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New lawn, some advice please

Discussion in 'Lawns' started by TerryCTR, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. TerryCTR

    TerryCTR Apprentice Gardener

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    Hello,

    I’m far from being green fingered but after recently having some landscaping done to sort the bog of a back garden that often comes with new builds these days I’ve began researching in an attempt to keep my new turf healthy and have just came across this forum so I thought I would join and hopefully obtain some help :)

    The turf has been down 5/6 weeks now and this is after the second cut yesterday. I’m noticing fungus (toadstools/mushrooms) growing in places so I guess it’s time to act. I’ve read a few things that suggest a feed is now due (low nitrogen) but happy to be corrected.

    Secondly, I would like a roller mower and the Hater Harrier 41 keeps popping up. Can anyone offer some advice on what to go for?

    Thanks

    Terry

    70FD6723-D4CA-4060-9D5B-992E23340D6E.jpeg3B2076F8-222D-48CB-A4F7-805CC36DCFB8.jpeg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2018
  2. Liz the pot

    Liz the pot Gardener

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    Hello Terry

    You say it’s a new build, do you know how well the area was prepared for the turf and what was there originally?
    I’m not a huge fan of Hayter even though I’ve their 48pro version amoung my mower collection.
    Feed will not deter the toadstools, they have either appeared from what was there or brought in from contaminated soil but in most cases they don’t last long and they are not a huge concern. I’m going to guess they came in with the turf/soil as they seem spread out over the area and not clumped up. Warm, humid weather brings them out.
    There should still be plenty of nutrients in the soil and your grass still looks nice and green but you can use either a lawn feed be it granular or liquid based on an Autumn/Spring feed. Be warned that some contain iron or as seen on the packs Fe and this can stain so care should be taken not to spread, walk or spray on your new patio area.
    As a side note it’s fairly common with toadstools that a gardener may look and scarify or delay a feed if they appear. In your case scarifying is not required and my personal opinion is to avoid a feed as the grass is heathy and has plenty of nutrients to rely on. An Autumn feed can be applied at any time apart from when temps are due to drop to the point of frosts.
    If you wish you may remove the toadstools but wear some gloves as a precaution.
     
  3. TerryCTR

    TerryCTR Apprentice Gardener

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    Thanks for the reply Liz, I was reading some of your discussions last night on lawn care and my mind was blown :snorky: I’ve a long way to go.

    The toadstools are only minor and dotted sporadically so hopefully not too contaminated.

    As for the prep, some drainage went in, what was left of the existing turf if can call it turf was turned upside down and raked then topsoil was brought in and they appeared to rake, compact with their feet. This was repeated a few times before the turf went down.

    I will hold off on the lawn feed for now and yes the Indian sandstone was quite expensive so I would be concerned that it gets marked down the line so I’ll need to watch what feed I go for.

    Is that an older version Hayter or one of the recent ones? Any alternative you can recommend that will get me a nice stripe and be able to cope with cutting longer grass if I can’t get out during wet periods to keep it in check? I’m based in Glasgow so rain can be frequent at times.
     
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    • Liz the pot

      Liz the pot Gardener

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      Thanks Terry for your kind words.
      My Hayter is the more modern design, about 8 years old but it’s been in a fair few times for repairs in that time and is not really worked that hard.
      There are lots of options, yes you have Hayter, Honda, John Deere, Viking and some of the more domestic type machines like Mountfield.
      There’s also petrol vs Electric vs Battery and then you have cylinder vs Rotary. The market is full of machines.
      It just depends on your budget and how often you would be cutting. Cylinders offer a better cut but that depends on the type of grass and blade on the machine where as a rotary will handle long damp grass better plus many cylinders are aimed at lower cut heights.
      Cylinders need to be adjusted too to make sure they cut well and one stone hit will create an issue. The good news is some are in cassette form so it’s easy to remove and sharpen.
      What I would do is find a nice local dealer, could be Honda or you may have a Stihl dealership in your area. Mine offers Stihl and Viking plus Honda and Hayter. You can then way up what’s what and have the benefit that if you have any problems it can be repaired.
      Roller models don’t tend to have the pick up of a 4 wheel mower due to the chute size and it’s worth considering cloth vs plastic on the grass collection bag. Cloth tends to need a good wash as they clog where plastic ones like on Vikings are dead easy to clean. You will notice Hayter bags are angled high, wet grass tends to fall back to the chute which clogs the machine in no time if the grass is wet and long. Not a huge issue for you but it points to design.
      Also be aware that some Hayters are Toro design as Toro own Hayter.
      The rear roller use to be split on some Hayters and they had issues with mud and crap entering this but was rectified with a service kit. I prefer a one piece rear roller.
      The other issue is servicing. Petrol costs in my area around 80 to 100 for my Hayter but there is no servicing on a battery powered unit, no petrol, low noise pollution and less vibration on your hands. While there are roller battery models the lines are not as defined as a petrol due to weight so a Hayter will give a nice line where say a Mountfield battery version will be lighter and short lived. Allett however do a Cylinder battery mower but I can’t comment on it as I’ve not used one but if the lawns cut say twice weekly it should be good.
      Of course you could and I’ve see it done use a 4 wheel mower and then use a small hand roller but it’s probably more hassle than it’s worth.
      So many options out there, all I can say is visit a local dealership and stick with the better makes so that spares are not an issue as time ticks on.
       
      Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
    • Loofah

      Loofah Well used member

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      I used to have a mountfield rotary and was very happy with that, you can get them with a small roller on the back too so best of both worlds. I now have a honda and equally happy although this one starts a little easier if the mower has been left a while. It has a rubber flap in place of a rear roller and still gives stripes but obviously not as defined as a cylinder would produce.
      If the turf has only been down 6 weeks you don't need to do anything aside from water and mow. Just brush off or remove any mushrooms as you see them.
      Would be good to know whats underneath your turf though as new builds are notoriously bad for builders dumping rubble under them...
       
    • TerryCTR

      TerryCTR Apprentice Gardener

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      Liz - If I knew I’d commit to regular mowing I would go for an Allet Cylinder but that’s wishful thinking so rotary it is. The latest hayter harrier released in 2017 I believe has altered bag angle etc and apparently now fills completely with cuttings. I was told to watch out for steel rollers as they will mark the slabs so with the hayter being plastic I thought great. I also liked the idea of being able to connect a hose to wash it out afterwards. There is a big store 20 minutes away so I’ll probably start by going there and seeing what they say.

      Loofah - I may have some before photos that I can load later. Basically just blue clay and some rubble which has now been dug out before the drainage was added. I believe the turf now has a good base to start growing well so I just need to learn the appropriate routines to keep it maintained to a reasonable level.

      We have a 12 week old girl to contend with now so I’m just counting down the days to when it’s trampled on consistently :snorky:
       
    • Liz the pot

      Liz the pot Gardener

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      Still looks high, all rear roller mowers suffer clogging, it’s part of the parcel due to airflow movements and an enclosed chute due to the roller position. It just can’t be avoided apart from the really old Hayters that had a different engine fitted but the vibration levels are crazy.
      I would also say the hose connection is really a fad and you are better off leaning it backwards and washing the deck. They will clog and you will find at times you need to stop and clean the deck by hand, even my Etesia requires the odd clean out on some jobs.
      I never walk a roller touching the ground, it’s best to lift the mower so the roller is off the ground when pushing on slabs and the likes.
      Before plumbing for the Hayter check out the Honda HRX426 QX 17 and the Viking range. Viking is Briggs powered but there’s no doubt the Honda engine will be better. Both are cheap to repair and parts are not too bad. Sadly the Honda is quite expensive but no more than the Hayter 41 equivalent.
      Also don’t forget to keep the warranty they will need an annual service.
      If you really wanted me to push to one mower I would plumb for the Honda but if you asked me what mower would be the easiest to use on that small lawn and cheap running costs I would go straight for the Viking Battery range which are 4 wheel. They cut really well, easy to clean, cheap to run and in the few years I have had mine I just replace the blade and bolt which is £12 a go and I throw mine about on my jobs like all my mowers.
      The saving would be huge and no petrol to worry about. There is no doubt battery is the way forward and every year this tech is getting better. I would dearly love to scrap all my petrol tools if tech was there now which it almost is.

      If you do go for a petrol ask them to add a filter in line as they don’t tend to have one. Saves cleaning the carb out although it’s easy but saves hassle. The filter was a god send on my Hayter which seemed to be prone to crap no matter how careful I was. It’s surprising how easy it is for crap to find it’s way into petrol.

      Hope you find one and let us know what you went for.
       
    • TerryCTR

      TerryCTR Apprentice Gardener

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      Thanks Liz, I’m not adverse to battery power at all but I would like a reasonable stripe so I’ll do some more research and let you know what I go for.

      Currently I’ve got a petrol mountfield, it’s ok but nothing fancy and seems to cut out the second the grass gets tough. I’ve also got a cheapish petrol strimmer from screwfix and it’s never been any issue.

      I did however return a McCulloch leaf blower as it was leaking oil everywhere and the fumes were terrible so I’m now onto a battery Stihl blower and I note they do a mower that can take this battery - just a shame it’s not a roller.
       
    • Liz the pot

      Liz the pot Gardener

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      It’s the mower I use, Stihl own Viking so Viking also produce Stihl branded stuff. I know the blower sucks the life out of the battery which is a shame as I recently had to Stihl bg86 blowers fail me and I wanted a back up rather than my big backpack one. Ended up with an attachment blower for my Kombi engines which works ok but I’m glad to have the 86 blowers back.
      Mines the 2 handle version, the Viking MA443.
      I asked if I could use their battery backpack with it and alter the wiring but they said no but I’m sure it would be easy to do but I went for 2 of the ap300 batts instead. Ive a feeling they are packed with 18650 batts, they work well.
      My old Bosch battery mower had a roller, not sure about the new ones but it left a light line, nothing like a heavy petrol one.
      You could always get a small hand roller and roll after a cut if you fancied their battery mower. Would be cheaper too as you have the battery and charger.
       
    • Liz the pot

      Liz the pot Gardener

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    • Loofah

      Loofah Well used member

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      Easy, just keep mowing. It's so new that you don't need to treat it this year and there won't be enough thatch build up to bother scarifying come next spring. Every couple years scarify and feed every spring and autumn if you're really keen.

      The kids will trample it a tad but nothing a bit of aeration won't sort (and congratulations by the way :) )
       
    • TerryCTR

      TerryCTR Apprentice Gardener

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      Thanks Loofah, when should the first aeration occur - this time next year?
       
    • Loofah

      Loofah Well used member

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      No set time, just after it has been compacted for a while (it can also help if you find moss appearing although that may have underlying causes such as rubble). People tend to do it either spring or autumn
       

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