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19 messages
01/09/2013 at 10:53

Now that we are in September, (I know, where does the time go? )  I would like to know the best way to prepare for a healthy lawn for the spring. For example scarifying, aerating, overseeding etc. Could anyone advise on best methods/time to do this? thankyou. 

01/09/2013 at 16:26

quiet here isn't it? I'll give you a hitch up.

01/09/2013 at 16:42

Thanks for that Waterbutts, yes it is rather quiet, but then, it is a good day for being outside. I am sure the good people with wonderful advice will be back later !   

01/09/2013 at 17:28

I'll give you another little shove and see if they are awake yet.

01/09/2013 at 21:21

It depends what condition your lawn is in Meomye, personally I'm going to aerate mine, power rake it, overseed it and possibly lightly cover the seed with a bit of multi purpose compost.  Do you have any moss in your lawn?  If so, it will need killing off before any raking out.  I'll start on my lawn in next couple of weeks while weather is still warm and its starting to get damp.  Only battle I have is keeping the falling leaves off of the lawn while the new seed is getting going.

02/09/2013 at 13:57

Hi Paula, Yes unfortunately I do have moss and speedwell in my lawn, so should I start to put a moss/weedkiller down now and then rake in a week or so, or should I defer for a couple of weeks? Also, is power raking the same thing as scaryfing? Thanks

02/09/2013 at 14:08

I would wait until it starts to get wetter the temperature is going up again with no sign of rain yet plus this weed we have a estimated 28 degree 

 

James

03/09/2013 at 21:59

Hi again Meomye, give it a couple of weeks and then use an autumn feed and mosskiller (it's a combined product), it won't produce lush green growth that you don't want at this time of year anyway but the moss will turn black.  Leave it a week to 10 days and then use a powered rake if you have one to rake out thatch and dead moss and then mow to pick up anything left behind.  If your lawn isn't too big can rake it with a wire rake if you fancy a workout!  After raking, sprinkle an organic feed around - I use bonemeal at this time of year and then overseed the lawn with a general purpose utility lawn seed, top dress if you want (i don't tend to top dress large areas) with top soil or multipurpose compost and keep it damp - not soaking wet. If you can, try and give it a couple of mows before winter just to take the top off of the new grass. You should have a half decent lawn come next spring.  

As far as I know raking is just raking the surface of the lawn, scarifying cuts down into the roots of the grass to encourage thickening up.

04/09/2013 at 13:45

Thanks for your advice Paula. I will follow your instructions in a few weeks time. I always seem to have a problem with 'seed' just sitting on the top that doesn't 'bed in' and then when I water it floats about !

04/09/2013 at 15:39

Might be an idea to aerate your lawn Meomye, either with a garden fork driven down about 4-6" all over the lawn but it's hard work, or use a rolling aerator which isn't quite as hard.  If your ground is compacted water will just sit on the surface and seed roots won't be able to penetrate the soil.  After putting seed down it might be worth top dressing as that will help the seed to stay put before germinating.  Proper scarifying before seeding (cutting slits down through the soil surface) would help as well but only ever do this during autumn or spring.  It's hard work getting a lawn back to a decent condition but once you've done it properly once it's not as difficult in future.

07/09/2013 at 08:57

Hi Meomye,

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Can you tell me why you want to overseed, have you bare areas or is the sward particularly weak?  If not, i feel that overseeding to be a waste of money.  I have over a hundred lawn care customers and i don’t overseed any of them  as a matter of course.  An autumn selective weed application, followed about a fortnight later  by a good scarify to remove surface debris and an iron application around Christmas will keep good colour and help slow down any moss invasion.  If i can be of more help mail me thecoursemanager@hotmail.com

Regards

Ross

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07/09/2013 at 13:33

Hi Ross2, wasn't planning to overseed all over, just assumed there was going to be a lot of bare patches once moss and thatch were absent. Do you think this is necessary or will the gaps fill naturally? Also, could you tell me to what iron application you refer and what the next steps are. Many thanks  

07/09/2013 at 19:38

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Hi Meomye,

It would be my personal preference to carry out scarification in the spring, after selective weed control has weakened or dispatched any broadleaf weeds.  My reasoning behind this is, the fact that you raise. the point about recovery  Carrying out heavy scarification in the autumn, may well leave small or even large areas devoid of grass, if the autumn then takes an unexpected cold snap, good seed germination could be hampered, thus going through the winter with a patchy lawn.  Conversely, if carried out in the spring, the weather will at some stage be conducive to good germination and therefore good all round recovery. 

Hollow core aeration however, again in my opinion, should be done in the winter months, (if any one wishes me to expand this view point I would be happy to do so, just ask).

The iron application that I use is a simple application of sulphate of iron, more expensive irons are available, but why spend money that is not needed.  Sulphate of iron can be applied at a rate between 8 to 20kg/ha in 300 to 600 litres of water per ha.  (if you want me to put this into a knapsack application rate just let me know) When putting into a solution use very hot water, it will dissolve much better, if you add a little liquid nitrogen fertiliser to the solution it will be taken up much faster by the plant.  If this all sounds a little to daunting you could always get a lawn care company to do it for you, if so you can find one on http://www.uklawncare.net

If I can be of any more help, please let me know.

Regards

Ross

08/09/2013 at 09:58

Hi Ross, thankyou for your very interesting response. I would like your expanded viewpont on hollow core aeration and indeed your knapsack rates on iron application since you so kindly offered. I also appreciate your advice on scarifying late in the season. 

09/09/2013 at 09:46

Hi Meomye,

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There are two primary methods of aerating, spiking and coring.  Spiking uses solid tines, slit tines or chisel tines, these only a have a very short term effect, particularly on lighter soils.  In all lawns that I aerate I use the hollow coring method.

Before carrying out any coring one must understand what it archives, it will be a pointless exercise if your lawn doesn’t benefit from it.

Hollow tining opens up soil to create entry points for air, water, oxygen and fertiliser.  It also help loosen surface compaction, break up any thatch layer, improve water and nutrient infiltration, increase oxygen in the root zone, encourage new, deeper root growth and  reduces water runoff or puddling

 When I core, the extracted core plugs of grass and soil are deposited on the surface of the lawn.  I leave these to dry and degrade for a few days, even a week, before mowing over the top of them (with a rotary mower, not a cylinder one).  I do this in dry conditions without a grass collection box.  The mower blades chop and pulverise the cores, the soil element of the cores is distributed over the lawn and the core holes.  The resulting light dusting of soil covering the lawn settles on any thatch layer and the beneficial micro organisms contained in the soil can further aid in thatch reduction.  To complete the process is simple, attach your grass box and mow as normal.  This will pick up all the debris left on the surface and visually return your lawn to normal.

 I prefer to do this in the depths of winter as the frost helps to degrade the cores and also gets down into the core holes causing fissures in the root zone that further aids drainage and root development.  The grass height is normally slightly higher in the winter months so visually the process isn’t so apparent.  Lastly (good I hear you say!!) because photosynthesis is at a minimum, leaving the cores on the surface, covering other leaves doesn’t cause yellowing to the lawn.

The rate for iron is approximately 0.5kg - 1.5kg to a 16 litre knapsack.  As I don’t know what your sprayer is calibrated to, I would start at the lower rate.  As I said use warm water to dissolve the iron, best done in a plastic bucket, after its fully dissolved it is best to sieved it before adding to your knapsack.  Don’t get any of the spray on natural stone work, it will stain!!

Hope this is of help

Regards

Ross

09/09/2013 at 14:57

Thankyou Ross for your indepth analysis. I am pretty convinced my lawn would beneifit from coring. Can I hire one of these machines? Also, could you tell me if there is a way of testing for compaction as I do believe this to be the problem.  

10/09/2013 at 19:21

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There are soil compaction test meters on the market;(penetrometer) you can get them for a few hundred pounds.  In all my years in the industry I must admit to never using one!  If soil conditions are damp and you have any difficulty in pushing a garden fork or a golf tee peg into the ground, then compaction may be a problem.   http://www.erento.co.uk/hire/tools-equipment/gardening-landscape-equipment/lawn-scarifier/?gclid=CPG6jcy2wbkCFWXKtAod5HUA3Q

Is a link for a hire company.  Dependent on hire and delivery-collection costs, it may be cheaper to get someone in to do it. http://www.uklawncare.net/ will give you an independent lawn care business close to you.   It should cost about 50p per m2 ish

Hope this helps. Any more info needed ,on any aspect of lawn care, just yell!

Regards

Ross

25/09/2013 at 15:57

Having applied Scott's lawn builder (autumn lawn feed and moss control ) waited two weeks and then raked out moss my question is... do I still need to apply any other product or is the lawn feed enough for now? Will I still need to apply iron later in the season? Sorry if these questions seem daft but I have no idea what nutrients I have given with the 'Scott's' and I get very confused with all the different feeds and times to apply them.   

25/09/2013 at 16:23

The lawn feed is enough for now Meomye, you could put some seed down if it's looking a bit bare.

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