How To Grow A Perfect Lawn

Posted on: 25 June 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves

Follow our seven basic tips for growing a magnificent lawn.

With the Wimbledon tennis championships well underway, many of you will be focusing on the perfect grass courts.

So, why not grow your own perfect court with our basic tips.

1) The Edges

Straight edges should be dead straight – use taut string, a proper half-moon edger and a plank. Curves should be broadly sweeping – for instant chic, iron out the nibbles caused by overhanging plants: laying out a sun-warmed garden hose and assessing things from an upstairs window is helpful. Every time you mow – and even when you haven't time – using edging shears to crisp up lines works wonders. Aim to keep front-row plants clear of the gully created by your smart edges and they will stay that way.

2) Use The Right Mower

On dead-level lawns and on dry grass, properly maintained cylinder mowers create pukka stripes and give the best and neatest cut. Rotary mowers function well even on wet grass and less-than-perfect turf. Mulch mowers save time and effort, help to feed the lawn and control weeds, but are hopeless on long wet grass and never produce a really smart finish.

3) Mow Little & Often

Mow little and often, particularly during May and June, but never mow very short. Lumps and bumps will be scalped, which not only looks awful, but encourages moss and weeds. Mow throughout winter during fine weather if needs be, but keep the blade on a higher setting.

4) Occassional Chores

Occasional chores make a big difference. Compaction is at the root of many lawn problems, and aerating and topdressing the lawn in spring is the best way to strengthen turf by improving drainage. Use a hollow-tine aerator and a sandy turf dressing. At the end of summer, rake out dead and weak grasses, moss and debris. Bin the mess, don't compost it. In autumn, sweep matted leaves off the lawn regularly.

5) Weed & Feed

In spring use a high-nitrogen feed (there are all-in-one weed/moss controller-and-fertiliser products for those who favour them, although spot-weeding or gouging out the odd thug may be all that is needed). At the end of summer apply a specific low-nitrogen autumn lawn feed to strengthen grass roots. Do not add weed-killed grass clippings to the compost for a couple of months after treatment. As a quick pick-me-up for a midseason lawn, try an occasional soluble ''green-up'' nitrogen lawn feed, applied by watering can or hose mixer. Evergreen Mow it Less will do this without giving it a surge of growth.

6) Water

Don't water during dry spells. Remember that lawns always perk up within days of a good heavy shower.

7) Be Realistic About Trees

Don't imagine you can achieve perfect grass by constantly reseeding under the dense canopy of trees. This is one place when even the most obsessive perfectionist should give up. However, lawns that have become weak and thin can be over-seeded in early autumn – do it after raking out debris, scattering grass seed mixed with a little turf dressing.

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