Lawn Care for Beginners

Lawn Care for Beginners – More Tips!!

Further to my last post where I covered Lawn Care for Beginners, I’m going to give newbies EVEN MORE tips to help you ensure your lawn care success.

Now these tips aren’t quite as important as the previous, but they still demand some consideration if you want your lawn to look its best.

In fact, if you don’t fully understand these then you will be giving yourself some trouble down the line.

Fertilisers

Lawn fertilisers come in 2 different categories – Organic and Synthetic.

Both types of fertilisers provide nutrients that are important for the condition and health of your lawn.

I’m not sure if you know this but organically maintained lawns are healthier, stronger and better looking than those maintained synthetically. Synthetics do nothing for the soils long term health and even though they make your lawn look nice shorter term, they can actually be pretty damaging if you do not get the dosage correct.

Yes, organic will take longer to see the results initially, but with a continued organic program of care the results are far more superior and longer lasting.

Organic Fertiliser

Organic Fertilisers

By using an organic fertiliser you’ll not only be feeding the soil but also the organisms living within it. These organisms are just as important as the soil itself and by ensuring their health, you’ll be ensuring the health of your lawn as well.

The nutrients in organic fertiliser are also released at slower rate than synthetics. This does mean they take longer to take effect but it makes it much easier for the soil and roots to absorb them and will not be prone to washing away during the first heavy downpour. Resulting in a healthier and stronger lawn.

Organic lawn fertilisers can be made from many natural products such as compost (green matter), blood, fish, bones, sea weed (both liquid and solids) or lawn mowers that have the ability to mulch the grass cuttings.

The great advantage of using lawn organic fertiliser is that they eliminate the danger of fertiliser burn. Fertiliser burn is when too higher concentration of synthetic fertiliser has been applied to the lawn.

Another benefit of the organic fertiliser is that the organic content is added directly to the soil, providing longer term, slow release fertilisation.

It is not all good with organic fertiliser, there are some drawbacks. In order for organic fertiliser to be effective, large quantities are needed over a continuous period of time. You also can not control the ratio of N (Nitrogen), P (Phosphate) and K (Potassium) that your lawn condition requires according to the different seasons.

Another disadvantage is that using organic fertiliser can be a little smelly for some time, especially when using something like chicken manure.

One of my favourite fertiliser is sea weed, it makes your lawn dark green and healthy looking, due to the high iron content. It comes provided in either solid or liquid form.

Overall, organic fertilisers improve the lawn’s fertility, soil structure, drought tolerance and their resistance against disease. As you can expect synthetics, though providing visual improvements, do none of these things.

Even though changing your fertiliser is a great start, there are other things that you’ll need to do in order to maintain an organic lawn. There is actually quite a bit to cover, so if you want to learn more check out my post Organic Lawn Maintenance.

Synthetic Fertiliser

Synthetic FertilisersAlthough synthetic fertilisers are not my preferred choice, they do get fast results and are more convenient and flexible.

Synthetic fertilisers are made up of a combination of chemicals that include N (Nitrogen), P (Phosphate) and K (Potassium). One of the main advantages of synthetic lawn fertiliser is that you can choose the ratio of each chemical in the fertiliser you purchase, to suit the condition of your lawn and the season in which you are applying it. On each lawn fertiliser you will have 3 numbers relating to the primary ingredients listed below –

N (Nitrogen), promotes growth and lush green lawn

P (Phosphate), promotes healthy roots of your lawn

K (Potassium), promotes strong and healthy growth withing the lawn structure

So for example, a fertiliser that has the number 3-12-12 will contact 3% N, 12% P and 12% K. The remaining content is bulk material that facilitates the spread and release of the nutrients.

Ensure that you pay attention to these numbers, and buy a suitable fertiliser for your lawn’s requirements.

Another advantage of synthetic products is that they can include 3 in 1 complete lawn care, including moss killer, weed killer as well as fertilising (thicker, tougher, greener and healthier lawns).

It is important to spread the synthetic fertiliser evenly to avoid uneven spread and concentration patches that can lead to lawn burns. A fertiliser spreader is recommended to achieve an even spread, and also remember to avoid mowing the lawn 4-5 days either side of the treatment.

Generally, you should fertilise your lawn twice per year.

Improve Drainage

Lawn Drainage

Having a well drained lawn is also important to the well-being and health of your lawn. Poor drainage can lead to waterlogged lawns and other complications that will reduce the health and appearance of your lawn. Poor drainage can be caused by many factors including high levels of clay, soil compaction and poor drainage on paved areas around your garden.

To prevent waterlogged lawns you will need to aerate the lawn, change the structure of your soil and deal with any cause of excessive water running onto the lawn such as installing gutters around buildings and sheds. You will also need to level the lawn to ensure that you do not have sunken areas that will accumulate excess water. Growing wet plants around and in beds within the lawn can also help to reduce the levels of water.

Aerating your lawn can be really hard work if done manually, especially for larger lawns. Petrol and Electric aeration machines are readily available and are recommended if this is something you are going to need to do on a regular basis.

Watering

The opposite to a waterlogged lawn is a lawn that is suffering from drought or lack of water. The tell tell sign of a lawn lacking water is that it will change colour and go dry.

As long as there are no water restrictions in place in your area, you should keep your lawn watered during periods of long, dry and hot weather.

Sprinklers are readily available, whereby you can connect your garden hose and let it do its job.  It is essential that you do not over-water your lawn, so keep moving the sprinkler around periodically.

It is better to water the lawn thoroughly and less often as opposed to light watering on a daily basis. It is also best to water your lawn at the beginning of the day during cooler temperatures.

Weeds

As you can guess, there are two ways to deal with weeds: Manually or with Weed Killers.

Manually

Weed Root Puller

To make sure the weed doesn’t grow back again, you need to make sure you remove its roots.

You can try doing this by just pulling at the stem, but this usually only works for short weeds. Instead you’re better digging a small hole around the weed to loosen the soil and then pull.

This makes it much more likely that you’ll remove the entire weed including the roots.

You can also use a weed puller if you like. There are available with longer handles so you are not having to bend down.

Another alternative is to use a Weed Burner, that provides concentrated heat with targeted precision.

Weed Killer

Homemade Organic Weed KillerThis is of course the easier and quicker method of the two but it does take some thought to determine which type of weed killer to use.

But in saying that, it’s not that difficult a decision.

If you have weeds in one particular area of your lawn, then use a selective weed killer, and if you have weeds all over your lawn, then use a 4-1 Action Lawn Treatment. These are part feed, weed and moss killer so don’t need to worry about damaging your grass.

When applying either of these you need to make sure you follow the instructions on the bag. You don’t want to ruin your hard work by misusing the weed killer and damaging your lawn.

Lawn Care for BeginnersDry Patches

When it comes to dealing with dry patches, it’s best just to follow a process:

  1. Remove all dead grass, best to use a de-thatching machine.
  2. Break up the soil with a garden trowel or a rake.
  3. Add grass seeds evenly across the bare patch, consider how much shade/sun exposure your lawn is getting before choosing which type of seed you use. You want good contact with the seed and soil so work the seed in using the back of the rake.
  4. Spread compost to the spot so that it has about 5 cm coverage, make sure all seed is covered, otherwise it could dry out and won’t germinate. This keeps the soil moist and protects it from washing away during times of heavy rain.
  5. Make sure you keep this area moist so lightly water it once a day until the seeds germinate and the new grass grows to about 2.5 cm tall. Make sure you don’t water too heavily or else the soil could run away with the soil.

This of course is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dealing with repairs. So to make sure you know everything, check out my post Lawn Repair Advice.

Lawn Care for BeginnersTopdressing

The main reason we topdress is to get the soil into its best growing conditions, to treat its irregularities and to improve the texture of difficult soils.

Now it’s not as simple as throwing down some dirt on your lawn and hoping it works. There is actually a process to follow.

When

To be honest there isn’t an exact, correct time to topdress, you can do it at any point during the growing season. It’s really up to you and when you plan on carrying out other lawn care tasks.

Just make sure that when you do topdress, that you do it in conjunction with lawn aeration and scarification. Both of these methods give the topdress better access to the grass roots and soil, making it more effective.

How

As with dry patches, there is a process to follow when applying a topdress.

  1. Cut your lawn quite short and apply a dry dressing to a dry lawn on a dry day.
  2. Grab your dressing and portion it into piles evenly around the lawn so that there’s a pile per every few metres of grass.
  3. Now spread the piles into the areas of lawn they have been allocated to. You can either use a spade to scoop up and fling it or you can use the back of a rake and push and pull it into position.
  4. Now you need to brush the dressing into the soil, this has to be done a little more vigorously than above so make sure you use a stiff rake. This may be a slow process but the time and effort will reward you with a much smoother lawn surface.
  5. The top dressing should be no more than a couple of cm deep so that about 75% of the grass blade is still left showing.
  6. Now give the lawn a few days to rest before you mow again, otherwise the blades on the mower could get blunt from the contact with the material still left on the grass.

For more info on topdressing, check out my post “How to Top Dress Your Lawn“.

Tools for the Job

In my opinion, one of the best ways to care for your lawn is to purchase a mulching lawn mower. They’re becoming very popular in the UK and an ideal way to cut and organically fertilise your lawn. For more details on the benefits of mulching your lawn see my article –  The Benefits of Mulching.

If you have read my article and believe that a mulching mower is now the right option for you and your lawn, see my list of top Mulching Mowers on this link – Best Mulching Lawn Mowers. 

You can also consider robotic mowers as they also mulch your lawn. Once set up you can sit back and let the mower take the strain.

Out of all the products you could invest in for the sake of your lawn, mulching mowers should definitely be on top of your list.

I hope you found these tips useful, and that they prove some significance in your lawn care efforts!

If you have any questions then please leave them in the comment box below and I will be happy to answer.

4 thoughts on “Lawn Care for Beginners – More Tips!!

  1. This post was very informative!

    My grandma has been having some of these issues with her lawn/garden and I’ve wanted to help her, but did not know where to start or what to do.

    After reading this, I have realized that some of these problems are so basic and easy to fix!

    Thank you for sharing. I appreciate it!

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