Staying on top of active lawn maintenance
As the weather starts to warm up and the sun stays out longer, it's time to start thinking about active lawn maintenance. After a long winter season, those vibrant green grass blades may need some work to bring them back to life. Fear not, though, because May is the perfect time to tackle your lawn care tasks. It’s your last chance to sow or lay new lawns without using sprinklers until after summer. Plus, it’s from now onwards that your grass will need a good amount of work. Increased growth during the summer months means it’ll need consistent mowing to keep it looking neat and tidy.
Your grass starts growing again in the spring, so May means regular outings for your lawnmower. Not only does it keep your lawn looking its best, but it also helps to keep it growing strongly and deters weeds from sprouting up. Try and aim for mowing once a week, but if you find the weather getting in the way, you should just mow at every opportunity. You might find that the ground is either dry or soggy and cold, which can slow the growth of your grass. If that’s the case, keep the cut on the higher side and lower the cut when the growth picks up.
If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to define the edges of your lawn. This involves taking an edging iron or edging spade and creating what is effectively a gutter around the lawn. It creates a neat, sculpted look and prevents the grass from creeping across from the lawn into your borders. That way, you also keep your borders looking tidy and properly defined. If you already have edges, it’s a case of keeping them trimmed and tidy with a pair of edging shears. Your mower will get most of it, and then you can catch any grass that’s still overhanging.
Watering is trickier because it’s so dependent on the weather. This time of year can prove to be unpredictable, but during dry spells it’s important to water the grass yourself. Even in mild conditions, dry soil should be watered every 8-10 days, ideally in the morning while the temperature is lower. For the most part though, nature should take care of the watering for you. It’s something that you need to worry more about during the summer, where we’re more prone to extended dry spells. In order to make it more environmentally friendly, use rainwater collected in a water butt or grey water (such as washing-up or bath water) where you can.
May is your last chance to sow new grass until autumn. The same goes for re-seeding any bare patches you might find. Prepare the ground first by going over it with a fork, weeding, levelling and lightly firming it. Once you’ve sown your new grass, avoid walking on or mowing it until it hits around 5-8cm in height. Even at that point, it should only be a light trim at the highest setting. New lawns need regular watering if it’s not seeing much rain, just until it’s well established, but be careful not to over water. Aim for every 7 to 10 days, or less in damp weather.