You may think that the perfect lawn is an impossible task. Trust me you are not alone with this one. Many of us try for that golf course green lawn, but the problem is that we are not too sure how to actually achieve it.
Having worked as an Assistant Green Keeper (slash bunker raker extraordinaire) in my younger days, I know the hard work that goes into a) becoming a qualified Green Keeper and b) the time and effort required to maintain the greens to golf course standards. Not to mention the uproar from members if the greens are not up to scratch!
In this article I will hopefully try and explain everything I’ve picked up. I’m not saying I’m an expert, far from it, but you don’t need to be. If you follow these simple steps, I guarantee you’ll have a lawn that you’ll be proud to show the neighbours!
Watering the Grass
At the heart of all good lawn maintenance is ‘proper watering’. Without the right amount of water, no lawn will flourish. Your lawn will sit dormant during the winter, while in the spring and autumn it will get by with all the moisture that’s in the air.
However, during the summer months, the sun takes all that moisture and this is when you need to take over. A good sprinkler will do the trick. My best advice when it comes to watering the grass is to have a good hose too.
Secondly, make sure the sprinkler is customised to your lawns shape, size, and watering needs. Today the majority of your garden/DIY stores will sell timers/sensors that can control the distance they water and be set to water a certain amount of grass. Prices range from as little as £10 for basic mechanical timers up to £100 for the more sophisticated digital control systems.
If you decide to go even further, think about and seriously consider installing a underground irrigation system. It turns on and off on its own, takes all the hassle out of watering your garden and you don’t have to do anything but make sure you’re not in the line of fire when it turns on.
Its also important to consider how much water your grass needs, and how frequently you need to water it. I tend to find that most people I talk to will water their lawn frequently but lightly. They think they’re doing the right thing, but are doing the complete opposite of what I was told in my golf course days. Doing this will make your grass develop shallow roots for ‘drinking’, leaving them vulnerable to pests, disease, and drying out in the sunshine.
You should really water your lawn infrequently (once a week will suffice) and for a long period of time allowing it to soak deeply into the earth. One inch of water per week is perfect for the UK and this will moisten the soil to a depth of six to eight inches.
You can control your watering by placing a container on your lawn. Once it is filled with an inch of water, job done.
Fertilizing your Lawn
Fertilizing is a key component to achieving the perfect lawn. Without it, its impossible to get the desired results and it provides the vital nutrients your grass needs. The key element in fertilizer is Nitrogen. This helps give grass its ‘greenness’ and makes it thick and luscious.
Personally, I have in recent years always gone for a good quality Organic Lawn Fertilizer. They are normally applied with lawn fertilizer spreaders, rakes and even by hand if you’re brave.
An organic totally natural fertilizer solution will break down slowly when releasing nitrogen. They can improve the texture and density of your lawn, especially when amended to soil or sand. One drawback to organics is they stink something rotten, but they are far better for the environment and cheaper, so its a know brainer really.
Cutting the Grass
And to the bit we all love! When cutting your lawn makes sure the grass doesn’t get too long. if not already sorted, then start be deciding what type of lawnmower you want use.
An electric hover style push mower is ideal for smaller lawns and better for the environment, but research has identified that that electric push mowers can make the grass a little too short. Just be careful not to over do it and check the blade settings before you massacre your lawn. For larger lawns, I would always go for the more powerful petrol mowers.
It is very important to only mow your lawn when its dry. Your lawnmower has to work much harder when the grass is wet, so it ‘chews’ it up, plus you could easily slip over and your lawnmower can malfunction if electric.
Keep your grass high, but not too high or low – Around the 2.5″ to 3.5″ inch mark is perfect. Long grass provides more leaf area, allowing it to absorb more from the sun. Trust me you will get thicker, greener, healthier grass with those essential deep roots.
Try and mow frequently too. My general rule of thumb is to never cut more than one – third of the grass height. Also sharpen the mower’s blades at least once a year as dull blades rip and ‘chew’ the grass up, while a sharp blade will give a nice clean snip.