There are some things in life us British hold close to our hearts. A Sunday roast, the Queen’s Christmas speech, and of course our garden lawn.
Now’s the time to prep those lawns in anticipation of winter’s cold reach. Do it now, and you can relax in the knowledge that once spring emerges, your lawn will be fighting fit and ready for any challenge thrown at it.
At this time of year, grass growth slows down, so it’s a good time to remove the built up thatch sat on on the lawn with a rake. This process is called scarifying. Also, any weeds – out they come. Not only are you reinvigorating the lawn, you’re helping to remove any build up of pest or fungal deaseses. With only the winter sun to support your lawn, it needs all the help it can get.
Once raked, the lawn may look a little sparse, it’s going to look worse before it looks better. But that’s OK, it’s all about nurturing those rhizomes and roots growing in the soil.
Next up, I take my fork and aerate. Driving the fork into about three quarters of its depth, I give it a good wiggle to open up those holes and then remove it. I do this throughout the lawn at about three inches apart. Over the summer months, people have walked, played and relaxed on the lawn, this amount of use can compact the soil. By spiking your lawn, you prevent any potential panning/waterlogging. It gets air to the grassroots and releases the compacted area.
The last thing you want over the winter months is to see your lawn sat under an inch of water. However, if scarifying and aerating seems too much like handwork, or your lawn is bigger than Old Trafford, you might want to consider machinery that can make light work of this process.
Like any well-used garden lawn, you may find over the summer that bald patches have appeared. Fear not, now’s a good time to re-seed. My lawn sits in a lot of shade and my seed mix caters for these conditions. I also mix it with a bit of sand as not only will this distract those hungry birds, but the added weight helps to hold down the seeds and stop them from blowing away, thus improving germination prospects.
With the seeds thinly scattered, I then take my garden broom and brush the lawn, helping to disperse the seed. As they are covered in sand, it’s easier to see them and spread them over the bald area.
With the lawn prepped, I also take the opportunity to tidy edges and borders.
After this, you might want to consider a top dressing for the lawn. With it loosely spread on the lawn, I use the broom to evenly distribute it, although I tend to wait to spring to do this.
Of course, other gardeners will tell you of one hundred and one other ways of restoring your lawn and prepping it for winter. Maintaining a lawn is a personal, and to some, a sensitive area.
However the key is, not to to get overwhelmed with this expanse of green. Garden grass is a tough old thing, it has to be, so you’re really not going to destroy it.