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Lawn Maintenance

Ever dreamt of having a beautiful lawn but don’t know how to go about it?

To treat, or not to treat?
To treat or not to treat?

There are many products available in the garden centres but sometimes it’s hard to know how and when to apply them for the best effects.  For example, if you are not sure of your soil type you may find it hard to select the appropriate product for the appropriate treatment.

Maintaining a lawn takes more than a regular mow;  jobs like scarifying the surface and removing persistent weeds are sometimes best left to the professionals.

Read on to find out more about lawn treatments throughout the year that can help you achieve that longed for beautiful lawn…

Here is a maintenance regime highlighting timings and applications of Fertiliser, Chemicals for Moss Control, Pests and Diseases, Top Dressing, Seeding,  Cutting, Scarification, Spiking, Slitting and Verti-Draining.

Firstly it is very important that if the lawn is very wet or has frost or snow covering it, its best to keep off because you will cause more harm than good if you attempt maintenance work.

Fertiliser Programme

Look to apply fertiliser in granule form 3 times a year, starting in the spring with an early starter to get the grass going, and then a summer controlled release base feed ending with an autumn/winter feed.

Spreading fertiliser
Spreading fertiliser

For lawns that are on a clay or chalk base use liquid foliar feed fertilisers as an alternative, granular fertilisers have a difficult journey through a clay soil to the root zone, and on chalk soils they can be leached out of the soil very quickly by heavy rain or constant irrigation.

Foliar fertiliser feeds that are absorbed into the plant by the leaf go directly to the roots.

A supplement seaweed liquid feed would be applied on a monthly basis from March to September. Benefits include longer and deeper root mass, healthier plants, increased disease resistance, improved fertiliser utilisation and increase drought tolerance.

Spring Feed

  • Spring fertiliser can be applied in mid February. Fertiliser requirements will vary from lawn to lawn.
  • Sarel spike the lawn on a regular basis, this will stop a crust forming on the soil surface, thus allowing top dressing, fertiliser and water to move through the soil.

Spring and Summer Work

  • In early spring if the weather is mild enough the grass should be cut at a height of 25mm, this cutting level should be gradually lowered to 19mm as soon as the grass growth strengthens.
  • It is good practice to swish or brush the lawn periodically removing dew and worm casts. Brushing prior to cutting will make the grass leaf stand up producing a cleaner cut.
  • Removing the morning dew will help to minimise the risk of Fusarium fungal attack.
  • Moss will be present after a wet winter, so moss control should be carried out in good time to allow the lawn to recover.


Weeds may be a problem unless there are too many to prick out by hand, you will need to apply a selective weed control.


Apply during strong growth when several fine days are likely, this occurs in late spring or early summer. Good practice is to keep on top of the problem, by hand weeding as soon as the weeds appear.


Fusarium disease can also be present at this time; look out for small silver clusters in the dew which look a bit like small cob webs. This is in fact is the mycelium forming which produce a mass of interwoven, threadlike filaments of fungus.

Fusarium Scars
Fusarium scars

When the disease takes hold the grass plant will have small brown patches as the disease attacks the grass.

Fusarium is easy to control, with an application of a fungicide applied by a licenced professional.

Later in the spring when growth has commenced, systemic fungicides are likely to give longer lasting control, remember systemic fungicides are absorbed into the plant during the growth process; they will not work effectively unless vigorous growth is occurring.

Scarification and Top Dressing

When growth and weather conditions allow, the lawn should be scarified to remove thatch and the matted and horizontal growth that has accumulated during the winter months. This activity should engage the soil; grass is resilient and will soon grow back with a flourish.

Scarifying out the moss and thatch
Scarifying out the moss and thatch

To improve surface levels you need to apply top dressing, sarel spike prior to top dressing, the dressing will fill the spike holes, this will also be the time to over-seed or turf as necessary, covering up bare areas left by moss invasion and worn areas.


Apply approx 2-3 tonnes of dressing per 500m². Whether you use straight sand or 80/20 sand compost mix it is important to keep the dressing material as close to the lawns make up. The material should be evenly spread and then worked into the lawn using a drag mat or large straight edge to ensure an accurate level is achieved.

Prior to top dressing (if disease is visible), apply a fungicide. This will be a guard against any disease that could be working away under the dressing.


If the lawn is affected by worm activity, a licenced professional will be needed. Worm control is best attempted during mild, moist weather when the worms are actively working near the surface and casting can be seen.

Leatherjacket pupae
Leatherjacket pupae

Pupae and older leatherjackets.Leatherjackets (Tipula spp) along with worms are the most common pests of turf.

Older leatherjacket pupae

They feed on roots, stolons and stems leaving areas of straw coloured bleached turf, the first signs of leatherjacket activity are signs of bird activity such as starlings and crows, ripping and pecking at the turf in search for grubs.

Ask your local lawn care company for advice on this.


The mowing frequency should be increased to weekly, depending on the weather conditions. Lowering the height of cut down to 19mm. It is useful to use a comb, groomer attachment or brush prior to mowing.

Mowing away
Mowing away

We recommend cutting at 19mm on all areas of lawns, even the formal areas. It is good practice to have trial areas of lawn, cutting at different heights to find the one that suits best as well as alternating the angles; in fact if you go over a second time at the same heoight you will be surprised at how much you collect the second run for a thorough finish.  The lower the cut the more problems you will have.

Aeration / Verticutting

Lawns will benefit from light scarification/Verti-cutting during spring and early summer.

Aeration holes
Aeration holes following a hard scarify

The most effective method is to use a specialist scarifier, set the machine to just scratch the grass plant, you do not want to disrupt the lawn surface too much. Regular light scarification/verti-cutting will reduce the accumulation of thatch, and creeping lateral growth.

This in turn will improve surface speed and uniformity. Apply a little top dressing soon after scarification.

Lawns will require a summer fertiliser. Following on from the initial spring treatment, this will be a controlled release base feed.

Aeration of the lawn is useful particularly over heavily worn areas. Spike using solid pencil tines, do not use slit tines in the summer, because dry weather can make the slits gape open. Only slit tine from November through to February.

For more specific advice on your lawn and it’s problems please contact your local lawn care company through this site.

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