Lawn care in cold, wet spring.
This month has been particularly hard on lawns with cold, showery weather. So what does a cold, wet spring mean for your lawn?
Lawns can easily get waterlogged when water can't drain away. It's far more likely on clay and compacted soils. However, it is worth noting that patches of dead grass where the soil proves very difficult to re-wet can be caused by a fungal problem.
Poor preparation prior to turfing or seeding of new lawns can lead to poor drainage and waterlogging
Water that doesn't drain away can encourage algae, lichens and liverworts on lawns
Moss is a common sight where conditions are damp, but particularly if there is shade and a low pH (acid)
Clumps of rush may form tussocks and start to seed
Pricking or slitting the surface of the lawn will improve conditions. Shallow slits of 3cm will help. However, deeper spiking is better. There are tools especially designed to leave holes up to 15cm deep and these can be done by hand. Holes should be filled with a free-draining material, such as proprietary lawn top dressings or horticultural sand, allowing the water to flow from the surface to deeper, less compacted layers.
Fertilising your lawn in spring will help the grass to recover from winter damage. It will grow extensive root systems that can withstand drought and flooding.
Poor draining soils that are rich in clay are problematic. Where there is somewhere for water to go (a ditch, drain or soakaway, for example), drainage systems can be installed.
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As bulbs fade and herbaceous borders grow in leaps and bounds, it is now clear that summer is approaching. Sowing and planting out bedding can begin, depending on regional weather variations, and you can take softwood cuttings. It's also time to get back into the lawn mowing regime, as the lawn will be loving the warmer temperatures this month brings.
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