During the winter month of January there is not much lawn maintenance work to be done. Using the lawn in wet and frosty conditions can damage the grass, so it is best to avoid it if possible.
The turf can be lightly brushed to remove general debris such as leaves, twigs and litter.
Turf repairs can be made to existing grass areas – make sure that the area is filled with soil before applying fresh turf to avoid any dips and hollows. You can lay new turf in January if the weather allows. The turf will lie dormant until milder temperatures so if you do lay turf at this time of year it is unlikely it will root and establish properly until spring time so it is best to not use it much.
Turf can be laid in February, although common sense should be used to assess the conditions. If the ground is frost free and not water logged then it is OK to proceed. Although we may experience relatively mild weather don’t be tempted to cut the grass as it will still be dormant.
If your lawn has any worm casts on it they can be gently scattered with a small broom or something similar.
As the temperature starts to rise most lawns will start to spring into action and show signs of growth. You can lay new turf in March if there is no late frost cover.
It is a good idea to clear the grass, this can be done by lightly raking over the top of the lawn. This will also help break down any worm cast. take care not to rake too heavily as this will damage the grass. If you have applied any moss killer wait for at least two weeks before attempting to break it up and rake it out.
You can cut your grass in March if it is dry, however you should have the mower blades on a high setting so as not o remove to much of the grass sward.
You can start to mow your grass regularly around April, although the blades of the mower should still be set to a high height. Some people start to fertiliser their lawn in April. Fertiliser should always be watered in, so if there is no rain forecast this will have to be done manually.
Picking up the pace with lawn maintenance – the summer months
May is when lawn maintenance and care really kicks of. Mowing should be carried out on a more regular basis, slowly decreasing the height of the cut. Never cut too low – this is known as scalping. If this occurs the grass uses a lot of its energy to regrow the grass blade, and the root system can suffer as a result of this. Ideally you should never remove more than 1/3 of the height of the grass sward. It is best to mow grass when it is dry.
If your lawn is home to a lot of weeds you can use weed killer in May as the grass is more vigorous and hardy than in previous months. It is incredibly important that you select a weed killer that is designed for use on a lawn, and you should always follows the manufacturers instruction for use.
May is a perfect time for laying new turf, and providing their is no adverse weather the turf should be established in around 28 days.
In June it is advisable to mow your lawn twice a week. This does depend on the rate of growth, but it is a generally accepted normal rule of thumb. During May you will have gradually reduced the height of he blade to give a shorter cut – however if the weather is hot and dry in June this should be raised slightly to avoid stressing the grass. Lightly raking the grass before mowing will promote an even cut.
Your lawn should be watered regularly. It is best to do this is early morning or evening to allow the water to penetrate into the roots. Watering during the warmest, sunniest period can burn your lawn.
When laying new turf in June it is very important to thoroughly water the turf in, and to make sure that the turf remains moist until it is established. When ordering turf at this time of year you should ideally have your ground already prepared so that you are not leaving cut turf in the heat before use.
A regular regime of mowing should continue. If your lawn is not as green or as healthy looking as you would like you can add fertiliser, again ensuring that you are following the manufacturers recommendations for use. A fertiliser high in Nitrogen will improve the colour of your lawn.
As with June, it is very important to thoroughly water freshly laid turf in, and to make sure that it remains moist until it is established.
Regular watering is important in August as (hopefully!) your lawn will have experienced a few months of high temperatures. Lightly spiking the soil will help water reach further down into the root system. Mowing should take place two times per week for optimum lawn health.
This is your last chance of the year to apply any fertiliser or weed killer.
Annual Lawn Maintenance tasks are best carried out in Autumn
September is a great month for carrying out annual maintenance tasks such as aerating and scarifying. Scarifying removes any dry thatch from the surface of the lawn, and aerating helps to promote healthy root development and drainage through the creation of deep holes. Applying a good quality top dressing that fills in the holes will help to add valuable nutrients back into the soil and root zone.
Grass will start to become less active in October, and often there will be no need to mow unless the weather has been quite mild. A lawn can be scarified or aerated if there is still some growth happening, otherwise the only task for lawn maintenance is the removal of any debris that is collecting on the lawn.
Your lawn can be patched with new turf if required. It may take a couple of months for the roots to knit into he ground properly so care should be taken when using the lawn.
Any debris like fallen leaves, twigs, etc should be removed from the grass as they block out light and retain moisture in the grass, creating boggy conditions. The last mow of the year can take place in November but it should be a short cut, as the grass will stop growing and lie dormant over winter.
There is not a lot of maintenance required for existing lawns in December. It is always advisable to remove any leaves and debris from the grass regularly to allow enough light to reach the grass, however you should avoid walking on the grass if it is frozen as the grass swards are brittle and tend to break easily.
You can lay new turf in December however it will take a few months for the turf to root into the ground and establish properly, so it should not be used properly until spring. Items like garden furniture and children’s play equipment placed on new turf during this dormant period will stop root growth and cause permanent damage to the turf, so please tread carefully!