Lawn Care

  • Thatch

    Identification:

    • When you walk on your turf, is it spongy, soft and feel like a plush carpet?
    • If you look at the sides of your turf, do you see a thick layer of brown, spongy material?

    General Description

    Thatch is a natural part of the living turf and generally desirable. Thatch is a layer of dead turf material. Contrary to popular belief, it is not formed from the grass leaves that fall into the turf after mowing. Thatch forms for several reasons, but the most important is improper fertilisation. When grass is growing properly, it forms new roots, stems, and leaves as the old ones die. As long as new grass is formed at about the same rate as the old dies, there will be no thatch accumulation, but when the grass grows faster than the old material can be destroyed, thatch accumulates.

    Thatch is destroyed by naturally occurring fungi. By applying too much fertiliser to your turf, you can cause it to grow too fast for the natural soil fungi to destroy it, and thus thatch accumulates. It is okay for turf to have no thatch if you like firm turf, but your turf will suffer if the thatch layer grows too thick.

    Do some grass varieties form thatch faster than others?

    Yes, some grasses, like bentgrass and smooth stalk meadow grass do form thatch much faster than ryegrass or fescue. However, even among the different bentgrass and smooth stalk varieties that are commercially available, you can find some that form thatch faster than others. These grass varieties are made available to meet different needs. For example, a sports pitch requires both rapidly growing turf to heal itself and thatch to cushion the athlete's feet and body. Lawns that receive little traffic or limited amounts of fertiliser should be made of less aggressively growing varieties.

    What cultural practices will help control thatch accumulation?

    The most important is to fertilise properly. Next, encourage the roots to grow deeply through proper watering,and prevent your soil from becoming compacted. Light top dressing (Rolawn Topdressing can be used for this) with natural soils or amended sands which will encourage a greater rate of thatch decomposition.

    Mechanical de-thatching or scarification is the least effective means to reduce a thatch problem. De-thatching removes, at best, 30% of the thatch, and does nothing to reverse the cause of thatch production. It is recommended that de-thatching only be done in the late spring or autumn, and only when combined with proper fertilisation and watering.

    Remember: Thatch is a natural product of healthy turf. A thin layer of thatch improves the performance of your turf. Too much thatch is bad for your turf and indicates poor turf management.

  • Turf Diseases and Insects

    Turf pest & disease controlIdentification:
    1. Can you recognise a disease or insect damage in your turf?
    2. Did you know that there are many ways in which you can damage your turf?

    If you are interested in knowing about the problems that affect your turf, the Rolawn turf care advice can provide useful information.

    General Descriptions
    Turf diseases - Most turf diseases are caused by an imbalance or reaction in the natural fungi population present in all fine turf. For the most part, fungi do not cause disease. In fact, for most of their life they help degrade thatch. Fungi cause disease in turf when two events occur:

    1. The weather is conducive to disease.
    2. The plant is susceptible to infection.

    Each disease in turf, and there are many, develops under different conditions. Some diseases develop in the spring, some in the summer, and others in the winter months. Fortunately, diseases that can kill your turf are fairly rare and those that are more common are not very damaging. While there are many different diseases, the Rolawn Lawn Centre describes the most common or destructive ones. The best defence against disease development is to select those grass varieties with the greatest disease resistance. Rolawn takes great care and pride in selecting their turf seed. The next best action to minimise disease development is to take good care of your turf. Well managed turf will not only develop less disease, but it can recover from disease faster. While diseases in turf are not common, they are natural and will occasionally develop. The first and most important step to take is to identify which disease is attacking your turf. If you are not familiar with diseases, ask an expert. The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) is the leading agronomy organisation in the UK you can visit their website www.stri.co.uk.

    Turf insects - There are many insects that feed on turf, but most do not cause great damage. Insect damage and identification of insects is usually a job for an expert. In general, insect damage will cause your turf to turn yellow and slow down in growth, but these same symptoms can be caused by other problems as well. Other insects simply live in the turf or soil and cause the turf little harm. If you think you have an insect problem, consult an expert before you take action.

    How you can damage turf
    It may surprise you to learn this, but humans cause more problems to turf than all the diseases and insects combined. For example, walking, running, sports, horses, dogs, and bicycles all cause wear to turf. When turf is worn, it becomes weak and more susceptible to disease and other forms of damage. Pavements, driveways, and buildings can have an effect on turf. These structures can cause turf to heat up, or they can collect a lot of water and salts (used to melt snow), which can reduce the growth of turf.

    Remember: Turf was developed to be beautiful to look at and fun to use, but to ensure these pleasures, you must take care of it. The London Lawn Turf Company can help you keep your turf beautiful and healthy.

  • Ten Great Reasons to Have a Quality Lawn!

    1. It's environmentally friendly
      Lawns reduce storm water run off and control soil erosion. A lawn also assists the decomposition of pollutants and helps restore soil quality.
    2. Standing on grass can reduce stress
      In experiments it has been shown that standing barefoot on grass can trigger a reduction in the signs of stress. Heart rate and blood pressure have been shown to fall as has electrical skin resistance showing a reduction in stress levels.
    3. A lawn is an oxygen machine
      A lawn 250 square metres in size can absorb carbon dioxide from the air and produce enough oxygen for a family of four to breathe. A lawn will draw pollutants from the air, increasing the carbon benefit.
    4. The only choice for fun, enjoyment and reward
      Not only is a grass surface one of the lowest cost surfaces for you and your family to enjoy it is one of the safest. It needs no explaining the difference between taking a fall on grass compared to a tarmac or stone surface. Looking after and maintaining a beautiful lawn is also a rewarding experience and past time. The results speak for themselves and are there for all to see, from friends and neighbours to you and your family.
    5. A self cleaning surface
      A lawn can actually clean itself by taking in garden debris and organic matter. When was the last time you saw the neighbours washing down the lawn?
    6. The smell of freshly cut grass
      Time and time again the smell of freshly cut grass in spring tops the lists of the most pleasant and comforting smells.
    7. Adding value to a property
      It is known that a well maintained lawn and landscaped garden significantly adds roadside appeal and value to a property.
    8. Natures filter
      Not only does a lawn trap and filter dust and dirt from the air it also can reduce pollution by purifying the water passing through its root zone.
    9. We are programmed to enjoy it
      It is believed that standing barefoot on grass is a multi-sensory experience. It triggers deeply rooted associations with the smell and sound of nature and the vision of dense greenery. These associations are probably evolutionary and are hard-wired into our nervous systems.
    10. It's cool
      Another benefit that everyone can enjoy from a lawn is its tremendous cooling effect. On a hot summers day a lawns surface can be at least 30 degrees cooler than that of tarmac.

    Have a look at some quality turf here in our store, it doesn't have to cost the world.

  • Scarification

    Scarification is a very important thing to do for your lawn . In spring (and autumn for that matter) scarification is best combined with other things, like top dressing, seeding and applying fertiliser. However, where scarification is combined with other planned work, we must stress that it should be completed first. We have had discussions with lawn owners who have fertilised and top-dressed and then remembered that they should also scarify. If this happens, it will be better to leave any intensive scarification until the autumn. That said a little light scarification could be beneficial during good growing conditions in the summer, once the effect of the other spring operations have borne fruit.

    Assuming that the work has been planned well and the lawn is scarified prior to any other spring operations (excluding mowing, which should continue on a regular basis both before and after scarification) effective scarification will improve the quality of the lawn. It will also improve the effectiveness of the other operations that follow. In this regard, if you still have the energy, you do not have to wait to do any other planned work once the scarification is complete. Seeding and top dressing can follow straight away!

    Why?

    Having considered when to scarify, it is appropriate to ask why. Scarification is carried out to remove organic matter from around the base of the grass plants and tidy up any straggly lateral growth. In a nutshell, scarification removes material, probably in the form of thatch or moss that will otherwise prevent good dense grass growth. If you do not scarify, debris will build up and lead to other problems. Thatchy and mossy lawns will not be very wear or drought tolerant. Once the space has been created around the base of the grass plants, the trick is to encourage the grass to fill the space. There are two important points to make here. Firstly, do not scarify too early in the spring. It is important that the grass is growing fairly well and that any space created is filled by desirable lawn grasses. If growth is slow, there is a higher risk that the gaps will be filled with unwanted weeds or weed-grasses. Secondly, encourage grass growth after scarification. This is where other operations like fertilisation will be beneficial.

    Finally, be careful not to over do it. Hand scarification is hard work. If you have a large lawn, it will be better to use a machine.

  • Changes in Your Turf After Laying

    What should you do if :

    1. Your turf becomes thinner a month after it is laid?
    2. Your grass seems to lose its colour?

    If this happens, your turf may be adapting to the type of care you are giving it.

    New turf growth

    The performance of newly installed turf is dependant on:

    1. The quality of turf you bought.
    2. How well your soil was prepared.
    3. The care you give your new turf after it is installed.

    Why your turf becomes thinner

    The density of your turf responds to the conditions under which it grows and the care you give it. If your turf is grown in less than full sunlight or you give it less care than Rolawn did, it will lose its density and colour. Turf density is greatest when it is grown in full sun. Growing it next to buildings, tall hedges or under trees will cause the turf to become thinner. If you look around your neighbourhood you will also notice that lawns which receive low amounts of fertiliser are thinner. Lawns that are mown at heights greater than 50mm will also be thinner.

    Does your turf seem to lose its lush green colour?

    Loss of turf colour is generally caused by decreasing amounts of available nitrogen.

    Solution to the problem

    In most cases, your turf will need to be fertilised and mown more often. Remember: Your turf is a living organism and it will respond to the care you give it. Your Rolawn turf was delivered to you in excellent condition, and with the proper care it will remain that way.

  • Topdressing

    Lawn topdressing can be applied at any time when the grass is actively growing.

    Spring & Autumn - application of up to 3 litres/m2 (approx. 4kg/m2 or 3mm deep) of topdressing will assist in levelling, repairing worn & patchy areas, improving drainage, minimising thatch and promoting growth. If required, it should be done in conjunction with:

    • Scarification
    • Hollow tining/forking
    • Fertilising
    • Overseeding

    Summer - application of up to 1.5 litres/m2 (approx. 2kg/m2 or 1.5mm deep) of topdressing will assist in routine maintenance as worn areas appear. If required, it should be done in conjunction with:

    • Hollow tining/forking
    • Fertilising

    NB. If drought conditions exist, do not apply topdressing, fertiliser or hollow tine/fork the area.

    Topdressing should only be applied when the grass surface is relatively dry and it should be worked into the sward. Usually this is done using the back of a rake or a stiff brush. The topdressing should not be so thick that it smothers the grass when work has finished. Once the topdressing has been completed, there should be no obvious clusters of topdressing on the surface and the grass should be clearly visible. Watering the lawn when you have finished will put the final touches to the job.

    Do not mow immediately after applying the dressing, as this may remove some of the dressing and may cause damage and unnecessary wear to your lawnmower.

    Check out our Topdressing here >

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