What’s the best schedule for looking after my lawn?
Grass is tough stuff and if you’re just looking to keep the lawn tidy then a seasonal treatment calendar might seem a bit extreme.
Most of us fall into the keep it tidy and carry on camp - when the grass starts growing we cut it, when it stops growing we don’t, rinse, repeat.
However, while healthy grass is virtually invincible, a lawn that suffers from poor care and soil quality will eventually be outcompeted by weeds and moss. Most lawn pests also prefer weak or stressed grass and so the best and most humane way to prevent/treat the problem is to keep your grass as healthy as possible.
Grass, weeds and pests are all living things that have different needs and cycles throughout the year. Applying the right treatments at the right time is what makes the difference between good lawns and great lawns.
Here is our recommended annual treatment calendar. We operate out of the midlands UK so you may need to adjust slightly depending on local seasonal patterns.
Grass will keep growing during winter if the weather is mild enough and it’s ok to get the mower out, as long as the ground is fairly dry and frost free. If the lawn is damp or frosty then leave it, you’ll do more harm than good.
Now is a good time to apply a winter feed, which will top up the soil with all the key nutrients. Many seaweed based feeds are very high in iron and as a result double as moss treatment.
If the lawn is still growing then trim it but otherwise hang tight. There are usually plenty of other things you can get on with in the garden at this time of year so enjoy not having to worry about the lawn!
You’ll need to judge the weather conditions but as a rule the end of March will be busier than the beginning.
How you treat your lawn in early spring will set the scene for the rest of the year so it’s worth the effort and two jobs that shouldn’t be overlooked are scarification and aeration.
In a nutshell. Scarification removes all of the dead organic matter that sits under the lawn. Aeration de-compacts the soil to improve root growth, nutrient absorption and irrigation.
Both can be done by hand but it’s hard work and won’t be much fun if you have a medium or large garden. We use specialist equipment that makes light work of the job but you may want to think long and hard before buying your own. These tools aren’t cheap and you’ll only do this once or twice a year, hiring a professional is often the best and most cost-effective option.
Now is also the time for a spring feed. Early spring is notoriously wet so make sure you use a slow release feed that won’t get washed away in the first downpour.
If the feed includes a weed treatment then don’t panic if they suddenly start growing like mad, it’s part of the process and they’ll burn themselves out over the next few weeks.
If you only have patches of weeds then you’re better off saving a few pennies and spot treating them rather than covering the whole lawn. If you miss a few then by May you should know and can spot treat again.
Lawns are there to be used and will get damaged occasionally, so April is the perfect month to fix any problems such as bald or uneven spots. The grass is strong and growing quickly, which makes now ideal for all sorts of renovation jobs such as patch repair and top dressing.
With all of the early work done, May is the time to stay on top of the mowing and start enjoying the fruits of your labour.
If this is the first year of really getting to grips with your lawn then by May you should see some significant improvements. A lot of the weeds should have either died back or grown out and you’ll notice a deeper more consistent green across the entire lawn.
Your lawn is burning a lot of energy in June so applying a feed now will really help to keep everything at peak health.
Also, how’s the weather? During hot dry spells your lawn will suffer without regular watering but if there’s a hosepipe ban or you just don’t want to waste water then mulching will be essential.
Put simply, mulching is just letting the grass fall where it’s cut instead of collecting and disposing of it. Doing this will create a natural barrier that protects the roots from the worst of the sun and helps retain more moisture in the soil.
If it wasn’t hot and dry in June then there’s a good chance that it will be by July. As well as mulching try raising the height of your mower – the longer grass will shade the roots, help retain even more moisture and stay green for longer.
Growth will start to slow down in mid to late summer, which is great if you’ve been following all of our advice because you’ve probably also been mowing at least twice a week.
That might sound horrendous but bear in mind that the peak growing season only lasts for around four months, so it’s not that bad really.
There are a lot of similarities between March and September treatments but don’t mistake one for the other, particularly when it comes to feed.
September is the perfect time to help the lawn recover from the summer heat but where in March we used a slow release feed, in September you’re much better off with a responsibly sourced seaweed mix.
There are a lot of different reasons for this but the most important one is that if you use a feed that’s high in nitrogen during Autumn/Winter then it’ll increase the chance of Fusarium Patch Disease, which can be very hard to treat.
Another similarity to March is that now is a great time to scarify and aerate the lawn again. As well as all of the earlier benefits, having the lawn prepped for proper irrigation throughout winter will pay dividends next year.
If any more patches have appeared then now is a good time to fix them.
Growth will really be slowing now. Tidy edges and the occasional trim will keep things looking smart.
The mower can probably go away for the year but something you’ll get plenty of use out of in November is the rake (and/or leaf blower).
It’s tempting to wait and just do one or two big clean-ups, and in some areas that’s probably fine, but not on the lawn. You only have to leave something on the lawn for a couple of days to see how quickly the grass suffers and starts losing colour. A blanket of leaves is no exception.
The best case is that you have some areas that don’t come back as strong as others, worst case is that you end up with dead spots dotted across the lawn and invite fungus and pests to thrive - it’s worth clearing up little and often.
January and December are interchangeable so if you plan to follow the January treatments then just make sure you put the Reindeer food out in late December!
Other things to bear in mind
Always try to avoid cutting more than 1/3 of the grass length at any one time
Blunt blades damage grass so it never hurts to check your mower and make sure they are still sharp
Keep the mower blades high, don’t scalp your lawn. Not only will it look better but the longer grass will keep moss and weeds at bay and perform better in drought conditions
Do you need lawn care or garden maintenance services? Call us now on 01530 264884