If you have just laid new turf, you will want to keep it healthy and vibrant. What does that mean, and what are the tell tale signs of a healthy lawn?
This is quite an obvious one, as it is easy to spot a lawn that is dried out (yellow and patchy) or a lawn that is covered in moss. A healthy lawn will generally display an even colour throughout, although variations will occur naturally due to the distribution of seeds and re-growth. Grass is essentially a micro eco system, and lots of bugs and micro organisms will live happily together. As new grass grows, the old grass dies and this gets fed back into the system and is broken down by fungi – the most active micro-organisms in turf. The fungi help degrade the old grass and excess thatch while also supplying valuable nutrients to the new grass.
Thatch is a loose, intermingled organic layer of dead and living shoots, stems, and roots that develops between the zone of green vegetation and the soil surface. Thatch build up begins when the turf produces organic debris faster than it can be broken down. Hence the importance of the micro-organisms mentioned earlier. Some thatch is essential in turf as it provides an insulating layer and can protect against extreme weather conditions. If you pour a glass of water on your grass and it sits there for a while – you have too much thatch and the cycle of regrowth is slower than normal. The perfect amount of thatch will allow the water to soak down into the root zones at a steady pace.
Feel of the grass
You can also identify a healthy lawn by how it feels and its ‘bounce’. Generally speaking, a good lawn should feel nice to walk on as it is lush and bouncy – even if it has just been cut. If the lawn springs back up within a few minutes of being walked on you can tell that it is healthy.
Grass is a hardy plant that can survive through adverse weather and short periods of drought, although to keep your lawn looking and feeling healthy you should water and cut it regularly. Your healthy lawn should have a nice green colour to it, feel nice and bouncy underfoot and have an ideal thatch cover at soil level. To create a lawn with stripes (as shown in the picture) mowing should be done in straight lines and opposite directions.