At last the drought seems to have lifted it’s bone dry grip on our lawns and green is once again emerging. But what extra help do they need? A major UK lawnmower company has sought the advice of one of the country’s only lawn care consultants on how to cope and he advises “Don’t panic.”
STIGA UK turned to Modern Lawn Care’s David Hedges-Gower for advice on dealing with brown lawns and he produced a three-point plan that will not only help the lawn recover when the rains start but also future proof them against drought.
“We know that brown lawns always eventually turn green again later in the autumn, as grass has done for millions of years. We can, however, always do more to increase the lawn’s resilience and help it get through these incredibly tough conditions now and in the future,” he says.
David’s three-point plan involves improving the soil, pruning the lawn and feeding the soil and grass.
He advises following an aerating regime to create and maintain a healthy aerobic soil system. Aeration decompacts squashed ground and improves the soil’s ability to absorb and use essential oxygen and rainwater to produce better balanced soil and improve grass growth.
For larger lawns David recommends using a powered aerator. For more manageable areas use a hollow-tine aeration fork.
Pruning the lawn is, as David points out, mowing combined with scarification. His key to effective mowing is to maintain sharp blades to minimise the damage to the leaf. He also urges gardeners to regularly scarify their lawns. It removes the thatch and helps the native lawn grasses to spread naturally. STIGA produces three lawn scarifiers: two electric and one petrol. The electric versions are the SV415E and the smaller SV213E. For larger areas the petrol powered SVP40G would be ideal.
“Aeration, careful mowing with sharp blades and scarifying, will all produce healthier and stronger lawns. The stronger the grass when a drought hits, the more likely it is to return alive and kicking when it rains. Feeding with one of the superb natural fertilisers, such as Truegrass, will further help the grass to thrive the way nature intended,” says David. “But be prepared to over-feed after a drought, your lawn will be very hungry.”
He concludes: ”When our lawns receive a nasty blow from the weather it takes time for them to recover. We have to be patient and, by following this plan we will also be confident. Incorporate them into your lawn care calendar and it will repay your attention year after year. So don’t despair.”
Amanda Kincaid, marketing manager at STIGA UK, says: “In really dry weather we recommend no mowing and when you do start, raise the height of cut. The lawns will still be fragile after all the heat. Our battery power lawnmowers are an environmentally friendly way to achieve successful lawncare and, combined with David’s advice, your lawns will be better able to cope with future droughts.
”STIGA dealers provide a blade sharpening and, if necessary, replacement service. This can be part of a standard service or simply a sharpening facility.”