Monthly Archives: September 2019

  • The perfect time for a new lawn

    An area of ground will cover with freshly laid grass near granite cobblestone pavement

    If you’re thinking of having a new lawn, then early autumn is a good time to do it.

    There are two options for creating a new lawn - from seeds or from turf. Both methods have their advantages. A new lawn from seeds is cheaper and can produce excellent results. A new lawn from turf is quicker and can be used again within a day or two.

    Why now?

    Early autumn usually offers the best conditions for sowing a new lawn. It’s not too hot or too cold, there’s plenty of moisture but the soil is still warm - all ideal for the seeds to germinate. The conditions are also good for laying turf. With little mowing needed during the winter, the new turf can be left to establish itself with minimum disturbance and without the need for frequent watering.

    Whichever option you choose, there are three steps to follow - preparation, creation, and aftercare.

    Preparation:

    If using seeds, choose a seed mix that’s right for your purpose. Do you want a general-purpose lawn, a fine lawn, or is the lawn in shade?

    Whether sowing or turfing, good seed bed prep is needed, so remove weeds (but not with residual weedkiller as it will stop the grass from growing) and cultivate the soil. Get the surface as level as you can.  Ideally, you should then leave it to settle for five to six weeks - or even longer if possible.

    Creation:

    The more care you take, the better the results. The RHS has a precise, step-by-step guide on how to make a new lawn from turf or seeds, with links to both methods at: www.rhs.org.uk/advice/in-month/september/lawns .

    Aftercare

    If you’ve sown a new lawn, you will need to lightly re-firm the soil when the grass reaches about 7.5cm (3 ins). You can do this by carefully treading any raised areas. Wait for another two or three days and cut the grass down to about a third of its height - make sure your mower blades are very sharp for this important job. It shouldn’t need mowing again until the following spring. Try not to use the lawn until early summer.

    Aftercare for a turfed lawn is simpler. You can mow the lawn, with the blades high, once the grass has grown to around 5cm (2 ins). Keep the turf moist by watering it once a fortnight during dry spells.

    And finally, enjoy!

  • Don't bin those fallen leaves!

    fallen leavesWant some freebie compost, or a healthy supplement for your lawn? Then take a leaf out of our book: don’t throw out your fallen leaves this autumn - put them to good use instead.

    Leaf mould is packed with fabulous properties that boost moisture and drainage - great for use all around the garden.

    Start collecting now

    If you gather your fallen leaves up regularly, you’ll soon be accumulating a decent amount for your store. Depending on the size of your garden and the volume of leaves, you can use a rubber rake, leaf boards or a vacuum. But collect by hand around flowers and plants to prevent damage.

    A covered cage outdoors is a good storage idea if you have lots of leaves, and you can help the process by treading on the leaves and watering them before covering the top of the cage. Keep adding fallen leaves and perhaps top them with an inch or so of soil.

    If you’re using big bin liners to store your leaves, make a few holes to let air in and always dampen the leaves with a hose before filling the bags. Tie the tops of the bags and store them away.

    3 great things about fallen leaves

    Lawns - If you have leaves on your lawn, shredding them finely by mowing them with a rotary mower (use a high cut setting) will speed-up the rotting process and add nutrient-rich grass clippings to the mix. You can leave this on the lawn as a lawn supplement for the winter or add to your leaf mould.

    Plants and fruit & veg - The fibre and microorganisms in leaf mould are a healthy addition for bulbs, alpine plants, border perennials, woodland plants and fruit & veg. Use a garden sieve first, however, to filter out any parts that haven’t completely decomposed.

    Biodiversity - Birds and insects are attracted to leaf mould - especially if it’s stored in an outdoor cage.

    Worth the wait

    Deciduous leaves will generally take a year to turn into leaf mould. Others, such as oak and beech, will take two years or more to rot down. Beech, oak and hornbeam are especially good.

    So, while it might take a bit of effort and patience, to begin with, your on-tap free store of compost, mulch and soil enhancer is definitely worth the wait.

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