Although lawn maintenance can vary greatly depending on the area you live in, it’s always nice to have general some ‘rules’ to go, just so we can an idea of what sort of things we should or shouldn’t be doing to our lawn. The lawn calendar really starts in March, that’s when your lawn will actively start to grow again. At some stage during March there is usually a day when the sun comes out and as you look out on to your garden it feels like everything is starting to wake up from its winter slumber and as you stand there with the sun beating down on you, you finally remember what summer feels like and although this weather probably won’t last at this time of year and it’ll still be cold out of the sun and what sun there is doesn’t last for long, you can just tell that winter is finally losing its grip over your garden. This is the time you need to get out there and start attending to your lawn
Now’s the time to give the lawn its first cut, don’t cut the lawn too short at this stage, just go over it to take the top off of the grass and to collect up any debris and leaves that has gathered on the lawn. At this stage have the blades set no shorter than about 2.5cm (1inch). To give your lawn a head start (weather permitting) now is the time to apply a weed and feed (always making sure to follow the directions supplied with the weed and feed). After a couple of weeks, you’ll notice the weeds have blackened so now’s the time to spike your lawn using your garden fork or with a hole punching machine (they are readily available at most hire shops) and to rake out the dead weeds, moss and thatch from your lawn with your spring rake. Both of these jobs help to improve aeration and drainage for your lawn. After that is complete spread your chosen grass seed at the instructed rate and then brush in a layer of top dressing to complete your spring lawn makeover. Towards the end of spring you can start cutting you grass weekly and start to lower the cutting blades to about 2cm (3/4 inch). When lowering the blades always test out what it looks like on the most out of the way part of the lawn first, to make sure that the grass can take being cut at that height and your not removing too much of the blade. I remember one time when I first started gardening, that I got the mower out, set the blades to what I guessed would be a good height and set off with a stripe down the centre of the lawn only to turn round to see how straight I’d gone and see what resembled the centre strip of a cricket pitch than a lawn (that took some explaining!)
By now the ground will of dried out well and you should be cutting your lawn once a week with the blades set at about 1cm (1/2 inch), as long as your lawn take it. At this time of year some like people like to add a summer weed and feed which is fine but if you already done so in the spring them just adding a liquid feed will keep your lawn looking on top form. If you find that weeds start to appear later in the summer, then apply a selective weed killer or spot weed by hand to keep the weeds n check. It may be tempting at this time of year to get the hose and sprinkler out and start watering the lawn, especially if we’ve had some really hot dry spells but I personally never do and I’d advice you not to. The fact that the grass browns during the hot periods may look a little unsightly but you can rest in the knowledge that as soon as the rain does come that your lawn will be the first thing to perk up, as being a short rooted plant grass will be the first thing to absorb the new rain water. I also think that the water you do have can be put to better use in other areas of the garden. During mid summer and extended spells of hot dry weather you can raise the blades of your mower to about 2.5cm (1 inch) and instead of collecting the cuttings leave them on the lawn which will help to shade the lawn and lock in the remaining moisture in the ground.
As summer turns to autumn mowing frequency can be lowered to every to weeks with the mower blades set at about 2.5cm (1 inch). During mid autumn add a autumn weed and feed and once that has taken effect and the weeds have blackened, you once again need to reach for the garden fork and punch holes in the lawn and with your wire spring rake or scarifier go over the lawn and rake out the dead weeds, moss and thatch that has built up over the summer months. Doing this will help to aerate and increase drainage in your lawn. It’s normally at the end of the autumn that I’d tell you to give the lawn its final cut and take your mower to be serviced but with the climate the way it is and the growing season seemingly lengthening every year then its possible depending on what area you live in that your lawn may need cutting later in the year as well. Always make sure falling leaves are regularly raked up and blown off the lawn to prevent some of the grass dying off and the lawn becoming patchy and undoing all of the hard work you’ve done during the year.
Ah finally a little rest bite from lawn maintenance (at least that’s one positive to put on the fact that winter will of now well set in!) and although there isn’t half as much to do during the winter as there is in other months, there are still some things that need doing. If you notice areas that are water logged or wetter than others then spike the areas with you garden fork to increase drainage. Now’s the time to take the mower for servicing, to make sure you get it back in time for the first cut in spring. By now all leaves will be down so make sure to rake off all remaining leaves and debris with your plastic fan rake, only rake very lightly so to not damage the grass. Always try to keep off the lawn during frosty weather