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Many of us want at least a piece of lawn in their garden, but where a perfect lawn sets off the whole garden, a suffering lawn can make even the best-kept garden look neglected. You have to keep your lawn in a good shape in order to make it look its best and this means that you have to treat your lawn problems correctly and as soon as they are spotted because most of the problems will be quickly and easily cured this way.

Dealing with lawn problems

Weeds and how to eradicate them
In a healthy lawn weeds don’t really have place to grow, they generally appear where grass is thin or has bare patches, so you have to feed your lawn regularly as regular feeding thickens grass so weeds cannot get a foothold. Upright weeds are rarely a problem in lawns as frequent mowing weakens and kills them. The most common weeds that we find in our lawns are low-growing rosettes and mat-forming kinds like daisies, dandelion, creeping buttercup, clover, speedwell and trefoil that pass safely under the blades of a mower. To deal with them you have to tackle broad-leaves weeds individually using a spot lawn weedkiller, or if a large area is affected use liquid weedkiller or granular feed-and-weed treatments. Some of these weeds, like clover, speedwell and trefoil are harder to kill so you have to use a liquid product specially for small-leaved lawn weeds or dig them out singly with a trowel or daisy grubber. Mat-forming weeds like trefoil come out easily if you find the centre of the plant and twist until the roots come out.

How to deal with moss
Moss tends to be a problem in shaded, damp areas, badly compacted soil or where the grass is scalped by a mower cutting too close over bumps in the lawn. To deal with this problem you have to improve the lawn’s drainage and relieve any compaction. If moss occurs after a wet winter, treat it using liquid mosskiller or combined granular feed-and-mosskiller product for lawn in mid spring. When the moss is dead it turns black and then it should be raked out. Live moss is harder to remove and any small fragments that will remain in your lawn will regrow.

Dealing with algae and liverwort
These are a problem particularly on heavy clay soils during wet weather. Rake or scrape off the worst and then hollow-tine spike the lawn or slash the area and brush gritty sand into the holes to improve surface drainage. Some liquid mosskillers also kill algae and liverwort.

Fairy rings
These are persistent circles of small toadstools that are present all year, shriveling up in summer but rehydrating after rain. The circles slowly get bigger, leaving weak yellow grass inside and a ring of lush, bright green grass just outside that of the fungi. This problem needs drastic measures in order to solve it. Dig out soil from the ring to a depth of 45 cm, treat with a phenol-based sterilant, fill the hole with new topsoil and re-turf. Occasional toadstools in autumn are nothing to worry about and they vanish at the first frost.

Damage caused by wear
Regular use in one direction, to your garage, shed or compost heap for example, will wear a bare path across the lawn. Lay a hard path or stepping stones over these routes. If you need to push heavy barrows over the lawn in wet weather avoid making ruts by unrolling a temporary path of heavy-grade plastic netting where and when it is needed.

How to repair broken edges
Most of the time lawn edges will collapse if there is nothing to support them. Fix this problem by replacing collapsed or torn edges. Cut out a square of turf that includes the broken area, turn it round and fit it back into the gap so the hole is now inside the lawn. Fill the hole with seed compost or fine garden soil, sprinkle grass seeds over, rake them into the surface and water.

Dealing with drought
During prolonged drought grass will turn first yellow then brown. It is rarely dead and will soon recover once autumn rains starts. Do not feed your lawn during drought periods, this will only make things worse by scorching it. Once the rains come spike the lawn thoroughly to assist water penetration and only feed your lawn again after the grass has greened up naturally.

Yellow patches
This problem has various causes. If a bitch using the lawn dilute the urine with a bucket of water. Avoid petrol spills from mower and fill fertilizer spreaders on the path as spills scorch the grass.

Overall neglect
Usually is cheaper and easier to restore a neglected lawn than to replace it. Follow a routine of regular cutting and feeding at 6 weeks intervals from mid spring to mid summer and treating in spring to eradicate moss or weeds, followed by a full autumn care program.

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Lawn in autumn Image

Lawn in Autumn

Lawn in autumn ImageEarly autumn is the ideal time to sow a new lawn into soil prepared during the previous seasons. Doing this now will give a good start for the lawn in the spring. Be sure that the soil has been well firmed and allowed to settle before leveling. Seed maybe sown either by hand or by a machine.

First you need to calculate the amount of seed that you need for the area to be sown. Before sowing the seed, shake the container to mix the seeds and ensure that small seeds do not settle to the bottom and thus give an uneven distribution of grass types.

If sowing by hand first divide the area into small equal-sized sections using string and canes or pegs. This makes it easier to sow the seed evenly. Work on one section at a time scattering half the seed of a batch in one direction, then sowing the other half at right angles to this before moving on the next section.

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