How to understand your lawns requirements

nicenstripy maintain more than 2,500 domestic lawns each week and our customers often ask how to improve the look and condition of their lawns and what the technical terms we use mean. Lawns are very tough and continue to give us pleasure throughout the year. They do however, deteriorate, without help. Regular lawn cutting, with a sharp blade, is a must, particularly in early spring when rapid growth often ensues.

You can ascertain if your lawn requires scarification easily. After your lawn has been cut, simply walk on it. If the lawn is soft or spongy underfoot, it almost certainly contains a build up of thatch. Thatch is dead grass that has not decomposed naturally. Grass cuttings left on the lawn are rarely a factor in the build up of thatch, it is the natural process of old grasses dying as new replaces them.

It causes other grasses to become weaker as it restricts the amount of air and water to the existing grass roots and thatch should be removed, ideally on an annual basis.

This process simply aids drainage and reduces water run off (see below). Often carried out whilst scarifying, it is an extension to scarifying by not only removing thatch but also creating ‘pockets’ for water retention within your lawn.

The effect is usually of a huge number of ‘slits’ in your lawn once completed they will disappear as the lawn becomes weathered again. This is usually very useful where a build-up of moss in your lawn area has occurred, that is usually caused by damp conditions.

Hollow Tining.
If, when you walk on your lawn after cutting, it feels very hard under foot then there is a good chance the substructure (the soil under your lawn) is compacted. If your substructure is compacted, you will usually encounter ‘water run off’ i.e. the water does not penetrate your lawn and takes the path of least resistance, usually a flower bed or path/patio.

Hollow tining or coring, simply removes plugs of soil (about the size of a finger) from the lawn, which should than be cleared from the lawn. If the ‘cores’ are not removed they will not only look unsightly but will also attract weed seedlings which will germinate next spring. Unfortunately, they do not decompose over winter (as some suggest) but will kill the grasses that they cover so a patchy lawn should be expected in Spring.

The ‘holes’ created should then be filled with ‘top dressing’ to prevent penetration of weeds in your lawn. The type of lawn dressing used will be dependent on your substructure but will usually consist of a large proportion of sand to improve drainage. This process is not inexpensive to carry out, but once completed correctly, should last a number of years on a ‘normal’ use lawn.



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