Lawn care tips – expert ideas for healthier grass and improved turf

We've got the expert advice for keeping your lawn trim and lush all year around
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  • Your lawn requires regular attention and care to keep it looking gorgeous and green. After the ravages of a wet winter, we’ve got the advice and top lawn care tips for getting your grass rich, healthy and bouncy for spring. We’ve asked the gardening experts, including Horticultural experts from Dobbies Garden Centres and the team at Flymo, to share their lawn care know-how.

    Perfect your plot with more of our garden ideas

    Lawn care tips – to improve garden turf

    lawn care tips

    Image credit: David Giles

    1. Get rid of leaves, weeds and moss

    Removing debris, moss and dead ‘thatch’ from your lawn is the first job. For a smallish lawn use a spring tined rake and a bit of physical effort. For larger areas consider hiring a scarifyer with a motor, which will pull all the moss and dead stuff out of the lawn, allowing light and air to get in. The debris will still have to be raked up and removed.

    Clear leaves with a rake as soon as they fall so they don’t rot and damage grass. Banish weeds either by hand, using a traditional daisy grubber, or a chemical treatment. Chemicals are less effort but make sure you follow the instructions to the letter to avoid over-treating and unnecessary damage.

    Use a spring-tine rake to remove moss (called scarifying). It’s hard work but it stops the moss smothering the grass, giving it a chance to grow. Only scarify in spring, otherwise you can cause lasting damage.

    Read more: 15 lawn ideas – the best grass layouts and inspiration for putting down turf in your garden

    2. Spruce up your lawn edges

    lawn care tips

    Image credit: Amateur Gardening

    Keep the borders of your lawn neat by using a half-moon edger a couple of times a year. This tool will define the line between flower beds and lawn and make your whole garden look tidier instantly.

    Related: Garden edging ideas – lovely lawn edging to smart stone borders to give gardens a perfect finish

    3. Adjust the cutting height with care

    If you have ‘let the garden grow’ in colder months and your lawn is looking a little unkempt come spring, then fear not. You can gradually decrease the cutting height on your lawnmower over the weeks each time to reach your desired grass length. Cutting the grass too short, too quickly is known as ‘scalping’ and this can result in disease and weed infestation.

    ‘Cut grass with the lawn mower blades set high for the first few times, then use a good lawn feed to help your lawn look its best’ says Marcus Eyles, Horticultural Director at Dobbies.

    garden with freshly mowed lawn

    image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies

    4. Improve drainage

    Where lawns have become very compacted and are not draining well, use a lawn aerator; a very simple tool that has hollow prongs you push into the lawn like a fork. This will remove small plugs of soil which can then have lawn sand brushed into them. This will help the lawn to drain faster.

    This can also be done using a garden fork pushed into the lawn and wiggled around to break the soil and reduce the compaction. If you have a wet, soggy lawn, plunge a fork into the ground all over your patch (called aerating). Go as deep as possible every 30cm or so, and it will help with drainage and encourage grass root growth for generally healthier grass.

    5. Repair patchy grass areas

    lawn care tips

    Image credit: Amateur Gardening

    Get rid of bald patches by sowing new grass seed. Rake up the earth until it’s crumbly, then sow seed according to packet instructions. Water the area well and don’t walk on it for several weeks.

    ‘Sow new lawns or repair bare patches from April if weather allows, on ground that has been pre-prepared, levelled and firmed’ Marcus advises. ‘If you are laying new turf, leave undisturbed for a few weeks to allow time for new roots to establish.’

    6. Top dress your turf

    Brush top-dressing over the lawn surface to get rid of lumps and bumps once in the spring and once in autumn. Top-dressing is a mix of soil, sand and well-rotted compost, but you can also buy pre-mixed bags.

    Apply two lots, allowing a few days between each to let the mixture settle into any holes and dips. This will also encourage grass to thicken and put down more roots.

    7. Give the grass a feed

    lawn care tips

    Image credit: Amateur Gardening

    Lawn feeds encourage grass to ‘green up’ and look healthy. Once you start feeding lawns they become dependent on it, so it’s important you don’t stop. Start in spring and get into a weekly routine during the main growing season but don’t over-feed as this can cause scorching.

    ‘If you want to promote wildlife in your garden avoid using weed killers on the lawn and allow clovers, bugle, and tiny trefoils to populate the lawn, all of which give bees something to feed on,’ says Craig Roman from Dobbies.

    How do I keep my lawn healthy?

    To keep a lawn healthy there are a few simple rules to abide by;

    • Stay off your lawn until you can walk across it without leaving footprints/sinking
    • Remove debris from lawn
    • Use a lawn aerator to help lawns drain
    • Feed and seed bare patches of grass
    • Avoid weed killers if you want to attract wildlife to your garden

    If you don’t want the real deal?: Artificial grass – everything you need to know

    Will you be mowing your lawn this weekend?

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