2019 Spring Lawn repair, lawn renovation and lawncare in chichester, emsworth, bognor regis and surrounding areas
2018, what a year, “The Beast from The East”, the shortest spring in memory and then the hottest, longest dry spell since the 70’s.
So, what did that mean for lawns, well the growth, strengthening and thickening that spring normally brings was brief and then, for those lawns that were not irrigated. month upon month of dry conditions before some brief rainfall relief in the Autumn.
Now grass is a hardy plant and can take some punishment, and the mild winter has improved recovery rates but in lots of lawns there are areas that have not come back from the onslaught of last summer’s drought.
Now its not just the plants that suffered, the soil, which is one of the key features of a healthy lawn, was also affected. In an ideal world, soil is made up of about 50% solid materials (including 5% organic) and 25% air and 25% water. This type of ratio allows the bio-system within the soil to thrive so that the nutrients a lawn needs are available and organic matter follows a natural process.
Did you know that the grass roots themselves produce a gelatinous residue that contains sugars and amino acids. Bacteria, protozoa and nematodes live around the roots, feeding on this residue. These microorganisms help break down organic material, releasing nitrogen and other nutrients in a form other organism can use.
So, when conditions are right there is a virtuous circle supporting plant and soil health, but last year, in many cases that circle was broken and not only did the grass plant suffer but also the soil.
Many of the Lawns we visit across West Sussex and Hampshire are predominantly sitting in a clay soil so when these are allowed to dry, they shrink losing moisture and air so it becomes difficult for the virtuous circle to re-establish when conditions change. The visible sign of this in many cases has been deep cracking, compaction and the level of the lawn lowering.
Of course, where the lawn grass has been weak or died back then moss, weeds and weed grasses may have taken hold.
So, what can be done? Probably the best way to improve the soil condition and to relieve compaction is to aerate the lawn using a core aerator or if conditions are right fracture tine the ground. In the lawns around Chichester. Emsworth and Bognor Regis the Clay content means solid tine aeration is of little benefit in relieving the conditions that developed last year. Adding organic material to the soil will also help and raking or scarifying out the dead grass and thatch that built up last summer will encourage better growth this spring.
Once you have taken steps to help the soil and remove thatch and any moss then you may need to seed any bare areas and, remembering that we rarely allow our lawns to seed themselves, consider over seeding the whole lawn to introduce new, younger cultivars to strengthen the lawn.
Seed need’s ground contact, moisture and the right ground and air temperatures to help germination so your help and care over the first month or so will see the best results.
You can get a good soil thermometer relatively cheaply online or ask your local lawncare company what temperatures they are currently recording and whether it’s a good time to seed.
Choosing and sticking to the right lawn seed mix for your lawn needs a little thought and research, some seeds will germinate at lower temperatures and some take longer to germinate and establish and therefore more after care is needed for longer.
Remember if you are applying any chemicals to treat weeds or moss then that may affect when you can safely seed without the chemicals compromising the seed, so read the labels carefully and again your lawn care provider should be able to help with advice whether they are covering Waterlooville, Rowlands Castle, Southsea, Bosham, Chichester or other local areas.
Now some lawns became so dry during last summer that the only realistic way to bring the grass back is a full lawn renovation or lawn makeover, that can be by laying new turf or growing a new lawn in situ, whichever you choose new turf or new grass plants need nurturing and care to flourish, there are lots of guides on line on how to do this or ask your lawncare provider whether they can help.
Many people do not water their lawn, usually worried about cost or potential environmental impacts. So its worth noting that there are treatments that can be applied, that help a soil retain moisture more evenly and for longer so lessening but not removing the need to water. These products can keep a lawn greener for longer in drought and help recovery thereafter, they may also reduce the risk of disease as they lower the amount of moisture on the leaf, these are called wetting agents and your lawn care provider should be able to provide advice on this, its best to start applying in spring to take advantage when moisture is available naturally.
We are hearing that there may be some shortages of good turf this year and some grass seed mixtures may be in shorter supply, we are also seeing from the new enquiries this year that a lot of lawns need help to recover from the weather onslaught in 2018.
So, whether you intend to carry out lawncare or lawn repair / renovation yourselves or seek the help of a professional company its best to plan ahead now as hire machinery and expert lawncare professionals may be in high demand whether that’s around Chichester, Aldwick, Pagham or elsewhere in West Sussex of East Hampshire.
There is good news that both Southern and Portsmouth Water are saying their supplies are good going into this spring so hopefully the threat of restrictions will nor rear its head this coming season.
Remember your lawn had a tough time last year so try and give it a bit of extra TLC this spring, it will reward you for it.
As always, if you need any help or advice about your lawn just get in touch and we will do our best to help.
Hi I'm Annie and I love lawns and gardens. I own and run Lawnrite providing lawn care advice and treatments across East Hampshire and West Sussex