caring for your lawn in Berkshire

Looking after your lawn

Aftercare Top Tips

  • Water your turf frequently until it is established in dry weather.
  • Mow the new turf sooner rather than later.
  • Mow it regularly at the same cutting height.
  • Don't use a 'weed and feed' fertilizer until the roots are well established. The 'weed' control element of the application can kill the turf.
  • The key to fertilizer application is 'little and often'.
  • In shady areas grow the grass longer and keep watered.

1. Water

The single most important item for your lawn is water, your new turf must be kept moist at all times. If it is allowed to dry out it can easily die.

Your new lawn is susceptible to drought until the roots become established (1 month). In dry weather conditions the turf must be watered. Little and often is the key and initially for the first week your turf may need watering twice a day.

Lift the comers of the turf to check that it is being kept sufficiently moist.

Try to avoid over watering and flooding of the turf.  Flooding and over-saturation creates anaerobic conditions and will reduce root growth.

2. Mowing

To maintain quality your lawn should be kept at the same height, so when the grass is growing regular mowing is essential.

Your lawn grasses get conditioned to the length that you keep them, so letting the grass get too long before you mow it will reduce the quality.

The ideal height to start with is 25mm (1 inch), which will be the ideal height for maximum wear and drought tolerance. If you require a shorter lawn the mowing height should be reduced gradually.

Should I remove grass clippings?
This keeps the lawn looking tidy, but if you leave the clippings on they will feed the lawn and the requirement for fertilizers will be reduced. If you leave the clippings on the lawn, regular mowing will ensure that clippings don't block the grass and break down/rot quickly.

3. Fertilizer

Judicious application of fertilizers will enhance your lawn. Ideally fertilizers should be applied lightly and frequently, avoid heavy doses. The main elements of fertilizers are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potash (K).

Nitrogen enhances top growth and greenness, and should only be applied during the growing season. Over application will the grass straggly, reduce root growth and reduce tolerance to drought and frost.

Phosphorus and Potash develop root growth and new shoots, making the grass thicker and more resilient to climatic conditions and resistant to disease.

P&K are normally the base of autumn fertilizers and applied in the Autumn. Most fertilizers contain a balance of these elements.

When you buy a fertilizer, look for the content of these elements on the bag. Follow application rates, but as a tip apply the fertilizer in more than one application, thus reducing the dosage each time.

4. Scarification (vertical mowing)

These machines which are becoming more readily available on the domestic market have knives that cut vertically Into the grass.

They cut grasses that are growing laterally, thus promoting grass growth that is vertical. Also they can remove moss and thatch build up. Thatch is a mat of dead fibres that develops as the turf ages.

Vertical mowing can be done periodically during the summer, but avoid doing it in periods of drought as it reduces the grass drought tolerance.

The best time for vertical mowing is the Autumn when the knives can be set deeper, and the lawn can be thoroughly scarified.

5. Aeration

In ground where there Is no earthworm activity, the ground can become over compacted. Aeration by means of 'spiking' and 'slitting' relieves compaction and aerates the soil, promoting root development and stronger grass.

Earthworms can relieve compaction and reduce thatch build up by natural means and maintain it in an aerated state. However, worm casts can be a nuisance and should be brushed off the lawn surface, particularly before mowing.