Every spring is different and 2019 has been no exception! After the heatwave of 2018 which caused many problems with various plants including lawns, we had a fairly benign winter where there was not really much in the way of cold weather, but unfortunately not much in the way of rain either.
Each year we have to approach how we care for our lawns in a way that suits how the weather is behaving, it is no good to have a wall chart with recommendations that we follow “whatever” the weather is doing. During March, we are likely to see more frosty mornings and we should remember that this means the leaves of the plants are frozen so we should not be walking all over it or cutting it. If the forecast is frosty, leaving the cutting for a few days.
Turf is a great way to create an “instant” lawn. However, like many jobs, it is the preparation that is key to making sure that your new lawn is sustainable. It is easy to forget that turf is simply a roll of very young, small and delicate grass plants that have had their roots cut off, been transported (often) a long way in a hot lorry and are about to be put on top of a soil that is probably very different to what it is used too!
There are two main species of Chafer Grub that cause problems in turf and sports surfaces: the Garden Chafer Grub (Phyllopertha horticola) and the Cock Chafer Grub (Melolontha melolontha) The ones shown to the right are the garden Chafer which is much smaller than the Cock Chafer with the larvae growing to 15mm in length. These will generally last for one season in the soil whereas the much larger Cock Chafer will last up to three years growing to quite a size (up to 30mm in length).
Now that Spring is creeping up on us, we have to consider how we go about mowing our lawn! Mistakes are often made on cut height and timing which can cause stress to the lawn and detract from it’s health and appearance.
I tend to think of a lawn not as a single “entity” but more of a large flower bed full of “grass plants”. We have to remember that these plants were not designed to be “cut” – they are on this planet for only two reasons: to flower and produce seed in an attempt to reproduce.