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  3. Tips for Reviving Your Lawn this Spring

Tips for Reviving Your Lawn this Spring

As the weather warms up, a lush green lawn becomes one of the most desirable features of any garden. Whether you’re looking forward to the lazy days lounging in the garden, watching your children playing on the grass, or simply admiring it from the patio, a well-maintained grass is essential. There are a few things you can do in the spring and summer to prepare your lawn for the upcoming season. In this article, we’ll provide you with some top lawn care tips, including how to assess the soil, mow your grass, let wildflowers flourish, water new lawns, and more. Whether your garden is small or large, we’re here to help give your grass the best head start in time for summer.

1. Get to know your soil

If you want a lush green lawn, then the first step is to assess your soil. After all, your soil is the foundation upon which your grass will grow. By understanding your soil’s pH level, you can make sure it is in the optimal range for growing grass.

One sign that your soil is too acidic is moss covering the ground. The pH scale measures soil acidity or alkalinity, with 7 being perfectly neutral. Soils with pH levels below 7 are acidic, while those with pH levels above 7 are alkaline. Grass thrives in neutral soil, so if your soil is too acidic or too alkaline, it can lead to moss growth and other lawn problems.

Fortunately, you can easily adjust your soil’s pH level to make it more conducive to grass growth. To increase the pH of acidic soils, you can add ground limestone, but this is not a quick fix. It’s best to test your soil pH before adding any amendments, which you can do with a soil test kit at home or by sending a sample to a professional like the RHS.

On the other hand, extremely alkaline soil can also cause problems for your lawn. If this is the case, consider adding compost or elemental sulphur to lower the pH.

By taking the time to assess your soil and adjust its pH level, you’ll be on your way to growing a healthy, vibrant lawn that will be the envy of the neighbourhood.

2. Mow your lawn

Mowing your grass on a regular basis from March to October will keep it looking its best and add value to any garden. Depending on how much time you have and what you want to accomplish, this usually means cutting it at least once a week in the summer and once every two weeks in the spring and fall.

A step-by-step guide to mowing your lawn

Equipment 

  • Lawn mower 
  • Sturdy shoes 
  • Long-handled edging shears 
  • Ear defenders (if needed) 

Firstly, always mow in dry weather. The blades will cut better and won’t get clogged with wet grass. Check the lawn for any debris, like stones, that could harm the blades before you start. Be sure to adjust the height of your mower blades depending on the season. For the first cut of the year, set your mower to the highest setting. In spring and autumn, aim to keep grass at 4cm (1½in), and in summer, at 2.5cm (1in). But keep in mind that you should never drop more than a third of the height.

Collecting your clippings is important to help prevent fungal problems. However, you can leave them on the grass in extremely dry weather to help retain moisture. Unless you have treated your lawn with a weedkiller, put the clippings on your compost heap, layering them with woodier material.

When mowing, work up and down in straight lines, just overlapping slightly so that you don’t miss any bits. Start by drawing a line across the middle of your lawn if it has an irregular shape, then work on one side at a time. Be sure to change the direction you mow each week so that you catch all the stray blades of grass. Your mower needs to have a roller in order to get those coveted stripes.

Finally, finish off by mowing around the edges. This will clean up any imprints left by turning the mower. Follow these tips, and your lawn will be the envy of your neighbourhood in no time.

3. Let your lawn go wild

Are you tired of mowing your lawn every weekend? Why not let nature take over for a while? Allowing wildflowers to thrive in your lawn is an easy way to support the local ecosystem and add some beautiful colour to your garden.

Simply stop mowing in early May, and let the existing wild plants grow and flower. This will provide a source of pollen, nectar, and shelter for various insects and wildlife. You can either leave your entire lawn uncut or just a section of it. It’s that easy!

For a greater variety of plants, you can also leave the grass uncut until August. This way, you’ll have a stunning and diverse display of wildflowers that will attract even more wildlife to your garden.

4. Water new lawns

Keeping your grass looking healthy and green is a key goal for any gardener, but as we head into the summer months, it can be a challenge to maintain a luscious lawn. While established lawns can typically survive on natural rainfall, new lawns require more attention and care.

During the summer months, rainfall is often lower, and this can leave your lawn looking parched and dry. In extreme cases, the grass may even die back. However, once rainfall returns, established lawns will usually recover, and watering is generally unnecessary. If you do need to water your grass, try to use stored rainwater or grey water instead of mains water.

For new lawns, it’s important to keep the soil moist until the grass has become well-established. But be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to shallow rooting and poor growth. Watering every 7 to 10 days is usually enough, or less if the weather is damp. Make sure the water reaches a depth of 10cm (4in) after each watering to encourage deep rooting and healthy growth. Shop our watering and irrigation collection here.

5. Keep your lawn neat & tidy

Who doesn’t love a well-manicured lawn? To keep your lawn looking sharp, it’s important to edge it in the spring. Grab a half-moon edging iron or flat-bladed spade and create a 7.5cm (3in) “gutter” around your lawn. This not only creates a neat, tidy appearance, but also prevents the grass from creeping into your garden beds.

After mowing your grass, use long-handled edging shears to trim back any overhanging grass that your mower missed. This will give your lawn a clean and finished look. Don’t forget to keep those shears sharp for a precise cut every time!

6. Aerating

Give your lawn some breathing room with aeration. Heavy rains can leave your lawn waterlogged, which is a breeding ground for disease and pests. But fear not, you can take action to prevent this. If your lawn is still soggy, grab a garden fork and start spiking it every 15cm to create holes for air and water to flow through. Alternatively, you can rent or buy a hollow-tined aerator that will remove cores of soil and create larger openings. To help the ground dry out and prevent future waterlogging, sweep sharp river sand into the holes created by the aerator.

7. Rake away

Spruce up your lawn for the warmer months ahead by following these simple steps.

First, rake away any debris that has accumulated on your lawn over the winter. This can include leaves, twigs, and other organic matter that can undermine your lawn’s health.

Once you’ve cleared away the debris, it’s time for scarification. This process involves working through your lawn to remove any additional organic matter that may be present, helping to promote a healthy and lush lawn.

Be sure to only scarify when your grass is in its growing phase and the soil is warm. This will give your grass time to recover properly in time for summer.

Before you start, give your grass a quick mow to remove any initial debris. If you notice a build-up of thatch or moss, use a metal grass rake to remove it. This will help to improve air circulation and water filtration, leading to a healthier, greener lawn.

8. Patch it up

Is your lawn looking patchy and sparse? Don’t worry, there’s an easy fix! You can sow a grass seed mix in the spring to bring your lawn back to full strength by summer. While early autumn is the best time for this job, mid-spring is also a great option, especially as the weather starts to warm up. With just a little bit of effort, your lawn can be lush and green once again.

9. To feed or not to feed

Feeding your lawn is a personal choice, and while it’s not essential, it can give your grass a boost. However, the changing UK climate means that drought is now a bigger factor in the health of your lawn than lack of feeding. If you want a more relaxed, wildflower-friendly lawn, then fertilising is not necessary.

If you do choose to feed your lawn, here are some tips:

  • Artificial fertilisers can be harmful to the environment, so apply them sparingly and only if necessary. Check out our guide to using fertilisers for more information.
  • Spring/summer lawn fertilisers are high in nitrogen, which promotes leafy growth. Apply it in mid-spring, usually around late March/April, when the grass is actively growing. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended rate.
  • Spread the fertiliser evenly across your grass and apply it in cool, moist conditions when rain is expected, or lightly water it in afterwards.
  • If your grass still looks lacklustre after a couple of months, you can try another application, but don’t apply it beyond August. Feeding too late in the year could encourage leafy growth that could be damaged by winter cold, pests, or disease.

While feeding your lawn isn’t necessary, it can help achieve that lush, dense, all-grass lawn. Just remember to use fertilisers responsibly and follow the recommended guidelines.

10. Weeding out unwelcome guests

The wildflower meadow of one gardener is the weedy lawn of another. The more plants that fill in your grass, the more biodiverse it will be. However, some plants may not be appropriate if your goal is a traditional grass lawn. Some species may simply not be suitable for that location, while species that spread quickly or are more prevalent may spread unchecked.

To get rid of these unwanted plants, start with good old-fashioned hand weeding. It may take a little time, but persistence pays off. Be sure to pull out the entire root, and you’ll start to see improvement. If that doesn’t work, you can try using selective weedkillers specifically designed for lawns.

Moss, on the other hand, thrives in damp, poorly drained lawns. While some folks love its lush, carpet-like appearance as an alternative to grass, others consider it a nuisance. Regardless of your stance, it’s worth noting that moss can be beneficial for lawn biodiversity.

11. Service the lawnmower

One of the essential tasks for a healthy lawn is to service your lawnmower. After a long winter in storage, it’s time to give it a once-over and ensure it’s in top shape to tackle the season ahead. To start, fire up your mower and listen for any sounds that aren’t quite right. Stubborn start-ups could be a sign that it needs a tune-up.

Sharpening the mower blade is a crucial part of the tune-up process. A sharp blade will cut the grass cleanly, leaving behind a lush green lawn. In contrast, a dull blade can tear the grass, leading to brown tips and an unhealthy-looking lawn. So don’t forget to sharpen your blade to get the most out of your mowing sessions this spring.

Monthly lawn advice

March

As the weather starts to warm up, it’s time to give your lawn its first cut of the year. However, make sure the grass has started to grow and the weather is mild enough. Raise the blades 0.5cm (¼in) higher than usual and only do a light cut.

Don’t forget to add your grass clippings to the compost heap, but be sure to add them in thin layers to avoid creating wet, smelly conditions.

If you have bulbs like crocuses and daffodils in your lawn, wait at least six weeks after flowering before you mow the area. This allows the leaves to photosynthesise and feed the bulbs for a good display next spring.

Apply a high-nitrogen spring lawn feed in late March to promote strong growth and help your lawn recover after winter. However, it’s important to use the minimum necessary to reduce the environmental impact.

Straighten your lawn edges using a half-moon turf iron and board or mark out a curve with sand and cut it out with the iron. And, while you’re at it, create a 7.5cm (3in) ‘gutter’ around the lawn to prevent grass from creeping into your borders.

April

Maintain a constant height throughout the year by mowing your lawn whenever the grass is growing.

If you have bulbs like daffodils in your lawn, wait at least six weeks after flowering before you mow the area. This will ensure your bulbs get enough nutrients for a good display next spring.

Define your lawn edges with a half-moon edging iron or spade, creating a 7.5cm (3in) ‘gutter’ around the lawn to prevent grass from creeping into your borders.

Repair bumps and hollows by peeling back the turf, adding or removing soil, and replacing the turf.

Use a specific spring lawn fertiliser to boost your lawn’s vigour and prevent weeds and moss from establishing. But be sure to use only the minimum amount necessary to reduce the environmental impact.

Remove old plant debris clogging up your lawn with a spring-tined rake.

May

Keep your lawn neat and tidy by mowing it regularly. The trimmed lawn still creates valuable habitats for many invertebrates. You can either add the clippings to the compost heap or leave them on the lawn to act as a mulch and retain moisture.

Define your lawn edges with a half-moon edging iron or spade, creating a 7.5cm (3in) ‘gutter’ around the lawn to prevent grass from creeping into your borders.

Use a specific summer lawn fertiliser to boost your lawn’s vigour and prevent weeds and moss from establishing. But be sure to use only the minimum amount necessary to reduce the environmental impact.

Conclusion

In conclusion, achieving a lush green lawn is possible with proper care and attention. By assessing the soil pH level, mowing your lawn regularly, letting wildflowers grow, and watering new lawns carefully, you can revive and maintain your lawn’s health and beauty. Remember to test your soil before making any changes, mow your lawn consistently during the growing season, allow wildflowers to flourish, and water new lawns well. With these tips, you can enjoy a vibrant, healthy lawn all year round.

Updated on May 22, 2023

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