To include: for a high quality ornamental lawn and for a hard-wearing utility lawn: height of cut, frequency of cut, remove clippings or not; feeding, scarifying, aeration, top dressing, edging, weed control, control of named pests and diseases. Tasks should relate to a 12-month maintenance programme.
Describe the annual maintenance programme for quality ornamental and for hard wearing utility lawns.
Mowing as required; Feeding, high Nitrogen spring & summer; after August high Phosphorus; Irrigation as required; Edging as required; Autumn renovations, scarification, spiking, repairs (humps, hollows, patches, damaged edges); Top dressing, over seeding. (This is a programme for a quality lawn. For hard wearing, less attention is given to this).
Seasonal guide to mowing: March – top with blade set higher than summer height; April – increase frequency according to weather; May-August – adjust to summer height & frequency; August-September – reduce frequency as growth rate slows; Late September – adjust height to Autumn height; October-February – occasional topping during milder weather.
Cut: Height of cut adjusted as needed by season and weather; Frequency of mowing as required; Right conditions, dry / switch off dew; Removal of mowing and composting; Boxing off clippings (benefits & limitations); Allowing clippings to “fly” (+ and -).
How to Mow: Plan the direction; Mow when dry; Scatter worm casts before mowing; Rake before to lift unwanted growth; Move steadily forward; Always mow at right-angles Create stripes:
Many homeowners mistakenly cut their lawns once a week. Grass should be cut when it needs cutting, rather than mowing on an artificially imposed schedule; Decades of field research and experience have demonstrated that mowing frequency should generally be stepped up to once every five to six days;
Grass Recycling trades off mowing more frequently with actually spending less time and energy on lawn care. For example, by grass recycling, you are not stopping every five-ten minutes to empty the mower bag, putting clippings into a bag or container, and dragging heavy clippings to the curb. In fact, grass recycling typically saves 40 percent of the time traditionally spent on lawn chores.
Mowing problems: Ribbing – narrow, parallel strip caused by cylinder blade at low speed & low number of blades = few cuts; Washboard effect – irregular waves or corrugations caused by grass cut always in same direction; Lacerated & uneven cutting – caused by blunt & incorrectly set blades; Scalping – caused by surface irregularities.
Scarification to remove Thatch: Thatch: miscellaneous debris lying between the roots and foliage of grass; Reduces surface evaporation; Gives springy resilience; Protects against wear; Can impede water / fertiliser penetration; Encourage diseases (fungal).
Scarifying: Removing Thatch – autumn work, remove & re-seed; Preventing Thatch; Raking; Improving surface drainage & aeration; Reduce creeping lawn weeds; Reduce moss.
Aerating: Compaction: Localised; Reduced passage of air & build up of CO2; Reduce passage of water & drainage; Aeration improves surface drainage; Improves root activity, reduces moss; Alteration of soil texture by top dressing; When to aerate: Spring/summer: spike localised compaction; September: deeper, general & hollow-tines; Winter: localised to disperse standing water. Smaller lawn areas can be manually aerated using a form inserted into the soil. Insert tines to approximately four inches and push down – or rock back and forth a bit – loosening the soil, and then pull out. Repeat this process every 10cm until the entire lawn area is covered; For larger areas machine spikers are available “Big Willy” fish tail, solid or hollow tines available.
SOLID TINE AERATION
HOLLOW TINE AERATION
LAWN TOP DRESSING
Identify differences between the maintenance procedures for utility and fine turf.
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