Some people love a bowling green lawn without a weed in sight, others are happy with a nice looking lawn and don’t mind a few daisies. I fall into the last group and I hope you’ll join me there.
The problem with a bowling green type lawn is that it’s very greedy, hungry for chemicals, water and time, all of which are in short supply or in the case of chemicals, probably should be.
Lawns are tough, afterall, what other plants in your garden get walked over regularly, have football played on them and people laying on them? If you think of a lawn as a closely planted area of plants, you’ll see that it needs some love in the form of care and attention, rather than chemicals.
Some tips for a nice lawn:
Like any other plant, grass needs to be in the right place so that it grows strong and healthy. Grass growing in deep shade means a constant battle with moss, maybe think about replacing the lawn in a shaded part of the garden, a couple of ideas:
- extend the border and have more plants, it’ll take much less time to look after.
- replace the grass with another material such as paving.
Avoid plants at the front of the border that get too big and overhang the grass, turning it into a shady place.
It’s tempting to cut the grass super short, thinking that you won’t have to mow so often. However this just weakens the grass, it eventually gets thin and patchy and weeds take over.
The first cut:
- Rake over the grass with a metal lawn rake to clear any debris and fluff up the grass ready to be cut.
- Set the blades high for the first cut, then lower them gradually with each subsequent cut until the grass is left at about 1”/2.5cm.
- Wait until April, when the soil has warmed up, to re-seed bald patches in the lawn.
Weak grass easily gets overwhelmed by weeds and moss, letting the the grass get big enough allows it to photosynthesise ( how the plant converts light into energy) so they get nice and strong.
Perennial weeds such as dandelions will need digging out, but clover is to be encouraged as it fixes nitrogen into the soil. Nitrogen is very good for lawns, it’s usually at the top of the ingredients on lawn food packs.
Not using chemicals isn’t a quick fix, slow and steady wins the race. Aim for strong, healthy grass so it out-competes as many weeds as possible, with a bit of extra care in spring and autumn and it will soldier on looking good.
Image: Jill Anderson, taken at Chaumont sur Loire.