There are a lot of sick lawns outside at current. With how quickly we raced from winter to summer last year, the time to act is now to make the most of the spring recovery window.
Are mechanical works required?
With the extremes of weather that our lawns have had to put up with over the last 12 months, many lawns will need to start the year with a spring clean in the form of a scarification. It is important that this is now carried out as soon as possible (weather permitting). With the extremes of last year, the lawns scarified in March did better with rainfall still to follow to aid recovery. Late April / early May is adequate, but irrigation may be required - where many were caught out last year. If you were tempted by contacting a lawn care service, we'd recommend doing so now rather than waiting until April - when we will be booking up at speed along with fellow professionals.
It is important that a sample is taken from the lawn, viewing the thatch layer and assessing how aggressive the work should be for the best results. While carrying out this work, it would be beneficial to aerate the lawn, oxygenating the soil, encouraging the development of roots and future plant health.
Get on with scarification ASAP to make the most of spring recovery
It is best to mow prior to taking a scarifier to your lawn. This will allow the blades of the machine better access to the thatch layer rather than damaging healthy grass plants. March is deemed as the start of the lawn care season, but on recent weather, it's important to work by the conditions, rather than the calendar. Mowing as often as required, removing no more than a third of the plant with any single cut is a good starting point. Take care not to cut into any moss growth unless you are planning on taking the scarifier to it straight after as you will only encourage its growth.
What to apply in March / April?
On the assumption you've given your lawn it's spring clean, now is a great time to make a slow release fertilser application (this isn't the stuff in the nice packaging from the garden centre). Something with a fair nitrogen input, and balanced levels of P and K will be required also. If your lawn struggles against annual meadow grass and you are not intended on overseeding, consider ditching a P input altogether, certainly in a clay soil. You lawn may require a selective herbicide also should weeds be a problem. Unless you're an enthusiast, it might be an idea to drop us a line regarding our lawn treatment programmes. Domestic products are not those of a professional, certainly for those of weed control.
Overseeding - when is best?
Seed will not germinate until the soil temperatures can hold above 5c, with adequate water and good seed to soil contact. It's may be best to hold out until April to overseed as a final wintry blast isn't yet out of the equation. Modern seeds available to the professional may give a better grass cover sooner, at lower temperatures.