The first cut of the year: Preparing your lawn
As Spring approaches at the end of a long and chilly winter, it’s time to start thinking about getting your lawn ready and dusting off your lawn mower for the first cut of the year. Your lawn has spent a few months exposed to the elements and being starved of sunlight, so it’s important to take the necessary precautions to ensure that it will stay healthy and vibrant through the spring and summer months. From mowing and trimming to aerating and fertilising, there are several tasks you need to do to make sure your lawn is in tip-top shape. Taking the time to carefully prepare your lawn now can help guarantee a picturesque garden throughout the year.
The end of March or beginning of April is usually a good rule of thumb to follow when it comes to the first cut of the year, but there are a couple of things to look out for. Firstly, the ground should be firm and secondly you should see signs of new growth appearing. Pick a day where it’s dry and windy; that way the ground is guaranteed to be at its firmest. You need to be careful with the first cut of the year. It’s not just the first, but probably the most important cut too. An important thing to keep in mind is not to go too low. Going too short too early increases the changes of your grass going yellow. You can go lower as the season progresses, but for this first one you want to put your mower on the highest setting. That way, you’re only taking the top of the grass off.
Aeration is a crucial part of keeping your lawn looking great. Not only does it improve the appearance of grass, but it also helps to ensure that it gets the water, nutrients, and oxygen it needs to stay healthy. Aeration is a simple process that involves using a garden fork or an aerator to poke small holes in the soil. This allows air and water to easily reach the roots of your grass, improving its health and growth. It’s something that should really be done in the winter, but it can be done in early spring if needs be.
Another thing to do in Spring is scarifying your lawn, ideally before top dressing and seeding.It helps to improve the quality of your grass and increase the effectiveness of any other maintenance procedures. It does this by basically getting rid of anything that would hinder good, dense grass growth. Organic matter like thatch or moss builds up over time and cause problems, so it removes them from around the base of the grass. You can either use a lawn scarifier or do it manually using a rake.
It's not unusual to find that parts of your lawn have died, but these patches can easily be brought back to life. Your first option is to cut back the dead patch back to bare soil, and then roll on new turf in its place. Alternatively, you have the option of removing the dead grass, raking to expose and loosen the soil, and then planting new grass seed. Whatever you choose to do, you want to find grass that matches your existing lawn.