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Lawncare Advice

Below you will find some general advice for looking after your lawn to help maintain a healthy and good looking lawn all year round.

By spending a bit of time on maintenance and preparation at the start of the year, you will give your lawn the best chance of withstanding any bad conditions, such as lack of rain etc throughout the year.


If we have an extremely wet winter, the water table will be very high in most places. This means that your lawn will have plenty of moisture to draw upon and so when the weather warms up, your grass is likely to grow at quite a rate.

Stay off your lawn if it is frozen, as you can "injure" the grass and cause it to die or be damaged. If it is safe to walk on keep it clear of leaves and other debris as much as possible.

Mowing your lawn

Mowing should begin as the weather warms up, and in turn warms up the soil which will increase grass growth. Never cut the grass during frosty or overly wet weather.

The first cut of the year should be a fairly high cut, so adjust the height of the blade on your mower if you have a model that allows for this. Continue to mow every week gradually reducing the height of the blade and therefore giving the grass a shorter cut.

The frequency of mowing and height of cut will depend on the quality and condition of your lawn, the time of year and weather conditions.

A cut height of 1 - 2.5cm during the summer is fine for a normal family garden lawn which is mown once a week. A higher quality, well managed turf can be mown to 0.5cm when mown every two to three days.

The type of lawn mower that you choose depends on your type of lawn / garden and the finish that you require. Why not check our lawnmower buyers guides to help select which is the best for you?


In spring once the weather becomes warmer, the grass will start to grow. At this point you should perform some routine lawn maintenance. This is especially important if following a very dry summer, which can make the ground too hard to perform the neccessary autumn maintenance.

Spring is a good time to carry out lawn aeration where you have areas that have become compacted. See the section on lawn aeration below.

Feeding every year in late March to April will improve the grass vitality, which will help guard against weeds and moss that will otherwise attack weaker grass. Use a proprietary spring / summer lawn fertiliser - if it does not rain within three days of applying, water in well.


If your grass is lacking a bit of life during May to August, use a proprietary spring / summer lawn fertiliser. Do not apply any of this type of fertilisers after August as summer feeds have too much nitrogen for autumn use.

Watering your lawn

Most domestic lawn grass that would be found in the UK is reasonably able to tolerate dry and drought type conditions. However prolonged drought may make the grass become limp and then dry and brown.

When the grass needs watering, do so in the cooler evening to lessen the amount of water that would be lost due to evaporation in the sun. A sprinkler running for half an hour once a week should be enough for most lawns during periods without rain. Watering little and often can encourage shallow rooting which is not good for the long term health of the lawn.

Autumn lawn maintenance

Autumn is an ideal time to examine the lawn for summer wear and tear, and carrying out work in September will allow the grass to respond to treatment before soil temperatures fall too low.

Lawn Aerating

If your lawn has become somewhat compacted, it is a good idea to aerate it to help avoid drought in the summer, and water logging in the wetter months. For most lawns it is enough to aerate every couple of years. For a well used lawn you may need to pay special attention to areas that get the most wear, such as where the kids play football for example.

If you only need to aerate a small area, this can be done by spiking with a normal garden fork, spacing holes 10-15cm apart.

On clay based soils or soils that become waterlogged use a hollow tine aerator. This type of aerator extracts actual plugs of soil, making larger holes that will aerate much more effectively. After using a hollow tine aerator clear up the plugs of soil and then top dress with a sand mixture to aid air and water penetration.

Lawn Scarifying

Dead grass stems and moss will build up on lawns between the roots and grass becoming what is known as Thatch.

Regular lawn raking can help, but if a Thatch builds up it can prevent effective water and fertiliser penetration.

To remove greater Thatch build up you will need to rake fairly forcefully with a spring tine lawn rake - this raking and removal of Thatch is what is known as scarifying.

Your lawn can be damaged if scarified too harshly, so it must be done with care. It is best not scarify in the spring, only perform a light raking at the start of the gardening season.

Of course for larger lawns it is probably best to go for a powered scarifier. There are many types available now including electric scarifiers, petrol scarifiers and even attachments for lawnmowers. These powered scarifiers take that hard work out of removing the Thatch, and also are normally set so that you can't damage the lawn whilst using them.

Dealing with Weeds

As with most things prevention is better than cure, so it is always best to try and stop weeds developing in your lawn rather than having to try and get rid of them once they have established.

Try and research the weeds that are present in your lawn, knowing their individual traits and the conditions they flourish in will help with permanent exclusion.

If you are able to identify the weeds early, swift removal can help avoid a larger and longer term weed problem.

General weed prevention can be as simple as following a routine maintenance plan. If you keep your lawn in a good condition this will help the lawn become more resistant to weeds.

Weeding by hand

You can use a regular garden hand fork to remove scattered weeds such as dandelions. You literaly dig out the weed, taking care the ensure the roots are taken out, and then firm any soil that has been loosened. It is obviously only really practical to do this when the soil is moist, as it is nearly impossible to dig into a lawn that has been baked hard by the sun.

Chemical lawn weedkillers may be required if you have a large amount of established weeds, or weeds which creep such as clover.

Chemical Weedkillers

When purchasing a chemical lawn weedkiller, please read the packaging carefully to ensure that it will work on the weeds that you have in your lawn. Some weeds are resistant to certain types of chemical, but not others - this is why some general lawn weedkillers have more than one active ingredient.

Most common lawn weeds are killed very effectively by chemical weedkiller. Most will be killed after the first application, but there are some that require repeated treatments - check the weedkiller instructions to determine when it is safe to retreat the areas.

Also bear in mind the use of the lawn when purchasing a chemical weedkiller. Pay special attention to the amount of time that it takes before children or pets are allowed safely back on the lawn. Also check to see if any of your shrubs or flowers would be affected if they came into contact with the weedkiller.

Applying Weedkiller

Chemical lawn weedkillers are usually applied as water diluted solutions using a low pressure spraying device or even a simple watering can with a rose or dribble bar. Some granular lawn fertilisers also contain weedkiller (weed and feed type products).

Chemical lawn weedkillers are best used in spring or early summer when growth is strongest. It is best to apply the weedkiller in cooler and less windy conditions when there is less chance of getting any onto your garden shrubs and flowers.

Chemical Resistant weeds

The only way to deal with weeds that are resistant to chemical products is to completely dig them out in the autumn, then re turf or re seed the affected area.

Moss in your lawn

To remove moss from your lawn, use lawn sand or a proprietary moss killer in autumn or early spring. You can gently rake out the dead moss, aerate if the area if it is water logged poorly drained, then apply an autumn or spring fertiliser.

Moss will flourish in areas where the lawn does not, such as very shaded spots, or areas that are excessively damp due to poor drainage.