Daphne Ledward, Garden Planner, Gardener, Author and Broadcaster



Spalding Guardian Gardening 18 April 2013

As predictable as the Dawn Chorus, the first warm Sunday of spring brought forth the alternative chorus of lawn mowers, so it occurred to me it might be timely to give a few reminders of the best ways of achieving a picture postcard sward this season.
    Now the grass is growing strongly, give a feed of a proprietary lawn fertiliser while showers are forecast. You can also tackle weeds with a lawn weedkiller, but if you donít have weeds in your lawn, or just a few, donít use a Ďfeed and weedí product. These are expensive, the weedkiller in them is useless if there arenít any weeds, and itís more environmentally friendly to spot-treat any odd ones. In fact, a more efficient way is to feed the grass (and weeds) first, wait till the weeds (and grass) are growing strongly, then use a separate herbicide Ė but do make sure itís suitable for use on turf, or youíll end up with lots of dead spots!

    Lower the mower blades gradually Ė donít scalp the grass at the first cut. If a ground frost is forecast (and there still may be), itís better not to mow, especially if you have very fine turf.

    Conditions are perfect for sowing grass seed at the moment; warm, damp soil will ensure rapid germination. If you intend to reseed bare patches in an existing lawn (for instance, after mole damage or if you are taking an old bed or border into it), you can end up with a piebald effect of new grasses in established turf; one way round this is to top-dress the lawn around the reseeded patches with a mixture of fine soil and the seed you are using for renovations. This will blend the new grasses in and make the repairs less conspicuous.

    Remember to keep new turf moist. This might seem a silly piece of advice after the wet winter, but new turf dries out quickly before it has put down roots into the soil below. A good watering in dry, windy weather can ultimately make all the difference between a mediocre piece of grass and a bowling green.

Daphne Ledward

This piece originally appeared in the Spalding Guardian