Its That Time Again!

Today the hours of daylight will exceed the hours of darkness prompting the awakening of our gardens. You can dust off the lawnmower and oil the trusty wheelbarrow, and get back in the garden!

Where  to start?

Grass seed sowed last month on bare patches in the lawn and sowed again a fortnight ago has still not germinated. Don’t sit bare buttocked on the ground to determine if it’s warm enough – just watch the weeds, if they don’t grow don’t sow.

However established grass is growing, probably time for the first or in some cases second cut of the season.

To Mulch or Not to Mulch?

One priority is to order some bark to mulch borders primarily planted with shrubs and trees. Ground cover that doesn’t need cutting every week is what you are aiming for coupled with all year round interest! Plants themselves may not be big enough to provide cover, hence mulching is vital. Bare soil is bad – except in winter when it has been freshly dug over and left to ‘weather’, which is a natural conditioning process.

Double Daffodils

Most winter flowering shrubs are gone or going now, replaced by masses of daffodils, violets and red dead nettles. Double daffodils, green in bud and when first opened turning golden yellow, are less valuable for wildlife but as they don’t set seed they consequently bloom for longer. If you have any, multiply and plant out for next year.

Lawn Cutting Tips

There are several basic principles for cutting lawns.

  1. Remember the 1/3 rule do not cut more than this off the grass and leave at least 48 hours between cuts to reduce the height
  2. Mow in different directions either everytime or at least once a month
  3. Overlap each cut by at least 1” for roller mowers and 2” for wheeled mowers.
  4. To get a dead straight line across a large lawn pick a non movable object, like a tree, pylon etc. preferably 200 yrds away or further and walk straight towards it.
  5. When turning round do it a different distance from the edge so visit one three stripes around outside, visit two five stripes around outside, visit three four stripes around outside. This avoids soil compaction on the edges, and change direction of the stripes as for item 2.
  6. If you have to mow when lawns are really wet it is good to use a twitch or hose to remove excess moisture, and if possible do this on arrival and then cut the grass at the end of the visit. Slow down with the mower but try not to reduce blade speed.
  7. If the lawn has a slightly silvery look when cut, the blade probably needs sharpening.
  8. Look at the lawn as you mow, remove molehills and other debris, and look for weeds, moss and other signs of an unhealthy lawn.
  9. Do not cut a lawn if a frost is imminent and do not walk on a frozen lawn if possible.