Lawn Repair Advice
Recently, the weather here in the UK has been a roller coaster of heavy rain storms and milder conditions. Flooding in northern England in the last few years has become a regular occurrence (from December to February), and whilst the condition of your lawn may be the last problem on your mind, the wet weather will have an impact on the condition of your lawn leading into Spring.
With the changing weather, nasty weeds and overhanging trees, lawn care is likely to become a real challenge. For most people it can be really hard work, especially in areas of damage needing repair.
Now imagine you went through all this hard work, say when removing a tree root, only to find you’ve done the entire process incorrectly and after a couple weeks the problem’s back again. I’d say you’d be pretty annoyed at yourself and probably feel a little deflated.
There’s no point in going through your entire process again because the same thing will happen in a couple of weeks, but at the same time you want to get rid of the tree root. Understandably, you could be left a little stumped. Well, not to worry because I’m going to help you out.
Below, I’ve went through some common problems you’re likely to see at one point during the season, and explained exactly how you should deal with them.
There are two ways to deal with weeds: manually and with weeds killers. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, it’s really up to your preference and your situation.
For this to be effective you need to not only remove the plants but the roots accompanying them, otherwise they’ll just grow back.
With a small hoe, dig into the soil around the stem of the weed to loosen the soil. For short roots you can just grab the stem tight and pull gently, but with longer roots you’ll need to be a little more careful, making sure no roots snap that are then left in the soil.
You might need to keep digging deeper several times to be effective, so just keep at it.
If you want to make the entire manual process easier then you can use a weed puller.
Removal with a Weed Killer
Now it really depends on your situation which type of weed killer you use. If you have smaller areas of weeds that are spread out around your lawn then use a selective weed killer. They target the surrounding weeds without damaging any other areas of grass.
But if you have weeds spread all over your lawn then you want to use a Triple Action Lawn Treatment. They’re part feed, weed killer and moss killer so there’s no need to work about damaging other areas of grass, just remember to follow instructions of the bag.
You can apply both of these by hand or, if you want to do it quicker, with a lawn spreader.
It’s important to remember that weeds aren’t just pests that are there to dampen your day (even though it can seem like it), they can actually be quite helpful and good indicators of even bigger problems with your soil. For example, crabgrass can point to soil compaction, which means you’ll need to aerate your lawn.
Just because you have removed all of the weed doesn’t mean the job is finished. There’s likely to be more work for you to do, it’s just finding out exactly what that is and getting to it as quickly as you can.
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MOSS OR THATCH
All moss or thatch needs to be removed from your lawn as it suppresses sunlight getting through to the grass seed, therefore the grass will not grow. When the moss or thatch is removed the area is likely to look little bare. Unlike treating weeds, there is just one process you should carry out and that is scarifying. This is the simplest remedy that will remove all the moss down to its roots.
Using a spring tine rake or a scarifying machine, start scraping away at all the areas of moss or thatch. They don’t have long roots so they should just lift right up, but if you have them all over your lawn then it could be quite a workout unless you use an electric or petrol machine. Make sure you’ve removed all the moss from your lawn before moving to the next step. Why not that a look at the latest reviews of Best Lawn Scarifier Reviews UK.
After scarifying you need to apply a moss killer. As the dense moss has just been opened up, the moss killer can penetrate the soil all the way down to the bottom of the moss plant. This ensures that all the moss dies, which you will need to rake out when it turns black.
You will then want to aerate the lawn, if you have a small area of moss then a pitch fork will do just fine but if it’s all over the lawn you’ll want to rent or buy an aerating machine. This relives compaction, improves the drainage and allows for air and any fertiliser you apply to reach deep into the roots. If you want to see my list of best Aerates and Lawn Scarifiers, click the link below – Best Lawn Scarifier Reviews UK.
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To further help the soil with drainage and to ensure healthy grass growth you should now apply a topdressing to the soil. Make sure you cover the entire damaged area, and then with a brush or the back of your rake, sweep the topdressing into the soil so that it fills all the holes you’ve just made by aerating.
Now it’s time to overseed this area. You want to scatter the seed lightly and evenly, so using your hand is fine but if you want it done quicker and even more evenly, I recommend using a lawn spreader. Make sure you buy the correct overseed for your grass type and follow the instructions on the box.
Finally, gently water the seeded area making sure you use a rose at the end of your watering can. Do not water too heavily, otherwise the seed could run away with the soil.
If your lawn looks good everything else in your garden looks good as it is the main focal point in your garden. If your lawn is trampled by too many BBQs or football matches it may look more like Glastonbury than Wimbledon. Like top top tennis stars, many gardeners like perfectly striped lawn with sharp edges, however as we all know plants can overhang your lawn and beneath the grass may have seen better days, if you are lucky, or be dead altogether.
How do you repair this unsightly bare patch on the edge of your grass?
- Simply cut the overhanging plants back, away from the grass.
- Using a spade cut a square around the bare patch that needs to be replaced.
- Then turn the cut square round so the good edge is on the boarder. Make sure it is firmly down and then fill any gaps with soil.
- It is important to ensure the turf is level with your lawn.
- Now the clean and sharp edge is on the border and the repaired area/patch is on the inside.
- Then put grass seed over the surface and fork it in.
- The final step is to water the grass seed. With little sun it will take no time at all to recover and you will not be able to see the join.
How do you repair bare patches in the middle of your lawn?
Spring is the perfect time for lawn repairs. There are two ways of repairing bare patches in the middle of your lawn.
You can prick the area over and reseed it with a fork OR replace it with turf – this is much easier with faster results.
How do you make a piece of turf fit perfectly?
- Take a piece of turf that is much larger than the repair area and lay it over the bare patch.
- Then cut an area you know is larger than the bare patch – it is important to cut right through the turf and the grass below using a sharp knife.
- Remove the excess of the turf edges, as they are not needed.
- Put the turf you have just cut to one side, as it will be used as your grass replacement.
- The knife markings on your grass will be visible. Remove the grass using a sharp knife up to the marked lines.
- Ensure the patch level is level and correct and then place the pre-cut and pre-prepared turf in position.
- If done correctly, the fit will be perfect.
- Water the area.
Please note that if you want to make perfect match, take a piece of turf elsewhere from your garden (if you can), if not newly purchased turf will for sure have a different colour and will not totally match initially. Eventually it will blend it extremely well.
Small and regular repairs will ensure your lawn is looking perfect and once you have successfully completed this process and seen the results, there will be no stopping you.
How do you reseed a bare patch?
When treating a bare patch make sure you follow the process below:
- Remove all dead grass, best to use a dethatching machine.
- Break up and fluff up the soil with a garden trowel or a rake where the grass should be.
- Mix grass seed with top dressing material to allow even distribution of the grass seed.
- Put the mix evenly across the bare patch, use a rake to fill the hole and flatten the dressing material. Go little wider than the repair area. Good contract with the seed and soil is important.
- Consider how much shade/sun exposure your lawn is getting before choosing which type of seed you use.
- Spread top dressing to the spot to 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.
- 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 an inch tall. Make sure you don’t water too heavily or else the soil could run away with the seed. It is a good idea to use a rose at the end of your watering can.
BUMPS & HOLLOWS
For those with slight undulations in their lawn, you can treat your problem with topdressing which shouldn’t be too stressing. But for those with bumps and hollows about 1 – 2 inches deep, you’ll need to go through quite a hefty procedure.
For smaller (under 1 – 2 inches):
- With a spade slice down the centre of the bump or hollow to split it in half.
- Now push your spade underneath one side of the turf to cut its roots and then pull it back in a strip. Do the same for the other side.
- Either remove (for a bump) or add (for a hollow) soil to the required height and then fold the strip back and stamp down on the turf using the spade.
- Make sure you’re using the same soil, or at least similar, to that of your lawn. If you have both bumps and hollows then you can just recycle the removed soil.
For larger (over 2 inches) bumps and hollows you’re going to need to completely remove the turf, add/remove soil and then re-turf or seed. To get a better grass match you will probably want to reseed the area instead of using the removed turf even though this would be easier to lay.
Please make sure you don’t fill the hollows with soil on top of the turf and then re-seed. This will just cause the area to dry rapidly to the point where it won’t survive. Always remove the turf first.
If you’re having problems with hollows on a frequent basis then you may want to aerate your lawn. This is usually due to soil compaction and poor drainage so aerating should solve this.
Because of the lack of sunlight, areas of lawn within shade can become thin and patchy over the summer and winter seasons. Grass won’t survive here so you’re either going to have to replace the entire area with a shade tolerant plant or overseed the entire area every spring.
If you choose to reseed the area then make sure you do it as early as possible (ideally at the beginning of spring) and well before any leaves grow on your trees. This way the younger grass blades will get the maximum amount of sun exposure they can before the leaves start growing. Even shade tolerant grasses need some sunlight.
Selecting a shade tolerant grass mix is probably the most important factor for growing grass in the shade, so make sure you choose one that’s suitable for your lawn. For example, Fescue grasses are grown mainly for its high tolerance of dry shade, unique ability to survive droughts and poor nutrition levels.
When you’re mowing the lawn make sure you cut more frequently (do not allow the grass to get too long and out of control). You can collect the grass clippings or many gardeners are now starting to use mowers with mulching ability to return valuable nutrients back into the soil. If you would like to see my list of best Mulching mowers please click on the link below – Best Mulching Lawn Mowers.
Also the area beneath a tree requires watering just like everywhere else, but just make sure you do so infrequently and heavily. This should promote the tree to root deeply, and will therefore reduce the extent to which they compete with the lawn.
As the roots of trees thicken, they often force the lawn surface upwards to the point where they can even become exposed themselves. These aren’t the prettiest of things so you’ll want to get them sorted. For minor problems you can apply topdressing lightly and frequently to build up the lawn surface until it covers the root.
But for more severe situations, i.e. badly exposed roots, then you’ll probably have to cut open and fold back the turf to cut and remove the root. As this could affect the health of the lawn I recommend consulting a Tree Surgeon.
Once you have it removed, similar to repairing a hollow, you need to fill the empty space with similar soil, to that of the lawn, and roll the turf back into place and stamp down on it with a spade.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST GRASS SEED?
Choosing the best grass seed depends on what you use your lawn for.
There are 3 main types –
- Seed for hard wearing lawns – use lawn seed with Rye grass. This type of seed is ideal for children’s play areas and if you have animals.
- Seed for shady lawns – use a special grass mix designed for lawns that do not receive direct sunlight due to trees or north facing areas in your garden. This grass seed will normally contain no Rye grass and can be mowed more closely.
- Seed for premium lawns – use blended, high quality fine grass seed such as Rolawn Medallion Premium lawn seed. This will give you a fine blade grass for that bowling green finish.
If you found this post interesting then maybe you’d like to see some of my other articles, like my mulching post? If so, then click on the The Benefits of Mulching Lawn Mowers – Complete Guide.