Scarifying, aerating and treating
"Now is the time to treat your lawn, either with chemicals, which I use on many of my gardens, or if you are not happy using chemicals there are seaweed lawn treatments."
This year we have had a particularly successful year with lawn care, as more and more of our private clients have large lawns that they want looking green and gorgeous.
So now I am traveling the county scarifying, mowing and aerating; but it doesn’t matter if you’ve an acre or acorn sized lawn, if you want them looking lush next spring and summer now is really the time to be paying them some attention.
Your poor old lawn has had a tough time in the revolving heat and rain of our glorious British summer and will have built up a lot of thatch; dead and old grass, weeds and moss. In the summer your grass doesn’t grow so well, but the weeds do and at this time of year your lawn will microscopically resemble the coat of an old dog, generally a matted-up mess of old dead material.
Scarifying is like taking an aggressive comb to this mess. Rake your lawn over first and you can then hire a scarifier for around £15-£30 a day, depending on how long you want it. A scarifier is a machine about the size of a lawnmower that has a tube of blades 5mm apart that gets below the surface and scores through the ground, cutting the roots and dragging all the thatch, the dead stuff, to the surface.
Imagine that each blade of grass has millions of roots, and so with millions of blades of grass you will have literally billions of roots. Cutting these roots encourages fresh root growth, and new ones will take on more nutrients, but the biggest bonus is it will encourage upright growth for a greener more vibrant lawn.
So rake, scarify and rake again and this will remove about 70% of all the thatch from your lawn. Then give your lawn a mow – a nice strong cut.
Depending on time, a week to up to a month later, you need to aerate your lawn.
Wind, rain and enjoying the outdoors – all that has happened to and on your lawn this summer will have compacted the soil down. The aerator literally pokes holes in your lawn removing small plugs about an inch in length and 5mm in diameter giving your grass room to breathe. Aerating also helps with drainage as we approach the wetter autumn and winter months.
If drainage is an issue and your lawns are susceptible to flooding, then once you have aerated, spread some sand across your lawn and use the back of a rake or a brush to push the sand into the plug holes in the lawn. Over time, if you repeat this a few times a year, the sand will eventually end up in the soil and provide all round better drainage. So once you’ve aerated, rake up the plugs and mow again.
Now is the time to treat your lawn, either with chemicals, which I use on many of my gardens, or if you are not happy using chemicals there are seaweed lawn treatments. Treating will encourage strong grass growth and help the grass take back the reins from the weeds and moss as they will have taken hold of your lawn over the summer.
If you can repeat this cycle of scarifying, aerating and treating every three months you’ll have the lawn of every golfer’s dream.
Next month we will be looking at how I plan out the planting for my clients, so whether it is winter borders, spring colour, or summer bloom you’re looking for, you’ll be able to plan effectively for the best results possible in your garden.
Jobs for November
1 – Bulbs. This is really your last chance to plant daffodils. You are cutting it fine but you can still get them in if you move quick! It is great time, however, to plant your tulip displays. Tulips are a favourite of mine and can lead to amazing displays early in the year, bringing you colour just when you need it.
2 – Leaves, leaves and more leaves. I have a feeling I will be saying the same thing in December but I can’t tell you enough how important it is to remove leaves from lawns. After all the hard work going into improving your lawns, you don’t want to let the progress slip by leaving leaves.
3 – Frost-proof your delicates. This doesn’t just mean your plants. Many people forget about taps – we make a point of going round all properties we look after and frost-proofing any taps or exposed piping. Once this has been done you can start fleecing your more delicate plants like olive trees (if you are lucky enough to have one) or you can bring them in to the greenhouse.
4 – Pruning. This is a great time of year to prune your deciduous hedge rows or make adjustments to trees. Don’t be scared to prune your hedges hard if they are overgrown or larger than you would like – this is the time to hit them hard which will only result in better growth the following season.
Related Articles: Who’s afraid of topiary?