Common Lawn Problems

The one thing that most people with a garden will have is - a lawn; and a well kept, neat and trim lawn can look delightful. They do, however, require a lot of care and attention to maintain them.

Whilst lawns need weeding and treating to keep them in top condition having moles or gophers arrive in the area can wreck havoc on even the best kept lawns. However, for any lawn problem you think you might have there is a simple and cost effective solution, that you can carry out to restore your lawn to its former glory.

Old and Worn Out Lawns

To improve an old and apparently worn out lawn simply aerating it can literally breathe new life into it. You can aerate a lawn by vertically digging a fork into it at regular intervals to a depth of four to six inches.

If you have a large lawn you can buy both manual and powered aerating machines that have a spiked rotating drum that will pierce the lawn with lots of thin holes.

Scarifying a lawn will not only remove moss from the surface but will also help when you’re aerating a lawn. As moss retains water, removing it will reduce the risk of the aeration holes immediately becoming saturated. Early in the springtime, adding a fertilizer and, if necessary, over-seeding the lawn will encourage lushes new growth ready for the summer.

If you can hire a heavy roller from a DIY store or Garden Centre, having a flat lawn will be beneficial when cutting it. When cutting an uneven lawn it is all too easy to completely shave off a patch of grass, creating bare patches - which will immediately make your lawn look worn.

One way you can avoid this is to not set the cutting blades of your mower too low. Also, if you have a damaged blade on your mower; replace it - as it could easily dig into the lawn.

Leveling a Bump in the Lawn

If you have a visible bump in the lawn, possibly caused by a tree root underneath the soil, you need to level it as soon as possible. The same procedure can be used if you have a visible hollow in your lawn.

First make an H-shaped cut in the turf, with the crosspiece of the ‘H’ over the bump or hollow. Lift back the turf and either remove or infill with top-soil as necessary. Replace the turf and tap it down. Sieve some soil into any cracks where you made the original cuts.

Weed and Disease Control

If you spot weeds early enough, simply picking them out of the lawn can be an effective control; of course you need to make sure you take the entire root out when doing this. Alternatively you’ll need to apply selective or generic weed-killers to the lawn.

Generally speaking, if the lawn needs a generic weed-killer all over it, you might need to consider completely re-laying the lawn. Whereas, a selective weed-killer targeted at specific places on the lawn; should be highly effective, especially if three or four days before cutting the lawn.

Lawn Pests

Whilst the common earth worm is in many respects the gardener’s friend - by and large gardeners don’t want to see worm-casts on the surface of their lawns; especially as when they’re flattened they can kill the grass underneath them causing bare spots and encouraging moss to grow. A curious combination of dull, moist and warm weather is ideal for discouraging worms on a lawn.

When the weather meets those conditions apply something like Cabaryl, Derris or Chlordane to the lawn. Much bigger problems are moles or gophers; which will ruin a lawn very quickly if not dealt with.

Whilst chemical repellants that won’t harm the animals, are available using a sonic deterrent is more likely to be permanently effective and be more cost effective over a large area of lawn. Operating ‘humane’ mole/gopher traps can be very hit-and-miss, with moles and gophers seeming to be able to avoid them at will.

Using the Correct Mower

Using the correct lawn mower is one way that you can avoid creating problems with your lawn. Apart from deciding whether to use a manual, electric or motor powered you also need to decide whether to have a rotary blade or a traditional drum blade. Quite simply the bigger the lawn - the more powerful you’ll need the mower to be.

However, even on a small lawn - buy a mower that will collect the grass clippings. Unless you’re prepared to mow the lawn every 5 or 6 days - leaving grass clippings on top of a lawn is bound to kill the grass underneath them; creating unsightly bare patches.