One of the most common questions we hear is: “What should I do with my lawn? I think I need to get it re-turfed”.
Our answer is, that in 90% of cases, this is not necessary. With a little bit of spraying, raking, seed spreading and watering you can have a perfect lawn in less than 3-4 weeks. Even better, it will be for 80% of the cost of re-turfing.
Here’s some simple steps to creating the perfect lawn.
Step 1: Remove the Competition. Lawns need to breathe
Weeds and moss love lawns, so you need to knock these on the head. Weed, feed and moss killers are great for maintenance on an established lawn but fairly ineffective when they are taking over.
Lawn weed killers are called selectives. This means that in simple terms the weed killer knows that grass is grass and weeds are weeds and only kills the weeds. Weed killers come in liquid form and can be mixed in a sprayer and applied all over the lawn. They are very effective and start to work in a day or so. Don’t be alarmed in the beginning as, the strange thing is, the weeds actually start to grow! Eventually, they will wither and die.
It is good practice to feed a lawn when spraying a selective weed killer, as it gives the grass strength through the process.
This brings me to your next step in the process.
Step 2: Killing the Moss
Moss’s biggest enemy is iron and there are a large amount of fertilisers on the market which contain iron, usually quoted as a percentage.
One of the most effective moss killers is Lawn Sand. This product has a low nitrogen content which means it will not encourage lots of growth but the iron content is high and will give the moss a run for its money.
You can apply Lawn sand straight after the selective weed killer. Both need to be done in dry conditions. 24 hours without rain is preferable. This is so the iron can sit on top of the moss to work its magic. You cannot do without a lawn spreader for this job. We highly recommend that you invest in a handy spreader. It is the best tool we have found for fertilising your lawn year after year.
After a few days your lawn will start to look very black! Do not despair!! It will look a lot worse before you’re finished.
Step 3: Removing the Dead
The first 2 steps were the easy part. Now we move on to a bit of hard work. Firstly do not be intimidated by the size of the area. Best practice is to break it down into areas and tackle one area a day. You need to get a rake (a plastic fan rake is best) Rake up the dead moss and weeds and remove it from your lawn. If you have a large area consider buying a motorised/electric scarifier.
By now your lawn has gone from black to bald! And happily, that is the hard work done. The rest is easy.
Step 4: Sowing the Seed
This is the easiest job. Fill a bucket with grass seed and simply walk up and down the lawn spreading the seed. Easy!
Gently rake over the whole area, this ensures that some of the seed is covered with soil, essential for grass seed germination.
Step 5: Watering
If rain is forecast then you are in luck. If not, be ready with your sprinkler.
Seeded areas don’t need a lot of water but the soil does need to be damp. Do not leave the hose on for too long as puddles will form and the seed will float into one area!
Read our post on bird and cat scarers to keep them off your newly seeded lawn.
Step 6: Sit Back and Watch it Grow.
The seed can take 1 to 2 weeks to germinate or a couple of days if it’s very warm.
The time of year to do this can vary as our climate is so changeable. Anything above 10⁰c will be fine as a general rule.
Step 7: The First Cut
After about 4-5 weeks your new lawn should have a nice tinge of green. When the grass reaches about 3 inches it will be ready for its first cut. Adjust your mower to cut as high as it can and away you go.
Try not to turn the mower on one spot as the roots of the grass are not quite established yet and can easily pull out and die.
You only want to cut the tips of the grass. This will help the grass to thicken and become stronger.
The seed has all the nutrients it needs for the first 2-3 months so there is no need to feed your lawn again in the first year. Just keep up the watering. Not a lot of water is required as the roots have not travelled deep into the soil yet.
Follow these steps and you should have a beautiful lawn at less than the cost of re-turfing.
TIP: You can renovate or start a new lawn in either the autumn or spring, both will work well but in my experience spring is a better choice as it gives the lawn a continuing chance to recover heading into the summer.