Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




Green with envy

GRASS is still the country's favourite plant, even in this post groundforce-era of blue glazed pots, decking and paving.

So, here's how to give those long suffering traditional lawns a spring clean and an injection of energy. Tom Jones once sang about the "green green grass of home", but the question is; "Is the grass really greener on the other side" and if it is what have they been feeding it with?

Despite evidence to the contrary, premier division lawns aren't that much bother, as long as you keep them in training and take care of what lies beneath your feel. Mowing needs to start about now, as day temperatures rise above 10�c. The first cut need not be the most painful - ideally 3 inches above the ground, moving to half an inch to an inch high in midsummer. Spring lawn care essentially means applying a feed, weed and mosskiller product on your lawn and fixing any bald patches.

You can get a box for �8 to treat 100 square metres. This may be applied with a spreader for best results - cost approx. �15, or some generous garden centres will lend them to you.

After evenly covering your lawn with the powder, wait 2/3 days and if no rain has fallen, get a sprinkler or a hose pipe out and water the application in. By a week later you will see a dramatic effect. Your lawn will be brighter, fuller and lush looking.

Sadly there will be a rather stark contrast with any brown patches of dead moss and weeds, which will have to be raked out before the bald spots can be re-sown.

However don't let this put you off, because if you don't do it this in the spring the problem will only get worse in summer.

Grass seed germinates best when the temperature doesn't fall beneath 8�c. So in the North of Ireland by early May it will be possible to start. Don't sow those bald patches before danger of frost has passed, otherwise the lifting action of the freezing soil will tear out the young seedlings.

Make sure the area to be sown is finely raked. Apply a dusting of peat, scatter the seeds, scatter a little more peat (peat is an excellent rooting medium) and water in well.. Remember not to apply any feed to the freshly sown grass for six weeks otherwise you'll scorch it.

Lawn work pays dividends later on, and you will have a garden to make others green with envy.

By Clive Sullivan of Cameron Landscapes & Ballylesson Garden Centre.

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