Thatch is the build-up of moss, dead organic matter, and sideways growing grassroots. This creates an unhealthy blanket at the base of the plant which will choke the grass and stop sufficient moisture and nutrients to the soil. Scarifying your lawn will mechanically remove this material letting your lawn breathe and encourage new growth and a stronger lawn. Lawn Control doesn’t recommend hard scarification in the springtime as this could damage the grass as it emerges from winter. The optimum time to carry out heavy scarification is the late summer/early autumn.
This is when the soil becomes compressed which will restrict the passage of oxygen to the grass plants’ root zone. Oxygen is very important as it allows the natural microbes to flourish and keep the soil healthy. Compaction also limits the lawn’s ability to drain away surface water and can affect root growth. Aeration is the answer! Using a professional turf aerator will drive tines into the upper soil surface area of the lawn creating fissures for the ingress of air, moisture, and nutrients to where it is most needed, stimulating young root growth and healthy soil environment.
The reason we Aerate lawns is to break up compacted soil and encourage strong healthy growth within the grass plant. This can be achieved by a professional turf aerator that drives tines into the upper soil surface area of the lawn making holes and creating fissures for the ingress of oxygen, moisture and nutrients to where it is most needed, stimulating young root growth and encouraging a healthy soil environment. The results speak for themselves.
These furious workers tend to make themselves known as the summer progresses and the soil dries. If left unchecked their hills can grow rather swiftly and make mowing a bumpy affair. The best weapon is vigilance. Once you begin to notice small hills appearing to take a stiff broom and knock them down, this will keep the disruption to your mower at bay for the relatively short period of time the ants are active. If your lawn has a legacy of ant hills from summers past then they may need cutting from the lawn with a spade and the area reseeding.
There are several fungal diseases that affect turf. Generally in lawns, we only have to wrestle with two or three. Two of the common culprits are Fusarium Patch and Red Thread disease. Fusarium is the one that is most likely to leave lasting damage to your lawn. It produces notable yellow/brown patches which can have a white or pink fluffy mould around the edges and is capable of killing the grass. Fusarium will become a problem when the conditions are favourable; a rise in temperature, damp and dewy mornings and lush young growth. Unfortunately, the only guaranteed way to control this is with the application of a professional fungicide. Red Thread disease is identifiable from thin red/pink needles shooting from the side of the leaf blade. The grass plant also can take on a pinkish tinge and you’ll be able to see a pink candyfloss like growth; this is the fruiting body of the fungus. These symptoms are usually brought on by a lack of nutrients in the soil so an application of a balance turf fertiliser should clear it in most cases. Once the disease has passed it can leave the turf looking bleached in colour and in a strong period of growth this should disappear after a couple of weeks. Red Thread isn’t a terminal disease, more like us humans getting a heavy cold.
Although this sounds rather magical Fairy Rings can have a lasting and damaging effect on the soil in your lawn. There are three grades of fairy Rings and they are caused by organic matter rotting down underneath the grass, usually wooded material. Grade 3 is noticeable for a ring in the lawn which is darker than the surrounding sward, generally, this grade is not damaging and can ‘blend in’ after an application of fertiliser. Grade 2 will begin with toadstools and fungus growing inside of the Grade 3 ring and Grade 1 is the browning and death of the grass, still in a ring shape. At this stage the soil will be contaminated with fungal spores making it unable to retain moisture, this is what will be causing the brown dead grass. There may be some merit in applying a penetrative wetting agent directly to the soil but this will only slow the inevitable die-back. The best course of action is to remove the affected and the surrounding soil, replacing it with new topsoil and seeding or turfing. Big job but worth to achieve a perfect lawn.