George Davies Turf

Turf Advice

Mowing:

  • Mow regularly and as often as necessary to maintain a neat appearance. The closer you cut, the more often you should mow.
  • For most lawns the mower should be set to cut no lower than 1/2" and should be used at least once a week, depending on growth. Try to avoid leaving the lawn unmown for periods of weeks when the grass is growing fast.
  • When reducing the height of cut, never remove more than 25% of the length of the grass. A cylinder mower will give the best results, provided it is kept sharp and the blades are set to cut the grass efficiently.
  • It is best to mow when the grass is dry, but in prolonged wet weather mow when it is wet rather than let the grass grow too tall.
  • Mow in Winter if mild periods have encouraged growth.

Feeding:

  • Lawns growing on poor soils need more feeding than those on rich soils.
  • Feed your lawn each Spring and, if necessary, through the Summer with a proprietary lawn fertilizer at the recommended rate. A phased release fertilizer, as suggested, will slowly release essential nutrients to produce and maintain the green colour for months.
  • If you need to feed after August use a proprietary Autumn lawn fertilizer at the recommended rate.
  • Do not feed your lawn between October and March until frost-free conditions prevail.

Rolling:

  • Rolling should not be necessary on most soils.
  • A roller should never be used to put right surface irregularities, possibly caused by subsidence. These should be corrected using compost top dressing.

Weeding:

  • It is inevitable that weeds appear from time to time in the new lawn, spreading from other parts of the garden or from further afield. Remove these by hand when seen.
  • Ready for use sprays can also be used for spot treatment of weeds or for more widespread invasions the whole lawn may be treated with a recommended liquid weedkiller.
  • Make sure that the weeds you want to control are specified by the weedkiller you choose.
  • Always buy a proprietary brand of weedkiller and follow the manufacturers instructions carefully.
  • If you use a weed and feed product, check the instuctions in case there are any special recommendations for freshly laid turf.

Moss:

  • Moss will develop in a lawn only if the grass is too weak to compete with it. The reasoning for the weakening of the grass may be waterlogging, compacted soil, mowing too close or too frequently, inadequate feeding or very dry conditions. The cause should be identified and corrected.
  • For short term control various chemical treatments are available, but moss will reinvade if the grass is not invigorated.
  • Some people like moss in a lawn!

Scarifying:

  • The removal of the brown fibrous "thatch" layer which develops between the soil and the grass shoots is not always necessary. Only if the dead material is more than 3/4" thick should any attempt be made to remove it.
  • Scarifying can be beneficial to a lawn if done sensibly. It can also be very harmful if overdone.
  • Some types of turf need less scarifying than others.
  • Light raking by hand to raise horizontal shoots is worthwhile from time to time in the mowing season.

Aerating:

  • Using a garden fork or a special spiking tool relieves compaction and helps surface water to drain away. It also allows more air to reach the roots of the grass, which aids healthy growth.
  • Make sure the holes are at least 3" deep - the deeper the better. On very heavy clay soils a hollow tining tool may be used to remove cores of soil and a sandy top dressing brushed in.
  • Autumn is the usual time for this operation.

Watering:

  • On an established lawn, watering is only necessary if you need to maintain a green colour. Established turf will not die if you do not water it, unless your lawn is on thin or sandy soil.
  • If you intend to water the lawn, it should be done infrequently and deeply. Water the soil until it is moist to a depth of 6". If the water runs off the surface before this depth of moist soil is achieved, switch off the hosepipe or water another part of the garden before resuming. Water again when the soil dries out to this depth.
  • A light shower of rain may not soak through to the soil and may have to be added to by watering.

Diseases:

  • Red thread disease makes bleached or pinkish patches on the lawn surface. Very often bright red "needles" are also formed at the tips of the leaf blades. Red thread is often linked to low soil fertility and can be discouraged by speeding up grass growth by giving a feed. Alternatively, use a proprietary fungicide at the recommended rate.
  • Fusarium patch disease tends to occur when the air is mild, still and damp. It causes the leaf blades to collapse and yellowish-brown patches appear on the lawn. This is often a symptom of overfeeding in the early autumn. This disease is usually more harmful than red thread and speedy attention with a fungicide (at the appropriate rate) is needed.
  • Small brown toadstools often appear in the year after turf is laid. They are not damaging to the turf and will die out.

Worms:

  • If worm casts are a problem, use a proprietary brand of wormkiller containing carbaryl at the recommended rate. This will kill the worms below ground level
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The biggest problem with turf is managing to transplant it from the field to your garden and keep it in perfect condition.

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