Your letters often inspire me to write about particlar problems and this week several of you have asked how to treat bare patches. David from Waterlooville also wants to know when the best time is to sow grass seed and if it’s better to buy turf.
Let’s start with improving bare patches. Measure the area of the lawn. For every square yard you want to improve, you will need two ounces of best grass seed and one pound of seed compost.
Mix the grass seed and moist compost together and leave in a black polythene sack for seven days. The seeds will chit (start to shoot) and birds will leave them alone.
Water the lawn and, using a digging fork, make holes about one inch deep by pushing the prongs of the fork down into the lawn. It’s hard work so do a little bit at a time.
You will need to make about 12 little holes to each square foot of lawn to be treated. Scatter the compost and seed mix over the lawn and water afterwards. The grass seeds will fall into the holes made by your garden fork. Keep the surface moist and the lawn will be transformed in four weeks.
Now, to help David at Waterlooville. The best time to sow a lawn from seed is in early September, but the trick is to keep raking the surface of the soil so that the weed seedlings are destroyed. It’s a good idea to do this every week.
Two ounces of grass seed is needed for each square yard. Choose a grass mixture which has the new perennial grass varieties.
Sow the seeds evenly and lightly rake over and water the area. Make a hawk out of black polythene and fix it to an eight foot long cane to scare the birds.
A few days before laying the turf, apply a dressing of fish, blood and bone fertiliser at a rate of two ounces per square yard and rake this into the soil’s surface.
For an instant lawn it’s a good idea to use turf, but instead of asking the supplier to deliver instantly, be patient because the weather has been very dry. Give the turf grower about three weeks’ notice. If you want to get some straight away B&Q have excellent turf grown on rolls which is very easy to lay.
Get some wide planks, scaffolding ones are ideal. Lay a strip of turf, put a plank on top of the first strip, walk on the plank, cut a turf in half and lay the next strip of turf.
This idea will ensure you have the best possible surface because the turfs ‘knit’ much better. Keep the grass watered to prevent shrinkage. If you go away and find the turfs have shrunk, fill the edges with John Innes seed compost.
Don’t use ordinary garden soil because you’ll get weeds.
Is there a secret to a perfect lawn? Yes, don’t walk on freshly laid turf, always walk on the plank and mow the grass before it needs cutting. Mow in a different direction every time you mow.
TIP OF THE WEEK: Good quality prepared hyacinth bulbs have arrived at garden centres.
These can be brought into flower for Christmas if you follow the advice here in The News in early September’s gardening feature. Make a start, buy some clay bulb pots about five to six inches across.
They are deeper than bulb bowls and your hyacinths won’t keep falling out of the containers.