With many of us being out and about in the garden a lot more than usual due to lockdown, any issues with the current appearance of your lawn will most likely stick out like a sore thumb - prompting the question: 'What's wrong with my lawn?'
There are more than a few factors which can impact the regrowth, establishment and longevity of grass and they may leave you scratching your head wondering how to fix them. Below we will focus on some of the most common issues UK lawns face and how to resolve them.
The first sign that something is amiss with your lawn is yellowing grass. Typically this means a lack of nutrients / nitrogen and that the lawn needs to be fed with a fertiliser, but it can also hint at a few other issues. Following a very wet winter, some lawns will have suffered from poor drainage (more on that below!) and if grass has been submerged in water for a long time it will drown and die, if this is the case - the dead grass will need to be removed and reseeded. Other causes of yellowing grass include Red Thread and Leatherjackets.
Poor drainage is a very common problem in UK lawns. It’s often one that can be hard to spot (unless you notice frequent flooding) and in some cases - can be expensive to fix. In extreme situations (the whole lawn floods) the only way to deal with poor drainage is to dig up a lawn and construct drains to allow water to flow more freely beneath the surface. In less obvious cases, poor drainage can occur if:
- You have clay soils
- Your lawn gets a lot of use and you aren't aerating the soil, this causes it to become compacted and drain poorly
- Your lawn is not level and water lingers in certain areas
The best way to remedy each of these is by doing the following.
- Clay soils will always be clay soils - it doesn't matter how much top soil you add, the foundation of your soil will be clay and succumb to the conditions typical of clay soil such as poor drainage. By sowing a mix that contains species designed to deal with these conditions, you'll notice your grass lasting much longer and holding its own.
- If your lawn gets a lot of use (kids / dogs playing) you should try to aerate it as the surface will become compacted causing poor drainage and slower regrowth. You will know your soil surface is compacted if it's hard and cannot be easily raked. You can read more about aeration here.
- If your lawn isn't completely level, rainwater will gather in its dips causing patchiness, regrowth failure and as Mary Berry likes to call it - a 'soggy bottom' affecting the overall look of your lawn. The best way to fix this is to add top soil to level out these areas. If your lawn experiences peaks and troughs throughout its foundation, you may need to call in a landscaper to help level the entire area out.
Shade is arguably one of the most common problems in our lawns as many of our houses are surrounded by trees, fences, buildings, walls, hedges and so on. The severity of shade can vary too - from a dappled area that gets sunlight for half of the day to a dark area which sees little to no light at all. It isn’t always practical to remove the things that cause the shade, (like a house for example!) so it’s probably a good idea to look for a mix that will cope well with whatever conditions you have to deal with. We have a mix for both of the situations mentioned above; Steadfast: Shade is great for areas that don’t receive sunlight all day but do get a few hours, particularly in the summer months, whilst Steadfast: Ultra shade is a mix designed for those areas that get little to no light all year round
Not getting the right nutrients
Another factor that can affect lawn performance is the access grass has to the nutrients in soil. Much like with drainage, some soils hold onto nutrients better than others and whilst grass mixes can help in this area too, fertiliser is the best option for boosting soil quality and frequent application can help to create a long term improvement. We have fertiliser options suitable for use at any time of the year. Not only will it boost soil nutrients, it will also strengthen grass and greatly improve soil structure, so it should be high on the gardening to-do-list.
Poor quality seed
Last, but by no means least, is the issue of poor-quality, not-fit-for-purpose seed. There are lots of options available when it comes to reseeding your lawn with plenty of promises of an instantaneous show stopping lawn. Yet, there many of these general lawn mixes do not contain the species required for certain conditions. A high quality seed with the right species needed for your lawn is important. It can be the difference between having a poor lawn that fails after one year and a great lawn that stays in top condition for a long time. All of our grass seed mixes come with a grass growth guarantee and have been tested to ensure they are of the highest quality. This along with our expert advice should see you well on your way to a lush, green and healthy lawn! Read more on choosing the right grass seed here.