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Each month, receive tips on the top jobs needed in your garden as well as a wealth of information on a range of gardening topics. From sowing seeds to picking fruit, each month get access to information on the care and maintenance of your flowerbeds, vegetable plot and lawn. As with your own gardening diary, the journal is split into separate sections, each covering a different area of garden care.

Tuesday 11 April 2023

The Lawn Care Guide – April

Feed me, feed me

Grass is a plant the same as other plants and requires periodic feeding. In the long term, it will be beneficial in a number of ways, including colour and appearance, disease resistance, density and wear tolerance. But before we race out with a bag of fertiliser we need to identify our grass. Fine-leaved fescues need very little complete fertiliser, usually once a year is enough.

A lawn with a high percentage of rye grass–Lolium, or bent grass–Agrostis, needs more frequent application. For most of us, our lawns need just one application of a complete fertiliser containing the main foods the grass needs. These are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). However, a lawn that has to endure high levels of wear through the year may require more frequent applications of fertiliser, say, in spring then autumn. 

Soil type is another consideration, with grass on very sandy soil needing two to four light applications a year. For clay loam, silt loam and organic, it’s one or two light applications. In spring, once the grass is becoming active, it is the time to apply fertiliser but not too early in the spring as that can encourage disease. 

For the lawn with a lot of moss and thatch, you may choose a 4-in-one fertiliser, weed and moss killer such as Evergreen 4-in-one. Once the treatment becomes effective, you will need to rake out moss and thatch or scarify with the cassette on the garden tractor or mower or use a walk-behind scarifier/aerator. This is likely to leave bare patches which will need seeding with a good grass seed and overseeding for larger areas. 

With mowing throughout the season, the grass has little chance of laying its own seed, so it periodically needs this helping hand. Consider as well the possible causes of moss and a build-up of thatch. Drainage and getting air to the grass roots can be managed with aeration. Overhanging trees or bushes create shade and encourage moss so if you can, cut back branches to let the light in. 

Remember, don’t use a fertiliser with high levels of nitrogen and water after treatment if there is no rain. The other rule of thumb is the higher the height of cut, the healthier the grass will be. So, lower your cutting height gradually as you progress through the season.     

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