Revive Your Grass!

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It’s rare that we boast of a summer like the one we’ve had this year.  It’s been a cracker, but unfortunately our poor old grass has taken a beating, resulting in most lawns turning brown.  Read on to find out how to repair a brown lawn to its previous magnificence and maintain a green lawn for longer next year. 

First off, check it is just brown grass and not dead!  They are different things!  Brown grass is in a dormant state and the little bit of rain we’ve had over the last few weeks should have brought it back to life.  It generally takes a couple of inches of steady rain to encourage greening after summer drought.  You may (like me) find that although most of your lawn has revived it is a little patchy and thin in areas.  However, if your grass has totally recovered all you need to do is:

1)  Keep your mower on a high setting until the middle of next spring.
2)  Give the lawn a generous feed with autumn fertiliser such as Green Force Autumn Lawn Feed (£29.99, 750m²) to strengthen roots, feed the grass and protect during the winter months.
3)  Spike the lawn to ensure penetration of further rainfall.
4)  Next year, vary your mowing height – Keep high at the start of spring and lower as things warm up.  Raise again for summer (if its dry) and lower again as growth picks up in early autumn.  Raise again for the last few cuts of the year.

 

If your lawn is still patchy…

Don’t delay in treating thin or bare patches as they will very quickly become a target area for weeds, weed grasses and moss.  Once established they create even more work so you need to repair all areas with your chosen grass seed before problem plants appear and take over, we recommend using Scotts Miracle Gro Patch Magic (£18.99, 1.5kg). 

 

Now you are ready to start the repair process:

Begin by scarifying your lawn to clear away any dead material.  Leaves can be a major cause of problems if not cleared up quickly.  Dead Materials can make the grass underneath turn yellow due to the lack of light reaching the grass.  Rake the leaves into a pile and then pick them up and put them into a bag with some compost activator like Garotta.  Make some holes in the bag to allow air to get in and put them out of the way for probably a couple of years so they rot down.   Leaves take a lot longer than normal garden waste to rot down so you should not add them to your compost heap unless you can shred them. 

If need be, apply a moss killer which can be found on their own, for example Vitax Green Up Lawn Sand (from £7.25 a tub), or combined with lawn fertilisers such as Evergreen Mosskil (from £9.29 a bag). 

Spike/aerate your lawn to ensure good drainage and help hinder the onset of moss.  Once aerated, apply your chosen grass seed and fertiliser. 

 

What’s the difference between autumn lawn fertiliser and spring ones?

The main difference is that the autumn fertilisers have much less nitrogen (greens up the grass and gets it growing) and more phosphates.  Phosphates stimulate root growth and this is important to strengthen the roots and prepare them for the winter ahead.

Secondly, you won’t find any weed killer in autumn fertiliser.  The reason for this is that the method of weed killing in spring lawn products works by stimulating the growth hormone in weeds (which is different to the one in grass) so that the weeds grow faster than they can take up nutrients and water so die.  Weed growth reduces greatly in autumn so the weedkillers are not as effective.


Tips for maintaining a green grass for longer next year are:

-   Match your mowing height to the conditions.

-   Water only when the lawn tells you to, not because you think you should.  Your soil type, grass type, exposure to the sun and wind are just a few of the factors that will determine how often you need to water.  Signs to look out for are the lawn becoming dull in colour, losing its ‘springiness’ (footprints remain in the lawn rather than springing back to shape).

-   Maintain good fertility as this helps grass tolerate heat stress and make deeper roots.

-   Aerate the lawn to keep the surface open to showers.


 

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