but with hard work you too could have a lawn that will be the envy of your neighbourhood.

So here are Ladybrook Nursery’s top tips for the perfect lawn.

Mowing.

The secret to a beautiful lawn is mowing. But how often should you mow the grass? Well, the answer is little and often. Regular cutting not only keeps the lawn thick and tidy; it also deters weeds.

For most lawns, at the start of the year set the mower blades to 3cm (1.25in) and cut the lawn about once a week. When the grass grows faster during the spring and summer, lower the blades to 2cm (1in) and you may need to cut up to twice a week.

During long dry spells, mow less frequently, let grass grow longer, and don’t use summer feeds that will make lots of new growth. If you are in a drought area your lawn may turn brown in summer, but learn to live with this rather than using a sprinkler and it will soon recover when it rains in autumn. If, however, you do decide to water the grass, then it is best to do so in the morning as the sun will help dry the grass; and it is also vital that you water thoroughly to ensure the moisture penetrates the roots.

It’s also vital to keep the mower blades sharp. A dull blade tears the grass, resulting in a ragged edge that makes the overall lawn look grayish-brown. Sharpen or replace the mower blade when it shows signs of wear — or at least once a mowing season.

Tidying edges.

Tidy lawn edges are the secret to keeping grass looking neat and tidy. Trimming the lawn’s edges will prevent it from spreading into borders. After mowing, trim any grass that overhangs the edges with long-handled edging shears or a rotary trimmer.

Re-cut edges each spring using a half-moon edging tool. For straight edges, cut against a plank of wood and for curves, trim along an old hosepipe laid on the ground – leave a vertical edge about 7cm deep.

Parts of an edge that have been severely damaged are easy to repair. Use a spade to slice through the turf, cutting out a small rectangular piece from around the damaged area. Lift from the ground with the spade and turn it around, so the damaged part now faces the lawn. Press down firmly and fill the damaged area with compost. Sow grass seed over the compost and water.

Feeding.

Feeding regularly with a lawn fertiliser will make it greener and thicker, which helps it resist weeds and moss. What type of fertiliser is best? Well, there are different formulations depending on the time of the year you are feeding, and there are also certain feed and weed products which will kill moss, while providing nutrients to the grass.

Removing weeds.

Unless you are an absolute consummate professional you will have to learn to tolerate a few weeds in your lawn. They’re inevitable unfortunately. However, to stop weeds from gaining a roothold in your lawn before they even germinate by using a pre-emergent herbicide. This type of product controls the dreaded crabgrass, as well as other hard-to-eliminate weeds, by stopping their seeds from sprouting in your lawn. Use a pre-emergent early in the spring.

If small patches or single weeds need to be removed, pull them up by hand with the help of a daisy grubber tool or similar device. This helps to get the deeper roots of perennial weeds out. Alternatively, apply spot-treatments with a dab-on weed killer that can be bought in tubes. Use a selective weed killer on lawns with large colonies of weeds, such as creeping buttercup.

Repairing patches.

If your lawn has a sunken patch, repair by making an H-shaped spade cut across it with a half-moon edging tool and then peel back the two flaps of turf over the hollow. Add some topsoil, level and firm down the flaps. Fill in the gaps left by the cuts with more topsoil.

If part of the lawn is used regularly as a path, prevent it from becoming worn away by laying stepping-stones. Dig out paving-slab slices of turf and set these just beneath the surface of the lawn so a lawn mower can pass over them safely.

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