The grass is greener

David Hedges-Gower of Lawn Solutions explains how to care for a lawn and offers his tips on keeping it in top condition during the colder months


hen taking on a self-build project the house itself is of course a focus, but that

doesn’t mean the garden should be neglected. It’s often the finishing touches outside a property that make or break the overall look, and a neat and tidy lawn is sure to impress.


It may seem a silly question, but what constitutes a lawn? Is there a difference between grass and lawn? Of course, we all call what we have in our gardens lawn. But what about parks, verges, green areas within industrial or shopping areas, football pitches, golf courses and fields. These are all grassy areas, so when does grass become a lawn? It’s estimated that there are around 10 – 20 million lawns in the UK, but that figure depends on your definition. Often a lawn is considered to be an area of grass that is cared for and looked after. But what many people don’t understand is that one way of caring for grass is simply cutting or mowing it. And whether by a lawn mower or animal, almost every area of grass you can think of receives this treatment. Therefore, while that figure of 10 – 20 million may be accurate for domestic gardens, in the grand scheme of things it’s probably closer to hundreds of millions, covering an enormous area.

So with so many lawns out there, how do you make sure yours stands a cut above the rest? Grass is often not recognised in the manner it deserves. It’s one of the most natural plants in existence and has adapted and survived for thousands of years. Perhaps it’s this ability to adapt that means so many of us take lawns for granted. These are just some of the mistakes people make when it comes to lawns: • Forgetting that just like everything else in your new garden, grass is, put simply, a plant growing in soil. Why treat it with any less care?

• Not realising how simple lawn care can be – did you know mowing is a

september/october 2017

form or pruning?

• Getting rid of cut grass clippings. This actually serves as a natural food for grass, so by removing it you then need to replenish the grass to compensate.

• Not adjusting the way we care for lawn to keep up with changing weather patterns.

• Not understanding what natural grass actually is and what makes it grow. Lawn care should be taken seriously as it’s vital to our living environment and more importantly, to our planet.


So what about the various things we’ve been told over the years about looking after our lawns? There are some real ‘tall stories’ out there! We all love a good fable but some myths are not so entertaining. Some examples of these lawn maintenance myths can be found in the next few paragraphs.

USING A SPRINGBOK RAKE FOR MOSS CONTROL This is a myth that needs clarifying. Moss control should actually be taken care of by controlling thatch, as moss is a by-product of allowing thatch to

One way of caring for grass is simply cutting or mowing it

build up. Scarification performed using a machine not only controls thatch more easily, it also prunes our natural grasses. This allows them to self-produce new plants, saving you the job of adding them yourself. Springbok rakes (the ones with long, thin tines) can remove thatch and moss, but so could a dinner fork!

AERATING LAWNS WITH A FORK Another myth that needs busting is that a fork should be used for aerating. This will actually only fractionally improve less than one per cent of garden lawns – only lawns with near-perfect lawn soils will see an improvement. A fork is a tool that will make holes like a stiletto. For longer- 59

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