Lawn Care Tips and Rules

Your lawn is a living thing and like all living things deteriorates as it gets older. Like a car servicing, you can regularly maintain its condition and avoid big repair bills. Replacing a lawn is expensive; it is cheaper to look after what you have. To help you we have listed the following basic lawn care tips to look after your lawn.

The weather and various other conditions such as quality of soil, shade, mowing height and frequency, type of grass, insect damage and drainage are critical to the health and appearance of any lawn.

Mowing. Grass responds to regular mowing and feeding. Never cut your grass shorter than  1 – 1.1/2 inches and never remove more than 1/3 of its overall length at any one time. Remove clippings. Do not scalp the grass especially in dry weather. If your lawn is not growing quickly just give it a light cut to tidy it up. Let it grow longer in very dry weather – it will become more drought tolerant.

Shade. Lawns under shade and in sheltered positions stay damp longer and dampness encourages moss. Grass also requires a few hours of sun each day to grow correctly. If you can, cut back branches and shrubs to let light and airflow onto the lawn.

Soil. In the Midlands most lawns tend to be on loamy soils, this is ideal soil as it retains nutrients and moisture and doesn’t remain soggy. Lawns that are on clay soils will hold nutrients but will suffer from bad drainage and therefore moss, this can be overcome by top dressing over a period of time. Lawns on sandy soils will struggle to hold nutrients but will be free draining.

Weather. Grass enjoys and thrives in periods of warm wet weather. It can also tolerate cold dry, cold and wet and hot and dry periods. Too much rain creates dampness and encourages moss. Too dry and the grass is stressed through lack of moisture. Too much snow can create problems with diseases. Stay off grass in heavy frosts and very dry weather.

Watering your lawn. All living things require water but grass can tolerate dry weather. However, prolonged periods of dry weather can cause damage so if we have more than 2 weeks of dry weather you need to water. If after walking on your grass it stays flat and does not spring back up then it requires water. To water correctly leave a jar with a line ½ inch from the bottom under your sprinkler when the water reaches the line move the sprinkler and start again. It is better to water heavily once a week than every night! Watering every night will encourage the roots to turn towards the damp surface and encourage moss.

Leaf and other debris. Try to remove leaves as soon as you can. Just leaving them on the grass for a few days can weaken grass. Grass needs to receive sunshine or it will die.

Weeds and moss. Weed seeds and moss spores are carried on the wind, land randomly and quickly establish themselves. Weeds are easier to control. Two applications of a professional herbicide will keep your lawn 90% weed free. Moss is usually the biggest problem on most lawns and must be treated every year to avoid causing serious damage. A good moss control product turns the moss black. Be careful not to apply too much or you may scorch your lawn. Dead moss must be raked out and seed sown in bare patches of your lawn.

If you neglect your lawn it will deteriorate quickly. The basic rules for treating lawns are as follows:

Late winter early spring. Apply a lawn fertiliser high in nitrogen to give the grass the nutrients it requires to grow in the wet warm spring conditions. Combine it with an application of herbicide to control weeds. Do not use a total weed killer on your lawn as they kill grass as well! Use a selective weed killer to just control weeds not grass. Do not apply too much or you could scorch your lawn.

Late spring / summer. Apply a fertiliser with a lower nitrogen content but high in phosphorous and potassium content. These are nutrients critical for root development. Combine the feed with a second application of herbicide to control more difficult clovers and weeds that appear later in the year.

Late summer / early autumn. Apply a fertiliser with a high potassium and phosphorous content combined with a dose of moss control. Moss will turn brown / black and needs to be raked or scarified out for grass to grow. Bare patched will also need to be overseeded to thicken up the grass and to prevent more moss and weeds taking hold.

Late autumn & winter. Apply a very heavy dose of moss control and iron to toughen up the grass over the winter and improve colour. Moss will turn brown / black and needs to be raked out for grass to grow. Consider scarifying and aerating the lawns.

Lawn Therapy can provide this service for you, please see our lawn care treatments and services or alternatively fill out our free lawn survey booking form and we will contact you.

Be careful some lawn care companies use only high nitrogen feeds that will green up your lawn in the short term but will eventually produce too much growth and create an over crowded spongy thatchy lawn. Check what they are using and insist they use the correct range of nutrients – after all it is your lawn not theirs!

Weed killers. Weeds are controlled by herbicides. The weeds need to be growing to die off effectively. Controlling weeds in cold or very hot dry weather tends to be a lot slower as the metabolism of the weeds (and grass) is a lot slower. Weeds are 70 % water and decompose quickly usually wilting 10 – 21 days after treating in normal conditions. They may tale longer in dry or cold conditions.

Moss control. Moss can be controlled at most times of the year but it does not decompose easily and the dead moss carcass may just sit on the soil surface blocking any new grass growth. Dead moss should be raked or scarified out from the lawn. Scarifying is a mechanical process of raking out dead moss and thatch – it is brutal and may leave your lawn looking bare and untidy and requiring top dressing and over seeding to recover. It is sensible to schedule scarifying just before a period of warm wet weather that will help the lawn recover. Do not scarify in extreme temperatures as your lawn may not recover for several months.

Aeration and compaction. With wear soil/lawns become compacted over time meaning that the soil particles are pushed closer together reducing the spaces between them which prevents oxygen etc and moisture moving through the soil. Aeration and spiking punch holes into the soil improving aeration. Cores pulled out of the soil should be collected not left on the surface. Aeration improves surface drainage – it does not improve overall soil drainage.

Disease and pest damage. There are a number of diseases and insects that can damage your lawn. Regularly inspect your lawn and look out for excessive weed and moss growth, discoloured grass or bare patches.

Brown patches. There are a number of different reasons for brown patches on your lawn. Insects – leather jackets can cause serious damage in a few days. Animal urine will create dark green patches will can turn into scorch marks. Petrol or chemical spills also cause scorch marks. Walking on your lawn when it is frozen or covered in snow can cause brown marks to appear later in the year.

Top dressing and over seeding. This is simply spreading a mixture of sand and soil over your lawns surface to improve drainage and irritate / impede moss growth. The principle is to gradually create a layer of sandy well drained soil on the surface and even out any undulations. Seed can be added to thicken up the lawn.

Growing grass from seed. Grass seed requires three things – good soil contact, warmth and moisture to germinate. If it is too dry, too cold or even too hot seed will not germinate. The best time to sow seed is early spring and late summer early autumn.
We hope the above is helpful. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us for a free no obligation lawn surveyor with any questions you may have.

Spring Lawn Care Tips – Late February to May

From late February we should start to see milder weather so some of the perennial weeds will start to show signs of life. Weeds will always start to grow at slightly colder temperatures than grasses. This is also the time of year when the damp conditions are still encouraging lawn moss. Worm casts can also be a problem in spring, they can stifle grasses and cause unsightly lumps in your lawn and they are also ideal spots for weeds to grow. Large populations of worms in your lawn can also encourage moles. It is important to note that prevention is always better than a cure and so finding the causes of these problems and correcting them is always the best practice.

Grass Cutting Height – Grasses usually start to show signs of growth in march but dont be tempted to cut the lawn too short. Just topping the grass this month is sufficient or severe yellowing of the grasses may occur and always choose a day when the grass is dry.
It is also a good time to get your mower blades sharpened as smashing through the the grass instead of cleanly cutting it will cause yellowing of the grass tips.

April – You can now start to lower the blades but never cut any shorter that 1″ for a utility lawn.

Weeds – These lawn weeds can be controlled with a selective herbicide but this will always depend on the weather, weeds that aren’t growing cannot be killed.
Contact Lawn Therapy and we can help advise and deal with this problem.

Lawn Moss – Lawn moss can be caused my many factors and minimising the conditions that moss likes to thrive in will help reduce the moss in your lawn.
Cutting back trees and shrubs to help light and air get you your grass will help dry out the surface of your lawn and thus help reduce moss.Waterlogged lawns have poor drainage, this can also cause moss, aerating your lawn will help increase surface drainage and will also encourage grass roots to grow deeper.
Top dressing your lawn in spring can also help increase surface drainage, thus minimising the conditions that moss like to thrive in, this will also help increase the fertility of the soil.
Scalping your lawn in the summer and autumn can also encourage moss to grow.
Underfeeding your lawn can also be a cause.
Removing the causes of lawn moss will result in the slow disappearance of the problem and the prevention of its return.
To speed up this process Lawn Therapy can apply a moss treatment to your lawn and then after the moss has turned black 10-15 days later come back and scarify your lawn to remove the dead moss. Overseeding or lawn seeding should also take place now to thicken up bare batches of grass.

Worm casts – Worm casts are caused by top feeding worms, they come to the surface of your lawn to feed on grass clipping and debris, keeping your lawn free of leaves, debris and grass clippings will minimise the damage they will do. Increasing the surface drainage by lawn aerating will also help reduce worm casts.
In extreme circumstances top feeding worms can be controlled by applying a pesticide, Lawn Therapy can help by applying this for you.
Please contact us for details.

Moles – Moles feed on top feeding worms so reducing the worms helps reduce the moles, see above.

Lawn Therapy’s service is quick, affordable and highly effective. Call us today and you can also take advantage of our free Lawn Care Survey (or visit our contact us page). Lawn Therapy also offer additional lawn care services which your lawn may benefit from.  These include scarification, aeration, overseeding, top dressing, Lawn Re-Turfing, garden pest control, grass disease control and Moss Control. 

Summer Lawn Care Tips – Late May to September

From May through to September we should start to see warmer dryer weather – the soil will still be moist in May but will start to dry out as we get further into summer. This time of year grasses will now be growing vigorously and weeds too but a dry spell will slow the growth down. Some of you will also notice unsightly annual meadow grass clumps appearing in your lawn, this will have been caused by seed from birds germinating in bare patches or in worm casts from spring (see tips below on how to control this). Cutting height and irrigation will play a big part in maintaining a lush healthy looking lawn throughout the summer, reading and performing the tips below will help you accomplish this.

Grass Cutting Height – Lowering the mower blades to cut at 1″ on a utility lawn can now be done. Increase your mowing to twice a week from may on-wards. Raking the lawn gently to lift up flowering shoots of meadow grass should be done before cutting. If meadow grass is not a big problem leaving the grass clippings on the surface in a very dry summer will help stop your lawn from drying out.
Cutting your grass too short (scalping) will damage a lawn and could also encourage moss in the autumn.

Weeds – These lawn weeds can be controlled with a selective herbicide but this will always depend on the weather. Summer is a great time to control weeds as they will be growing vigorously in the warmer weather.
Contact Lawn Therapy and we can help advise and deal with this problem.

Meadow Grass – Also known as Poa annua is a small native weed grass that seeds freely, even when turf is mown very close. Although it is usually an annual (living for one year only), there are strains which can be biennial (living for two years), or even perennial (living indefinitely).
Flowering heads can occur below the cutting height so raking before mowing will help lift these stems. Control is difficult but encouraging the finer grasses to grow by means of the correct fertiliser will limit the space for meadow grass to germinate and seed.
Meadow grass is also shallow rooting so aerating the lawn to increase surface drainage will weaken it and will also encourage the finer more desirable grasses roots to grow deeper. If infestation is extensive, control is much more difficult so avoid frequent watering in dry summers, as meadow grass is shallow-rooting and will be discouraged by drought.
Small areas of Meadow grass can be cut out using a sharp knife making sure you remove all the root then re-seeding should take place. Larger areas can be forked out in September and October back filled to level the lawn and then also re-seeded.

Lawn Moss – Although moss is not a big problem in the summer understanding why it accurs can help minimise it later on in the year. Lawn moss can be caused my many factors and minimising the conditions that moss likes to thrive in will help reduce the moss in your lawn.Cutting back trees and shrubs to help light and air get you your grass will help dry out the surface of your lawn and thus help reduce moss.Waterlogged lawns have poor drainage, this can also cause moss, aerating your lawn will help increase surface drainage and will also encourage grass roots to grow deeper.
Top dressing your lawn in spring and summer can also help increase surface drainage, thus minimising the conditions that moss like to thrive in, this will also help increase the fertility of the soil.
Scalping your lawn in the summer and autumn can also encourage moss to grow.
Underfeeding your lawn can also be a cause.
Removing the causes of lawn moss will result in the slow disappearance of the problem and the prevention of its return.
To speed up this process Lawn Therapy can apply a moss treatment to your lawn in spring or autumn and then after the moss has turned black 10-15 days later come back and scarify your lawn to remove the dead moss. Overseeding or lawn seeding should also take place now to thicken up bare batches of grass.

Watering & Dry spells- There are no exact rules to watering but a simple guide is water your lawn once a week under normal dry conditions and increase this to twice a week in abnormally hot weather.
Try to do this early morning or evening to reduce evaporation but change this to watering only in the morning nearer to autumn enabling your lawn to dry out a little towards the end of the day preventing moss growth.
During dry spells leaving the grass collection box off when you mow and leaving the clippings on the lawns surface can help keep the moisture in your lawn.

Dry Patch or Hydrophobic Dry Patch – During periods of dry weather a fungus builds up around the soil particles and will have an effect of repelling the water droplets in the soil. A severe case of dry patch will result in the soil almost being unable to absorb water and any rain will run across the surface of the soil like rain on a glass plate. The grass suffers as moisture is not reaching down to the roots. Aerating your soil by spiking or hollow tine aeration combined with an application of a wetting agent to tackle the fungal disease will improve the water absorption properties of the soil and benefit the grass. Dry patch is an increasing problem in our dry windy summers. Lawn Therapy can apply wetting agents along side our four seasonal treatments to help prevent lawns from drying out and help grass make the most of available moisture. 

Lawn Therapy’s service is quick, affordable and highly effective. Call us today and you can also take advantage of our free Lawn Care Survey (or visit our contact us page). Lawn Therapy also offer additional lawn care services which your lawn may benefit from.  These include scarification, aeration, overseeding, top dressing, Lawn Re-Turfing, garden pest control, grass disease control and Moss Control.

Autumn Lawn Care Tips – Late August to November

This time of year grass growth slows down and most perennial lawn weeds have died off until the weather warms up again next year, other lawn weeds will continue to grow like dandelions, daisies and common chickweed well into November.

This is also the time of year when the damp conditions encourage lawn moss to take hold. Worm casts can also be a problem in autumn, they can stifle grasses cause unsightly lumps in your lawn, large populations of worms can also encourage moles into your lawn. It is important to note that prevention is always better than a cure and so finding the causes of these problems and correcting them is always the best practice.
Below are some lawn service tips to help you conquer these problems.

Grass Cutting Height – The autumn height for cutting your grass is roughly 1/4 in longer than you would cut in the summer so about 1 1/4 in is fine for a utility lawn.
Cutting you grass too short will encourage moss to grow.

Late Weeds – These lawn weeds can be controlled but this will always depend on the weather, weeds that aren’t growing cannot be killed.
Contact Lawn Therapy and we can help advise and deal with this problem.

Lawn Moss – Lawn moss can be caused my many factors and minimising the conditions that moss likes to thrive in will help reduce the moss in your lawn.
Cutting back trees and shrubs to help light and air get you your grass will help dry out the surface of your lawn and thus help reduce moss.Waterlogged lawns have poor drainage, this can also cause moss, aerating your lawn will help increase surface drainage and will also encourage grass roots to grow deeper.Scalping your lawn in the summer and autumn can also encourage moss to grow.
Underfeeding your lawn can also be a cause.
Removing the causes of lawn moss will result in the slow disappearance of the problem and the prevention of its return.
To speed up this process Lawn Therapy can apply a moss treatment to your lawn and then after the moss has turned black 10-15 days later come back and scarify your lawn to remove the dead moss. Overseeding or lawn seeding should also take place now to thicken up bare batches of grass.
Top dressing your lawn in autumn can also help increase surface drainage, this can also help increase the fertility of the soil.

Worm casts – Worm casts are caused by top feeding worms, they come to the surface of your lawn to feed on grass clipping and debris, keeping your lawn free of leaves, debris and grass clippings in the autumn will minimise the damage they will do. Increasing the surface drainage by lawn aerating will also help reduce worm casts.

In extreme circumstances top feeding worms can be controlled by applying a pesticide, Lawn Therapy can help by applying this for you.
Please contact us for details.

Moles – Moles feed on top feeding worms so reducing the worms helps reduce the moles, see above.

Lawn Therapy’s service is quick, affordable and highly effective. Call us today and you can also take advantage of our free Lawn Care Survey (or visit our contact us page). Lawn Therapy also offer additional lawn care services which your lawn may benefit from.  These include scarification, aeration, overseeding, top dressing, Lawn Re-Turfing, garden pest control, grass disease control and Moss Control.

Winter Lawn Care Tips – November to February

Winter can be a tough on your lawn. With the cold wet weather trying to take its toll on your lawn it is important to keep traffic to a minimum so try to keep off it whenever it is wet and especially when its frozen. Keeping your lawn free of leaves and debris in winter is also important as they can stifle grasses.

This is also the time of year when the damp conditions encourage lawn moss to take hold. Worm casts can also be a problem in late autumn-early winter as they can stifle grasses and cause unsightly lumps in your lawn, large populations of worms can also encourage moles into your lawn. It is important to note that prevention is always better than a cure and so finding the causes of these problems and correcting them is always the best practice.

Grass Cutting Height – The last cut for your lawn should be November and the height for cutting your grass is roughly 1/4 in longer than you would cut in the summer so about 1 1/4 in is fine for a utility lawn. Cutting you grass too short will encourage moss to grow. Only cut the grass if the weather is open (neither wet or frosty) and the surface is firm.

Lawn Moss – Lawn moss can be caused my many factors and minimising the conditions that moss likes to thrive in will help reduce the moss in your lawn.
Cutting back trees and shrubs to help light and air get to your grass will help dry out the surface of your lawn and thus help reduce moss but remember walking on your lawn should be avoided in wet and frosty weather.
Waterlogged lawns have poor drainage, this can also cause moss, see lawn aeration.
Scalping your lawn in the summer and autumn can also encourage moss to grow.
Underfeeding your lawn can also be a cause.
Removing the causes of lawn moss will result in the slow disappearance of the problem and the prevention of its return.
To speed up this process Lawn Therapy can apply a moss treatment to your lawn ready for the spring when we can come back and scarify your lawn to remove the dead moss. Overseeding or lawn seeding can also take place then to thicken up bare batches of grass.
Top dressing your lawn in spring can also help increase surface drainage, this can also help increase the fertility of the soil.

Worm casts – Worm casts are caused by top feeding worms, they come to the surface of your lawn to feed on grass clipping and debris, keeping your lawn free of leaves, debris and grass clippings in the winter will minimise the damage they will do in spring. Increasing the surface drainage by lawn aerating in spring will also help reduce worm casts.
In extreme circumstances top feeding worms can be controlled by applying a pesticide, Lawn Therapy can help by applying this for you, please note it is only lower feeding worms that are beneficial to your lawn so only top feeding worms will be controlled by this treatment. Please contact us for details.

Moles – Moles feed on top feeding worms so reducing the worms helps reduce the moles, see above.

Lawn Therapy’s service is quick, affordable and highly effective. Call us today and you can also take advantage of our free Lawn Care Survey (or visit our contact us page). Lawn Therapy also offer additional lawn care services which your lawn may benefit from.  These include scarification, aeration, overseeding, top dressing, Lawn Re-Turfing, garden pest control, grass disease control and Moss Control.

Watering Tips

During these long hot summer days your lawn can become dry and stressed. Grass cannot live without water and the telltale signs that your lawn needs water will be the tips of the grass drying out or loss of ‘springiness’ in the grass. This dryness will slowly work its way down the grass plant. If rain or irrigation is not forthcoming the grass will turn yellow then brown and eventually turn straw like, in extreme cases the grass will die. There are a few tips to try to prevent this from happening.

Watering – All living things require water but grass can tolerate dry weather. However, prolonged periods of dry weather can cause damage so if we have more than 2 weeks of dry weather you need to water. If after walking on your grass it stays flat and does not spring back up then it requires water. To water correctly leave a jar with a line ½ inch from the bottom under your sprinkler when the water reaches the line move the sprinkler and start again. It is better to water heavily once a week than lightly every night! Watering lighty will encourage the roots to turn towards the damp surface and also encourage moss. There are no exact rules to watering but a simple guide is water your lawn once a week under normal dry conditions and increase this to twice a week in abnormally hot weather.
Try to do this early morning or evening to reduce evaporation but change this to watering only in the morning nearer to autumn enabling your lawn to dry out a little towards the end of the day preventing moss growth.  

Dry Patch or Hydrophobic Dry Patch – During periods of dry weather a fungus builds up around the soil particles and will have an effect of repelling the water droplets in the soil. A severe case of dry patch will result in the soil almost being unable to absorb water and any rain will run across the surface of the soil like rain on a glass plate. The grass suffers as moisture is not reaching down to the roots. Aerating your soil by spiking or hollow tine aeration combined with an application of a wetting agent to tackle the fungal disease will improve the water absorption properties of the soil and benefit the grass. Dry patch is an increasing problem in our dry windy summers. Lawn Therapy can apply wetting agents to help prevent lawns from drying out and help grass make the most of available moisture.

Compacted ground can have serious consequences for any lawns but can be cured by simply aerating the soil helping air, fertiliser and much needed water reach the roots thus benefiting the grass. This will help create a strong and vigorous root system and will increase drought resistence.

Thatch is a build up of dead organic matter lying on the soil surface. This layer acts like a barrier preventing the free flow of moisture, oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the grass roots and preventing much needed moisture reaching the base of the grass shoots. It is vital that thatch is not allowed to build up as it can have a disastrous effect on any lawn weakening the grass, encouraging moss and diseases. Scarifying is the physical process of removing thatch from the soil surface and will help much needed moisture reach the roots of the grass.

Feeding regularly will greatly improve your grasses resistance to draught, this fertiliser will help maintain a strong grass plant giving the turf a natural ability to survive in dry conditions.
See our lawn treatment services for more information.

We can start treating your lawn at any time of year and you will begin to notice results after just a few days.

Lawn Therapy provide scarifying, aerating, top dressing, lawn re-turfing services that allows your lawn to enjoy the same standard of lawn care as the local golf course and we use these professional treatments to control moss, weeds, lawn insects, worm casts, and grass and lawn diseases.

Contact us for a free no obligation lawn survey or with any questions you may have.