When to start your spring lawn care
Here in Ireland Spring doesn’t always feel like it’s sprung, even when it has. But then when we do get a few days of blue skies with a bit of sunshine we love nothing better than heading out into the garden.
Believe it or not, the right time to start thinking about the garden and the lawn is right now – in the second half of February. So when should we start cutting our lawn again? My advice is any time now, if the weather permits and the ground has dried out a bit.
Before you mow
But even though you might want to get out there with the mower as soon as you can, you still don’t want to damage the surface of the soil. If you’re giving the lawn its first mow while the ground is still a bit squidgy and moist, you might end up creating ruts, which is why you might need to wait a little longer. Do remember to raise the height of your mower because at this time of year, you only need to top the grass leaves.
Before you cut the lawn, there are a few things to think about. First and most important is the fact that grass is a high maintenance plant which needs to be looked after regularly and well. When you think about it, what other plant do you have that needs attention once a week?
Before you start your spring lawn care with a bit of mowing, check your mower blades and make sure they’re sharp – a clean cut will help keep the grass healthy. And don’t just cut in the one direction all the time. If you do, you can create ‘thatch’, which is where the grass grows along the ground instead of straight up. So make sure you vary the direction of the cut every time you mow.
How to deal with moss
Thatch tends to limit the circulation of air around the soil surface and lead to conditions which can encourage the growth of moss and fungal diseases. Moss thrives on the damp dark climate experienced in Ireland over the winter months, so it can be expected in all lawns. The trick is to minimise the moss during this season by treating the lawn with moss killer in early winter and then again in early spring.
Two to four weeks after treating in spring, my advice is to scarify the lawn using a motorised scarifier (available to hire in all good hire shops) which will pull out dead thatch and the moss that you have treated. This will allow your lawn to breathe and promote new growth areas for new grass tillers to grow. In my experience, a rake will never get into the thatch deep enough to eradicate the old dead matted grass shoots.
While you’re at it, apply some spring fertiliser too. Scarifying can make your lawn look a little poorly at first but your work will soon be rewarded when recovery kicks in and your lawn soon grows into a green dense sward for the year ahead.
If your moss is not treated and eradicated every year, your lawn will only degenerate as the moss and thatch layer increases, making lawn mowing a real struggle.
Follow this advice and you’ll be giving your lawn every chance to stay healthy going into the summer months. I hope you enjoyed these few spring lawncare tips. Happy gardening!