Gardening with Clive Sullivan of Cameron Landscapes and
Ballylesson Garden Centre
IF you forgot to tackle your lawn in the spring now's the ideal
opportunity to catch up
Late summer and early autumn are the
best times to lay turf or sow grass seed. The soil temperature
cools down, plant growth slows as grasses everywhere are
starting to take it easy.
After the wet summer we've had lawn
moss is laughing all the way to the bank.
The root cause of
this is poor drainage, and aside from laying expensive drainage
systems there are a couple of things you can do right now to
stop the moss getting worse; scarification and aeration These
cultural methods of control if performed annually will minimise
use of moss killing chemicals
To scarify your lawn is simply
to use a strong metal rake with sharp edges, giving the grass a
really good going over to remove dead thatch and leaves.
thin layer of thatch is great because it acts as a mulch, but if
it's too deep it can lead to fungal diseases and prevent water
and nutrients getting to the turf.
Therefore for a large area it saves time if you hire a
Aeration is spiking the grass with a
special tool which removes several plugs of compacted soil.
After raking these up, you can then fill in the gaps with
horticultural sand to improve drainage. To make life easier
aerating machines are available for larger gardens.
dressing is usually carried out during the autumn too, after
scarification and aeration.
It's a mixture of sand, sieved
soil, and peat brushed into the open holes left. The purpose
here is to keep your lawn open, aerated, fill core holes and
level the surface.
You may find after all that work that some
bare patches have been revealed.
Rest assured now is the best
time to sow grass seed A ryegrass blend is best because it's
toughest; child and dog friendly.
Autumn lawn feeds are
excellent now, as they contain chemicals to green your lawn now
plus harden it off for the winter and feed the roots. I would
really recommend using one.
One final thing. If you've a small
garden, spiking the grass with a fork can be just as good as
aeration. Don't be tempted to try golf shoes, they're not deep