April In The Garden - Lawn care

Young green fresh grass in spring. Greenery in sun. Abstract natural background.

Young green fresh grass in spring. Greenery in sun. Abstract natural background. - Credit: Amanda Armstrong

By Amanda Armstrong

If your sights are set on a sward of the finest striped calibre this year, April is the time to get started. Use springtime to carry out tasks that encourage the thickest, healthiest grass growth.

A healthy lawn needs good drainage and no competition from moss or thatch.  Compacted or wet ground, builders’ rubble or dense shade won’t cut the mustard when it comes to achieving the bowling green of your dreams.  

If your ground is compacted, consider aeration - either manually, using a hollow-tine fork, or mechanically.  Your method will depend on the size of your lawn and the time you have available.  After aeration, top dress using a sandy mix to further improve drainage and level out any dips.

Next, scarify.  Done manually, using a handheld rake, this is a time-consuming task.  Talc your hands and wear gloves, otherwise the repetitive raking action can cause blisters.  Alternatively, hire an electric scarifier which will be easier and faster.

Tackle the weeds and moss.  Weeds can be removed by hand but for large areas consider a weed and moss killer.  Organic and pet friendly products are available. Always follow the instructions on the label.

After hand-weeding you can sow grass seed straightaway - remember to water the seed if it doesn’t rain.  If you used a weedkiller you’ll have to delay sowing grass seed - check the packet for timings.  Once germinated grass reaches 6-7cm high you’re ready to mow.  

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Make your initial cut on a high setting.  After that, remove no more than a third of the grass blade each time to encourage strong growth.  You’ll achieve a better stripe on longer grass.  Finally, clip the edges with edging shears for a smart finish.

However, with environmental issues at the forefront of our minds, a traditional manicured lawn can be a divisive subject. Some now prefer to loosen the reins a little, allowing moss to spread and actively encouraging ‘weeds’ or wildflowers, either for their own pleasure or to benefit wildlife - or both.  So in the interests of fairness, next month we’ll consider the idea of ‘No Mow May’.

Happy gardening.