Smart Ways to Properly Maintain Your Lawn

Article by Maya Pugh

 

The importance of having a lush and healthy lawn cannot be overstated.

After all, a neatly trimmed and well tended one can provide lifestyle, economic and even environmental benefits that are hard to miss.

However, creating the lawn of your dreams can be daunting sans basic upkeep know-how.

Get your maintenance off to a good start by keeping the following essentials in mind.

Mowing

  • Unknown to many, cutting encourages healthy grass growth. As such, it is deemed ideal to mow the frequently, especially during the growing season.
  • In addition, it is advisable to complement the setup with above the ground culm as this makes the abundant distribution of the nutrients to possible.
  • Moreover, cutting encourages more photosynthesis to take place because it absorbs more sunlight which makes the grass thicker. Suffice it to say, a heavier lawn will work to your advantage as it dramatically helps in minimising the presence of weeds.
  • While cutting is considered advisable, it is important not to go overboard as doing so will prove counterproductive. Cutting shorter than what is deemed advisable has been credited as the main culprit for bald areas and dry lawns.
  • As a general rule of thumb, the ideal length during the cold season is 3 inches while 2-2.5 inches is considered perfect during the warm months.

 

Watering

  • In a nutshell, the secret to good watering is doing it heavily only when the need calls for it.
  • In essence, what is necessary is a heavy pour that’s good enough to go down deep in the soil and encourage the roots to grow.
  • When the grass turns bluish grey, consider it a foolproof evidence it badly needs watering.
  • During the hot season however, it is crucial to keep your things in check. In line with this, it is advisable to do the watering in the mornings as it will help cool down the grass once the temperature rises.

Fertilising

  • To keep everything in superb shape, adding fertilisers is a must. Consider it the much needed ‘health booster’ of sorts.
  • If you are going to use commercial fertilisers, you have to decide if you prefer the regular water-soluble spray fertiliser, or the slow-acting granular kind. You can expect immediate results from the former, while it will take longer for the latter to manifest the results you desire.
  • As an additional tip, it is advisable to apply only minimal doses in mid spring and early fall to give time for the soil microorganisms to break down the nutrients and distribute it accordingly.

Proper maintenance can be challenging, but it’s not rocket science either. Arm yourself with the basic know-how and the right nursery supplies and you will be enjoying the lawn of your dreams in no time.

 

 

 

How to Clear a Large Overgrown Area; Weeds, Treestumps, Common Pests.

Overgrown AreaAllotments, fields and gardens can easily become overrun with weeds, trees, grass and much more. Clearing these pieces of land can be tricky and without a guide to the steps required, it can seem like an endless job. Here are a few methods and guidelines to show how to go about getting rid of various pests.

Tree StumpTree Stumps – These can be a real nuisance; taking up space, they can restrict you from planting in certain areas and are in danger of becoming diseased. You will need a liquid tree stump killer – there are plenty on the market, some stronger than others. Apply it to the freshly cut top surface and follow the instructions on the packet. This is best used over the winter period. Cover the stump after application to protect it from rain and bad weather and leave it to work.

Strimmer In UseBrambles, Hedges and Other Wooded Weeds – You have two options with these. The first is to scythe or use a strimmer to clear the bulk of them and then apply a heavy duty weedkiller to what is left (often the tree stump killers will double up as a heavy duty weed killer). Remember to apply to freshly cut surfaces for it to be most effective. The second option is to strim the area and then pull up the roots by hand. You will probably end up using a combination of all these methods.

Large Areas of Grass and Perennials – If you are short on time then the easiest method is to start by mowing or strimming the area in question; clear as much as you can by hand. You then have two options, the first is to apply a liquid weedkiller to the area (two or more applications may be necessary), or you can cover the area in a geotextile membrane. The membrane will block out all light, killing everything underneath. Please make sure the geotextile you lay down allows water to pass through, this will keep the soil rich underneath and also help to prevent any flooding. The benefit of the fabric is that you can leave it down and plant, lay turf or have gravel on top.

Final Steps – To make sure the job is completed properly, after the all the previous steps have been taken, turn the ground over and enrich it with some compost. This will give you a blank canvas to work with and mean that you can replenish the soil with anything it needs. Before planting check that you have the right crops or flowers for your soil type.

Polythene Or Weed Fabric Membrane? Which Is Better?

Membrane Sheets 100gsmThis has been a question for a long time, use polythene or geotextile to guard against weeds; the answer is fairly simple.

We supply and sell both materials and over a number of years have heard back from customers with their thoughts and stories. On blogs and websites polythene is deemed to be cheaper alternative, but when looking at the facts it is not suited for this job. Plastic sheeting has many uses, it is great for DIY around the home, for building projects and arts and crafts. Heavier duty versions can often be used in greenhouses and small plots as it is effective at warming the ground, however this is not recommended for large areas. People are usually steered towards buying inexpensive thin sheets to lay in and around the garden. This can cause more problems than it solves. Woven weed control fabric on the other hand has been created with your garden in mind; it is developed for a specific job and in the long term will serve you better. The best fabric to buy is the woven polyethylene version, it is stronger and will last a lot longer. The tight weave is very strong and also at the same time very easy to cut and shape; perfect for the irregularities of the garden. The plastic sheeting available will often get damaged very easily and can rip after installation, especially when laid under gravel and subjected to pedestrian traffic.

In the UK, as most know, we get quite a bit of water. Flooding is becoming more prevalent and we are susceptible to more storms and heavy rain. As the bad weather increases it can become dangerous to line your garden with polythene. Water will be unable to pass naturally through the soil and will pool, this can cause a lot of damage. What was once ‘a bargain’ could have drastic effects on your garden and land as surface water builds up. With the obvious common effects of flooding I have heard such stories as rotten decking, flooded paths, sodden land and more. Using weed fabric will combat this. The material is perforated and therefore rainwater will be able to drain through to the soil below, not only keeping it moist and healthy, but utilising the ground as drainage.

Recovering Your Allotment From Floods; What To Do

AllotmentsIt’s no secret that Britain has seen a lot of rain recently. In fact some parts of the UK have just experienced their wettest January since records began, and allotments nationwide are waterlogged or completely submerged. It’s almost a blessing in disguise that the wet weather occurred when it did. Very few gardeners have crops in the ground at this time of year, and most are simply maintaining and preparing for the rapidly approaching growing season. So firstly let’s all count our blessings. The summer floods in 2012 hit at the height of the growing season, causing incredibly severe damage and financial loss for many gardeners.

Firstly if your allotment was flooded and you had edible crops in the ground close to harvest, then dispose of them immediately. A great deal of flood water would have contained sewage and the possibility of contamination, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Fruit and vegetables that are eaten raw should be avoided for at least 6 months. This will give the plant enough time to recover and for any contaminants to break down naturally. Root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips, and edible fruit from trees above the flood water should be safe to eat in just a few weeks, but make sure you boil any root vegetables thoroughly before consumption. Any plants that are left should be covered with garden fleece as they will quickly perish in waterlogged soil during the last remaining frosts. The frost fleece will create a microclimate underneath which will raise the ground temperature enough to allow your plants and their roots to survive.

Any debris that’s been left on your plot now that the waters have receded must be cleared away, either with your household rubbish or through a waste disposal site run by your local council. Then dig everything over, and leave it to dry out. Planting anything at this stage will likely be a waste of time as seeds will tend to rot before they have a chance to germinate, and the torrential rain will have flushed away any nutrients in the soil leaving it relatively infertile. With intermittent rain forecast for the next few weeks this may take some time, so sow seeds in trays at home until the soil is dry enough to be worked. If you’re short on space, then you may have to buy juvenile plants from garden centres in mid spring ready for planting. Once the soil has dried out sufficiently it’s worth digging in some fertiliser and mulch. However avoid doing this early as you risk polluting water courses.

It’s highly unlikely that any allotments will experience lasting flood damage, and most will be ready to plant in just a few days once the risk of flooding has passed. Most of the work to be done now is preventative, and work to protect your plot should we experience any more prolonged periods of severe weather. Before you start planting for this years growing season, invest in a good quality mulch fabric. Many gardeners use polythene for weed control which works well, but if you’re in an area prone to flooding you could prevent excess rain water from draining away by using a waterproof plastic sheet. Landscape fabric will prolong the life of your mulch, whilst efficiently preventing any unwanted vegetation. This type of garden ground cover is ideal for raised beds, however if you plant in rows then a heavier duty 100gsm fabric will be far more convenient as it will be able to withstand the stress of people walking between plants.

Luckily the best way of promoting good drainage is the reason you have an allotment in the first place. Plants are very effective at removing and using excess rain water, in fact an average baking potato needs 10” of water over its entire surface area to promote a healthy crop. So it’s important to make sure your plants stay healthy with regular maintenance and pest control. Remove any dead leaves and debris once a week at least, and make sure you invest in a good quality pesticide. Just make sure it’s safe to use on edible crops. I’d also recommend a close weave insect netting to prevent damage from flying insects. A mesh size of around 0.5mm will form an effective barrier against aphids and root flies, whilst also preventing intrusion from larger animals like birds and rabbits. You’ll find that most polyethylene netting is light enough to lie directly on most plants, or you could use a crop cage. It’s also worth burying the edge to ensure you have formed an impenetrable barrier.

Plants aside it’s just as important to protect equipment, pesticides and fertilizers from excessive rain. If you have a shed on your plot, then ensure it’s watertight with the aid of a heavy duty tarpaulin if necessary. If your shed has an electricity supply then make sure it’s turned off before periods of heavy rain, and have it extensively checked by a qualified electrician before switching it back on.

How to Prepare and Lay Ground Cover Before Re-turfing Your Lawn.

Laying a new lawn can be a frustrating and time consuming task, but it will look superb if done correctly. It can transform the look of your garden and make it look lush and green.

It is important that the turf has a healthy and flat bed of fertilised soil to sit on. This can be created in just a few easy steps. Firstly you must clear the area to be used. Rake the area, clear the soil from old bits of grass and stone and apply a weed killing measure such as a spray or a similar suitable treatment. Once the area is clear of and left over grass and perennials then you can get to work levelling it out. You can use a mechanical device to roll the area to level it out or you can simply use your feet, applying pressure to the soil to compact and straighten it.

The next step is optional, but recommended. Laying heavy duty landscape control fabric will help to keep away a substantial amount of weeds. The 100gsm woven material is suitable for this use, when covering an area that is going to have any amount of pedestrian activity then it is important to use a strong geotextile.

Once this is laid and pegged down then you can move on to the final stages. You want to put your brand new turf on some soil that is nutrient rich to give it the best start in life. An inch or two of nice compost will help to keep your turf fresh through the early stages of settling in. As an alternative you are able to get hold of some pre-laying fertiliser that helps to keep the soil rich if not laying any compost. You are in a position now to lay the new lawn, the strips of turf are simple to roll out and easy to place next to each other. Trim the borders and water the grass often: try not to walk around on it too much as it takes a while for its roots to settle into the ground and this can be disturbed by activity.

It is important to follow the aftercare instruction provided by the company you have purchased the turf from, they will have a regime suited to the amount you have laid and the particular conditions related to your geographical position. When cutting the grass initially always use the mower on a high setting, cutting too short will damage the grass and bare patches may appear.

I hope you have found this helpful, it is important to do things correctly and I’d like to think this would be a good starting point in regards to important facts on laying a new lawn.

The key points:

  • Clear the area of debris and weeds
  • Make sure it is flat
  • Lay weed fabric (optional)
  • Fertilise soil or lay compost
  • Lay turf

How To Create Weed Free Borders With The Help Of A Membrane

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Although we all enjoy a spot of gardening once in a while, no one can be under any illusion that weeding flowerbeds is a boring and laborious task. We all dream of a beautiful, easy to maintain garden that we can simply enjoy, rather than slave over for hours on our hard earned weekends. It is very possible that the secret to this is not maintenance, but preparation. It’s very easy to buy a huge bottle of weed killer and declare war on those perennials, but easier to prevent their growth from square one.

Although this technique can be adapted for any area of your garden, let’s look at creating borders in particular. The first step is removal of any existing unwanted vegetation. There are many ways you can do this. The easiest method may seem a weedkiller, and to some extent it is. However results from most common garden weedkillers may take several weeks to appear. So if you’re on a tight schedule, then manual removal of the weeds is the best option.

The next step is the most crucial in ensuring your garden is as low maintenance as possible. Purchase a good quality weed control membrane. If it’s simply for a border or flowerbed, then a mulch landscape fabric will suffice. However, a heavier duty fabric can be used for other areas (under turf, pathways etc). Landscape fabric is a ‘spun-bonded’ membrane that prevents sunlight from reaching weeds, whilst still allowing water and nutrients to filter through to keep the soil fertile. Normally black or grey in colour, it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing sight. So you may choose to cover it with a layer of mulch, gravel, or bark chippings. This has the extra benefit of improving its weed controlling capabilities.

Ensure the landscape weed fabric is situated across the full area of the border, and securely fastened with fixing pegs appropriate for the ground conditions. In order to place your desired plants in the border, simply cut a small cross in the relevant position on the garden ground cover, and plant away. You may wish to secure the fabric around the planting site with more ground pegs.

The rest of the process is entirely up to you! A great tip is to try and factor in some evergreen vegetation to keep your border looking colourful all year round, and ensure that any ‘aggressive’ plants are kept trim all year round to allow all of your flowers to flourish. Don’t forget to invest in good quality slug and bug repellents so no pesky critters use your flowerbed as a restaurant.

What Type Of Weed Fabric Do I Need?

Weed fabric is not necessarily something that the normal person buys everyday, this is why when the need crops up it is hard to tell what to buy. This is where QVS come in, we can give you a guide to the grades of geotextiles and where they should be used.

To start I would like to mention that ‘weed fabric’, ‘landscape fabric’, ‘geotextile’ and ‘membrane’ are all the same thing; there are many descriptive names for this type of sheeting and it can get a little confusing.  I hope that makes things a bit more simple for you.

The are two types of weed sheeting; woven & spun bonded. The difference between these is that one is made from woven strips of polyethylene and the latter is constructed from fibres. They are both suitable for separate situations.

The spun-bonded is usually put to use in flowerbeds, borders and areas that can be mulched or have a covering of stones or chippings.  It is usually placed where there will be little to no pedestrian activity.

The woven weed suppressant is more suitable for areas such as driveways and under lawns, areas of heavy use. The weaving helps to strengthen the sheeting in tough conditions. All ground cover will need to be pegged down.

The next thing to look out for is the weight of the product. 100 grams per square metre (gsm) is a good heavy weight, suitable for heavier uses as mentioned above. 50gsm cover is usually used for the borders and flowerbeds I also mentioned earlier in the post.   Take these as a basis to start with.

For more information on use and securing options visit us here. We also have a contact line for any questions you might have.


			

How to pick the right weed control and fleece pins.

Plastic geotextile pinsPegs for geotextiles come in many sizes from plastic to metal. It is often difficult to find information on weed control fixing products in order to make an informed decision….. until  now!

The type of ground you are laying the fabric on will dictate the type of pin you will need to secure it. You need to find out what kind of soil the area you are wishing to cover has. This is easily done, as a quick assessment can be made by looking at a sample. It is useful to test the ground, perhaps you have a spade, cricket stump, pole etc… anything that will give you a gauge of how tough it is to push items in. Once the ground has been examined you can go about making a decision in regards to ground cover fixings.

If you have come to the conclusion that the earth is fairly soft and it is easy to push, things in then the peg most suitable will be a plastic anchor peg. These are usually 6 inches long with what looks like a barbed design. The reason this is great for softer soil is that the barbs will grip into the earth, this added stability is needed to keep any fabric you are holding down in place. BE CAREFUL! It is important to get the heavy duty style plastic pins. The thinner style is very flimsy and tends to break and bend very easily. It is important you check before you buy; do not just go for the cheaper option because they will most likely be a thinner pin.

If you find you come to the conclusion that the earth is harder or even stony then it sounds like a steel peg would be the peg to go for. Even though you can use L-shaped or groundsheet type pegs the best one to go for are large staples; the reason being that the bar across the top hold down and fleece and membrane really well. You will be able to use a hammer with the steel pegs but be gentle as you do not want the pins you are using to bend or break.

If you feel your ground is extra hard or rocky and it is really hard and it may be very hard to push and staples in then you can use what are used ‘Rock Pegs’. This rock pegs are very thick and have a plastic bar at the top.  These pegs are often used by campers and people doing outdoor activities.

The pegs mentioned are all fairly self-explanatory and it is advisable to test the ground before buying any fixing products. Most home gardeners will be used to making decisions based on previous experience, but for newbies it can be hard. Please feel free to send through any question or go to our home site for even more details.

Hope this was helpful.