General

Go into any garden centre or DIY chain store and look at the plethora of lawn care products on offer and you will be spoilt for choice. Machines for grass cutting, those which will aerate, scarify and sweep; chemicals to make your lawn grow more quickly or slowly, make it greener, kill weeds and moss and quite possibly do the Hokey-Cokey. Simply remember that grass likes fertile conditions while weeds usually like poor conditions.

Many years ago I was talking to a gentleman who, as a young man in the 1930's had been an under gardener on a large estate. In late spring the tennis courts were divided into yard wide strips and the garden staff were allocated a strip to weed by hand. Woe betide any youngster who's strip showed perennial weeds during the season. While we offer a complete lawn care service we do not go quite that far.

How you go about treating your lawn is a matter of personal choice. Where possible we use water soluble chemicals simply because most granular lawn treatments rely on either rain or irrigation to break them down. Usually we will only apply one chemical treatment a season. Mowing a lawn regularly will keep annual weeds under control and perennial weeds can be spot treated. Modern multi-clip or mulching mowers put the clippings back into the lawn where they break down and act as a fertiliser.

Grass is just another plant and as such, will thrive in specific conditions. Give it those conditions and it repay you handsomely. A bowling green type of lawn is expensive to achieve and maintain we advocate a more casual approach. For most of us a tidy lawn at the front and a recreation area in the back garden are adequate, these goals can usually be achieved without expensive treatments.

From preparation of the site to seeding or laying turf we can carry out the work or simply offer advice. We can even offer guidance on how your lawn can be green as the climate becomes hotter... without constant irrigation. We can repair that piece of lawn that is a cricket crease in summer and a goal mouth in winter.

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Climate Change.

It's been said that lawns are very thirsty and I've seen it suggested that you should reduce the size of your lawn or even dig it up entirely in order to save water. Before you get out there with the spade think on this, a lawn will process as much carbon dioxide as a tree which covers the same area. So if you dig up your lawn there is a danger that you will increase your household's carbon footprint.

So what can you do to keep a piece of green sward in your garden?

The vast majority of us never water our lawns anyway but if you insist on a bowling green type finish then you are going to have to irrigate. The quick answer is to let a little flexibility into your lawn care. Raise the blades on your lawn mower. The grass is better able to withstand stress if it has a larger leaf area. If you are going to water do it early in the morning or on an overcast day.

We normally recommend the application of a wetting agent as part of our seasonal lawn treatments but these are not generally available in pack sizes that make them affordable to individual gardeners. It stands to reason that manufacturers will realise that a market exists for these products and we will eventually see them on the garden centre shelves.

In the long term we will need to change the type of grass we use in our lawns. Traditionally we use grasses which are fairly shallow rooted so we'll have to use deeper rooted varieties such as the fescues. This does not mean digging up your existing lawn and sowing a new one. Simply overseed with drought tolerant varieties in the early spring. As the dry periods lengthen the shallow rooted grass will succumb leaving the more drought tolerant types in place. This may seem to be planning a long way ahead but this gradual evolution will pay dividends in the future.

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