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Green Shoots of Recovery

Here we are in the middle of May and it is still cold, although we have just had a much needed 20mm of rain. A cold, dry spring is not helping the rapid grass growth that we need, particularly in newly established turf fields. However, nature has a habit of catching up, and so the next warm spell will ensure a surge of growth which will keep the mowing team busy.

If you haven’t fertilised your lawns yet, you should do so without delay. The product we apply to lawns, and supply to many of our landscape customers, is a balanced complex of 12% Nitrogen 11% Phosphorous and 18% Potassium. The relatively high potassium is important particularly if you are boxing off cuttings. Our soils are quite low in Sulphur, in common with many parts of the country because of reduced emissions from industry and power stations. Being an important micronutrient for grass growth, it is advisable to use a fertiliser with this included. A little and often approach of about 20 g/m2 every 4/5 weeks will ensure a healthy green lawn.

The grass plant is a bit like the human body, in that it needs a regular feed and avoidance of stress. Regular mowing, taking off no more than 1/3 of the leaf will keep the grass happy. Neglecting it for 10 days and then cutting it down by ¾ of its length will stress the grass and make it look yellow and miserable, opening it up to disease and weed invasion. Drought will stress grass, and so if a long, dry period is forecast ahead, raise the cutting height of the mower.

Dandelions seem to be prolific this year, and spot treatment as soon as possible is advisable to prevent a cloud of seeds blowing across the garden and making the problem ten times worse next year.

If you are considering re-turfing, now is a very good time, particularly with showery weather to help the establishment. Our LT7 Festival grade has proved such a reliable turf for general garden use, with a mixture of grasses that can put up with the wear and tear of family use, being able to recover quickly with a fertiliser application, and being very resistant to some of the common grass fungal diseases. If you are looking at particularly heavy use, we now recommend our sports turf LT6 which has a higher percentage of ryegrasses which are specially selected for wear tolerance.