Hairdresser to the…Grass!

Over recent years I have been less diligent about certain maintenance routines on the two small lawns to the front of the house. These have always been referred to as the lawns – the square lawn and the round lawn – while, elsewhere in the garden we simply have grass, that is not maintained to the same standard as the lawns, simply cut and kept tidy.

The lawns have an annual spring treatment of one of those multi-purpose mixed lawn chemicals to see off the moss which has accumulated over the winter, to kill weeds and to feed the grass. It gives the lawns a good start to the year; I like to have them looking well and have always used a cylinder mower on them to give that close-cut and striped effect. I got a new mower two years ago, a slightly larger sized version of the same model, which made the work quicker but also left me as a loss of the use of an accessory I had always used with the older and smaller model – a scarifying cartridge which could be slipped in to replace the cutting blades. The old scarifying cartridge is too small for the new machine and I haven’t sought one to suit yet – and after last week’s work on the lawns I think I might do this soon!

The lawns to the front of the house: The round lawn looking into the square lawn

The square lawn looking well with its stripes.

Scarifying with a machine is easy work; the machine does the work and the operator has simply to guide it about and collect the debris afterwards. Scarifying involves removing the dead moss and thatch from a lawn so as to give the grass better growing conditions. When a machine is not available one has to return to old manual methods. I used have what was called a “spring-tined rake”, a rake with strong narrow wire tines which could pull through the grass with relative ease and pull out all the old and dead material. Nowadays, I use a Wolf tool attachment which has a series of rather vicious sharp curved blades to take out the debris. It is not hard work but takes time as each area must be raked again and again and again to do a reasonably good job.

The tool for the job – pulled through the grass innumerable times to remove dead material
Slow progress across the round lawn
Raked and collected to be added to the compost bins.
The shadows on the square lawn explains why moss thrives in this area.

The job is done, the debris is gone, the moss is banished. One lawn, the square lawn, is looking a little the worse for wear but not terribly so and, with a little rain, will recover – we are not inclined to use water on our lawns as we depend on our own well and are conscious of not wasting water and of not running the risk of levels running low in autumn.

All this raking, scarifying, raking made me think I was like a hairdresser such was the attention I was giving the lawns but I hope it will prove worthwhile. I think it is time I searched out a suitable attachment for my lawnmower and make the job easier next year. Hairdressing was never my ambition in life!

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