Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



Take care of  the lawn

THOUGHTFUL lawn care at this stage will help to maintain a green, healthy look throughout the summer.

If you cannot tolerate weeds, use a selective weed-killer to see off plantains, dandelions and yarrow. But be careful to apply it on a calm day when growth is rapid. The weed-killer must be absorbed by the unwanted plants before rain washes it off.

If, however, your weed-killer is mixed with a plant food, then you'll need rain after a dry interval. Failing that, use a sprinkler to wash the fertiliser into the ground.

But are lawn weeds harmful? Not necessarily. Indeed, at this time of year, a peppering of buttercups and daisies, or a scattering of celandines actually can be advantageous.

And how about cowslips or cuckoo flower? Well, that's a matter of personal choice, for while some regard them as being unwanted weeds, others love to have them growing naturally in the grass.

Wild flowers in lawns are more acceptable nowadays, but you must decide on your management.

If you want to grow flowers in grass, NEVER feed nitrogen. Also remember that different cutting regimes encourage different species and different lawns.

For a spring lawn, refrain from cutting between February and July. A 'hay field' will develop and its first cut must be gathered up and carted off.

If you want shortish grass, but don't mind a scattering of flowers, simply cut with the blades set higher.

For a late meadow, try cutting regularly until late August and then allow later flowers - hieracium, speedwells and daisies, for example-to develop.

To get the best out of your wall-climbers, bear in mind the fact that plants like clematis need to be trained. Walls, fences and pergolas should be equipped with stout wires to which climbing stems can be tied, or trellis, through which plants can grow.

Different climbers, of course, have different needs and wall plants - the likes of pyracantha or chaenomeles - make ideal hosts for lax climbers to grow through. In the glasshouse, young fuschia plants can be pinched back to promote thick, bushy growth. The stem tips you remove can be stuck as cuttings, note.

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