[Sponsored by Progreen.co.uk]
The “meh” type of winter we have experienced (so far) means many professionals and homweowners are already dusting off their faithful mower and some are already cutting!
‘Is it too early to cut and treat?’ – the answer is no, but don’t wade in as if that 12 degree winter day is the same as our 12 degree summer day…
If the grass is growing and you are itching to get out there, use this quick checklist:
Assess … the weather, recent rainfall and what mix is the soil? Is it clay, silt, sand, or a combination? Excess moisture plus foot traffic can cause the soil to compress like a sponge – except it does not bounce back afterwards and roots need air gaps in the soil to take up nutrients.
Rake: Using a machine or hand rake – remove thatch* and leaves from the lawn – if you are bringing up soil on the tines or the grass stays flat then its safe to say cutting should be delayed
Cut: Sharpen mower blades because a blunt one will tear the leaf and leave it open to frost damage or disease. Set height – remove no more than one quarter the height - moss thrives in shorter grass. Use a 4 wheel mower ideally as roller mowers can compress moist winter soil and set up for poor conditions the rest of the year.
Spike: Aerate the soil. Only the most sandy soils will not benefit from spiking or hollow tine aeration to get more air to the roots and increase drainage.
Spread: Fertiliser – some forms of dissolved Nitrogen can descend through the soil by 1 cm per day – flushed by consistent rainfall. Applying in rainy conditions is therefore a waste of money. However, grass needs energy to grow – consider a urea based slow-release fertiliser as that ‘sticks’ to the soil and slows it down being available to the roots when conditions allow.
*Thatch: This is the dead material from the roots & shoots and in good biological conditions will be converted to rich humus soil. Some thatch is natural but excessive thatch stifles nutrients reaching the roots and potentially harbours disease and poor turf.