Caring for your lawn in August
This month is the perfect time for getting our lawn in order so we can enjoy it throughout the winter months in the knowledge that it’ll be in great condition for next summer.
We all know the weather has been a little erratic here in Plymouth recently – a heatwave one minute which plays havoc with the garden by leaving scorched brown patches and then downpours of rain which leaves soggy, muddy areas around the borders.
The ‘to do’ list for August is:
- Get weeds under control
- Rake, scarify and over-seed
Maintaining your lawn
If you fancy a garden with a luscious lawn you first need to look at your lawn and decide whether it would it come back with fertiliser. Skip to the mowing section below, if the answer is ‘yes.’ Should it be ‘no’ then you have two options: It will be best to overseed if it’s looking a little worn out due to the erratic summer weather, but if there is not a lot of grass left and its 90% moss/weeds then a new lawn is going to be the best option. (I would recommend getting a pro in for laying new turf, especially on larger areas.)
Raking and scarifying
Scarifying is the process of digging into your grass, creating slits in the lawn to remove the build up of moss and thatch, if you do not do this when needed it will be detrimental to the regrowth of your grass and therefore damage your lawn.
It is an essential part of your dedicated lawn care, as thatch can choke the new grass shoots and undermine the health of your lawn, so this month is an excellent time for you to ensure your lawn retains its great condition.
August is seen as the month to scarify in our part of the world as it’s vital the conditions are good for growth and recovery.
Short, dry grass is needed for raking or scarifying so make sure your grass is the right height before you start.
Height is important as it means the grass won’t be shocked with the procedure and also allows the air deeper into the turf to help dry it out.
If the grass is too long it can create resistance to scarifying and make it hard work.
Plan to rake on a dry day with not too much moisture around so check the weather forecast. Your ground has to have good soil moisture though to insure the lawn can recover quickly so avoid long dry spells.
You can either use a scarifying machine, which can be hired, and has blades that can get deep into soil to create the slits needed.
It is also possible to use a rake – moss can be removed this way. Rakes are a lot more labour intensive especially if you have a large amount of lawn to work on.
Once this job is finished, it’s the time to fertilise and over seed.
Seeding can be done at this time of the year – late August or September.
If you have any weeds they need to be pulled out by the roots or use a weed killer otherwise they will keep returning.
Your garden will probably be well sheltered with shrubs and trees, so if you are over seeding it, make sure you choose a seed that is specifically for shady areas.
To over seed all you have to do is shake the seed over the lawn area which needs repairing, rake in the seed, put a light sprinkle of topsoil over the top and then lightly rake the soil in.
Normally I’d suggest that, if the weather is going to be dry, to use a sprinkler on the seeds but as the weather in Plymouth, is going to be so erratic over the next few weeks, I don’t think your going to need to worry about watering!
Mow off the top of your newly laid grass, when the grass is about 2 inches in hight and then weekly once the lawn is on its way.
It won’t take long, and you’ll see a green carpet again…
Mowing your lawn
If you have an already established lawn there are a few maintenance details you need to address…
If you are not against fertilising your lawn, you will need to apply weed and moss killer as well as fertiliser this month.
You need to mow regularly, at least once a week and if the moisture is sluggish, about every ten days. This will help thicken up the grass.
Cut down to about the height of 1 inch. Now if you have a mulching mower and you cut your lawn every 1 to 2 weeks then you do not need to collect the grass in fact its better for your grass not to. WARNING: If you have LOTS of weeds in your grass then collect the trimmings, once the weeds have been killed then mulch.
Don’t forget to keep your mower clean and sharp! If you need your mower blade sharpened then I fully recommend Plymouth Garden Machinery on Valley Road 01752 710121.
Fertilising and weeding
If you haven’t been so great at weeding throughout the summer, now is the time to do so – the ones to look out for are clover, yellow suckling clover, ragwort, plantain, speedwell and selfheal as well as the usual dandelions.
Moss can be a real nuisance and I find iron sulphate is great to tackle this issue if it is correctly used and its only £12.95 from Amazon. WARNING: Iron sulphate will stain your patio or basically anything it touches so prepare it outside on a sheet.
I recommend you use a slow release granulated spring to autumn fertiliser for feeding your lawn in august.
You can use liquid products such as seaweed on your lawn but this is a lot more time intensive and harder to get an even spread. The plus side is the feed is faster acting and cannot be sucked up by your lawn mower.
A Green and Pleasant Land
So, with a bit of TLC and advice, you too can have a luscious lawn so make the most of this August and do your garden proud!
Jackson Landscaping Ltd in Plymouth will provide a hassle-free garden maintenance service and will clear your garden, remove the green waste and tidy lawns and hedges to leave you with a total garden transformation.