‘Biggest lawn mistake’ that causes ‘unhealthy’ lawns – has the abil…01/07/2023
How and when to use lawn feeds and treatments
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With no more mowing or weeding, winter is a nice period of rest from lawn maintenance. However, that doesn’t mean gardeners can completely abandon their lawn. Winter maintenance for grass involves just a few simple steps that should have your lawn looking lush again in the spring. To avoid lawns looking unhealthy, the Managing Director at Mowers Online, Steven Williams has shared a few mistakes to avoid.
Mowing the grass too short
Gardeners certainly shouldn’t mow their lawn once a week during winter, but once every month should keep it from growing wild and unruly.
Steven noted: “The most common mowing problem people encounter is cutting their grass too low or too short. It’s important to remember the number one lawn care rule; never cut more than a third off the grass at any time. Mowing more than this will weaken the grass leaving you with an unhealthy-looking lawn.”
During winter, it is recommended to cut grass on a high cut setting, so that only the smallest amount of grass is being taken off.
It’s important to do this because your grass relies on its leaves to gather sunlight and create food. If gardeners cut the grass too short, it will have a really hard time photosynthesising food during the dark, winter conditions.
Fertilising the lawn in winter is not generally recommended, especially if gardeners have already fed it three times since the start of spring.
There is little point in feeding because growth has slowed and the lawn will not take up nutrients.
The lawn expert said: “One of the biggest mistakes that many people make that causes an unhealthy lawn is overusing fertilisers. Some fertilisers have the strength to burn through an entire lawn when overused so be warned.
“Synthetic fertilisers are often the worst for your lawn but it’s important to avoid overusing any fertiliser.” Applying excessive amounts of fertiliser to lawns will cause the nitrogen and salt levels in the soil to increase, which may damage or kill the grass.
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Overwatering the grass
In the UK it’s fair to say gardens receive a great deal of rain. This means Britons won’t always need to water their garden. However, some people make the mistake of continuing to use watering systems when their lawn is already soaking wet.
Steven warned: “Overwatered lawns result in poor rooting and thatch accumulation. So, what does this mean for your future lawn? Poor soil and future bald patches. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and only water when it is necessary.”
If too much water sits on the surface of the grass, it can encourage fungus and lawn diseases to develop. Some water will evaporate on sunny winter days, but nowhere near as much as would evaporate in summer.
Where gardeners might normally give their lawn one to two inches of water, winter calls for around half the amount.
Leaving leaves on the lawn
While fallen leaves can provide lawns with nutrients, in large quantities, they can kill grass. Think about it, grass needs sunlight, water and air to grow.
If there’s a huge pile of fallen leaves on the surface of the lawn, then it’s likely that the grass will be deprived of all three.
Remember, a small amount of fallen leaves is probably good for your grass, but don’t let piles and piles of leaves build up. Too many fallen leaves will kill the grass.
The expert advised: “Make the most of any dry days and rake the lawn to keep it free of leaves. A thick layer of leaves will smother a lawn, weaken the grass, and provide winter shelter for unwelcome garden pests.”
Allowing heavy rainfall to remain on lawn
There are many issues that can arise from too much rain, from excessive weed growth to water-logging.
Downpours of heavy rainfall can dilute soil by washing away many of the nutrients the grass needs. This can result in weak grass that struggles to grow due to its stunted roots.
To avoid this mistake, Steven instructed: “Using a soft bristle brush, gently brush away the excess water. It is important not to drag the brush across the ground as this will damage the grass.
“Once you have removed as much water as possible using a garden fork to aerate. When grass has been underwater for a long time it loses oxygen and starts to turn yellow.”
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