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Neglected lawn- I'm on a mission and would appreciate your help please!

Discussion in 'Lawns' started by Selleri, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. Selleri

    Selleri Gardener

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    We have just moved into our new home, and the most charitable thing I can say about our three lawns is that you could fit several full size trampolines on each of them. Or a tennis court if you don't mind playing over the house roof and around the garage. :gaah:

    The grass was about wellie hight, and the side lawn was dotted with very healthy weeds (mainly the large leaved one growing in rosettes).

    I have now experimented and tackled the back lawn with a lawnmover, which took 4 hours and nearly destroyed the poor mover. The result is horrible as the ground never dried under the dense mat of tall grass so plenty of grass got ripped up.

    Today I took the strimmer to the side lawn to get rid of the topmost 20cm. I strimmed (3 hours and 4 passer bys suggesting I might want to invest in a lawnmover :old:) and raked a binful of the green stuff away.

    What's the best plan going forward? Can I mow the strimmed grass as soon as it is reasonably dry? Should I re-mow the back garden bit, it is now 2 weeks since the unfortunate first run? Or re-seed the muddy bits and use the strimmer?

    A scythe would have been the most appropriate tool for the job but apparently they don't sell scythes in Argos or Wilkos even now, a week before Halloween. :scratch:

    Thanks very much for any tips, these are my first proper lawns and my experience is based on managing my nana's lawn in 1980s with a scythe and a push mower. (Not simultaneously):)
     
  2. Verdun

    Verdun Passionate gardener

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    Selleri, usually the advice (good) is to keep off the grass if wet but needs must.

    I cut a lawn in a new build this morning.....it was very wet, very long and it would only have gotten longer and wetter so, as I said, needs must.
    It looks better and my advice there is to mow again when the soil and grass is much drier.

    So, yes, mow again when dry. No, dont re seed now.....wait until spring. You can also use the strimmer when dry.

    Problem is the grass will simply get longer if not cut and will look awful when eventually mown. The longer the grass gets the more it will be ripped out.
    I suggest mowing with blades as high as possible and to mow as often as you can during suitable conditions, viz., when soil and grass is not wet.

    Down here, in mild west Cornwall, lawn mowing continues during most of the winter

    It will be a different story in spring and you will then be a step ahead and not playing catch up.

    Grass is tough. Overlook the lawn's looks over winter and imagine how it will be in spring after some reseeding, feeding and regular mowing.

    Finally, during a dry spell go out there with your garden fork and spike it .....this will help the lawn to drain better :)
     
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    • Selleri

      Selleri Gardener

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      :ThankYou:

      Thank you Verdun! We have just had the proverbial two dry days so I mowed the lot. I think the situation is not hopeless as this time it only took me an hour and the result resembles a lawn more than a jungle with mud pits and possibly alligators.

      Now the ground hopefully has some kind of chance to dry a bit so fingers crossed we have a very sunny, dry November. (Yeah, as if. We live in the North East. But one can always wish for things and draw stunning garden designs while waiting. :) )
       
    • Selleri

      Selleri Gardener

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      Nearly a year after the original post the situation is looking much better. Now it's time to tackle two specific problems, I'd appreciate your help very much :love30::)

      The soil under all lawns is very heavy clay, in winter the water just stands there and in the summer it dries and cracks. :wallbanging:

      1: the back. The back lawn is now in ok-ish condition, I spent the winter poking holes into it and filling them with sand. Then, during the draught I discovered something that looks like foundations of an old building! There seems to be a thin layer of clay over rubble, gravel and presumably stones underneath. A perfectly rectangular area died out completely and is now struggling to knit together.

      Should I poke holes (getting good at that :snorky:) and fill with compost to add some organic matter? Or would just top-dressing with compost help? I guess some re-seeding is needed as well.

      backlawn2.JPG
      backlawn3.JPG

      2: the front. Here I have the traditional little square of very poor grass, in the winter it's mainly moss. I have done some hole poking and sand adding, but now I think proper attack is needed.

      I don't mind moss, but would like to encourage the grass as it pretty much looks like it's aiming for a comb-over :biggrin:

      What's the best way here? More poking and sand, compost, topdressing...? Reseeding is obviously needed but I want to improve the soil first to give the grass a better chance.

      Warning: this is a very sad picture, not suitable for sensitive gardeners :cry3:

      frontlawn1.JPG

      Thanks very much, and apologies for the rubbish quality photos. I'm not very good with the Teenager's IPad :noidea:
       
    • Verdun

      Verdun Passionate gardener

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      Hi Selleri :)

      The back lawn! If míne, I would dig out those stones and rubble or try to. However a second best option is to top dress it. Can you get hold of any good top soil? If you can, spread it over your grass using the back of a rake. Or a mixture of mpc and soil. Before this though rough rake the grass, mow it and scatter fresh grass seed. Ideally spike it after raking.:smile:

      The front lawn! You suggest its a small area so I would dig over the lot. Bury the turf and moss face down some 20 cm deep. Firm and level it then add compost and granular fertiliser and rake it into the top soil. Re seed. Water.

      In both cases raise the cutting height of the mower..longer grass looks better, stays green for longer and wears better. Coupled with regular mowing and a feed in spring and again in summer you will have a decent couple of lawns there Selleri :)
       
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      • Selleri

        Selleri Gardener

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        Thanks Verdun! :)

        Serious digging is unfortunately not going to happen, so I'll follow your advise on topdressing etc. the back lawn. The grass is now growing well compared with what a sorry sodden patch it was a year ago, so I'm hopeful with it.

        This was last September when we had just moved in:

        backlawn2017.JPG

        The front lawn is challenging, your advise to dig it all up and replace face down makes so much sense, but unfortunately I can't do that. :frown:

        Do you think I could improve the soil by my trusted poke-holes-fill-with-stuff method? Then topdress and seed? The moss is starting to show signs of life now with the rains so at least I know it will bee green :biggrin: but grass would be nicer.

        Thanks again Verdun, you are my Guru :old: :snorky:
         
      • Verdun

        Verdun Passionate gardener

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        Ha ha, guru? :)
        Yes, I think your plan makes sense. Should be fine. :)
         

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