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Maintaining the lawn throughout the year

As with most gardening tasks, the timing depends upon the weather in a particular year and your location, even within the United Kingdom the climate and weather conditions vary greatly both North to South and East to West. The calendar laid out below is a general guide for an 'average year' in an 'average British garden' - so obviously it does not apply anywhere (!!!) but it does lay out the jobs you need to think about as the year progresses, you will need to use your own judgement of the local climate and weather to decide when actually to undertake any work on the lawn.


January

  • Keep off the lawn if it is frozen or waterlogged.
  • Service the lawnmower if not already done, this should avoid the rush in Spring.

February

  • Keep off the lawn if it frozen or waterlogged.
  • If the weather is suitable, repair lawn edges.

March

  • If you plan to lay or sow a new lawn in Spring, prepare the ground if not already done - see our seed or turf pages for more information.
  • If laying a new turf lawn, select and order the turf.
  • Re-seed worn areas in established lawns, level depressions and humps.
  • If the grass in an established lawn is actively growing, apply fertilisers, weed-killers and moss-killers - using a combined proprietary mixture will save effort.
  • Lightly scarify an established lawn with a spring-tined rake to remove layers of dead grass (thatch).
  • If the weather is suitable and the grass is 8 cm (3 inches) high, mow the lawn with the lawnmower on a high setting. Make sure you remove all the grass cuttings.
  • Repair lawn edges if not done in February.
  • Providing that the ground is not waterlogged, improve drainage if necessary - either use a spiker with hollow tines or garden fork and then brush in the holes a mixture of 50%/50% sharp sand and sieved compost or top soil.

April

  • Sow grass seed or lay turf for a Spring new lawn. Lay the turves as soon as they arrive on a weed free bed.
  • Mow an established lawn fortnightly or more often if necessary and the weather suitable - keep the lawnmower blades to a medium height. Avoid lawns, or sections of a lawn where there are naturalised bulbs.
  • If not already done, apply spring fertilisers, weed-killers and moss-killers to established lawns - using a proprietary mixture will save effort.
  • If you fed the lawn in March, check for any remaining weeds and moss in the lawn and treat as appropriate.
  • Scarify lightly with a spring-tined rake if not already done.
  • Trim lawn edges if required.
  • Level humps and fill in depressions in the lawn.

May

  • Scarily lightly with a spring-tined rake.
  • Continue regular mowing of established lawns, adjusting the blade height down with each successive cut.
  • Start to cut lawns with naturalised bulbs. The grass may be long and the first cut should be high, if necessary use a strimmer to get the height down to a height suitable for the lawnmower.
  • Roll and mow new seeded lawns when the grass is about 5 cm (2 in) high.
  • Water new lawns at least once a week (unless it rains) - do the watering in the evening so that it won't evaporate off too quick - make sure the lawn is given a thorough soaking especially if turves.
  • Use a stick touch weed-killer to treat any large weeds remaining in the lawn or dig out by hand.

June

  • Continue mowing both new and established lawns; in dry weather, increase the height of the blades.
  • Water new lawns in periods of draught - do the watering in the evening so that it won't evaporate off - make sure the lawn is given a thorough soaking.
  • Scarify lightly, except during drought.
  • Control weeds as necessary.
  • Apply a nitrogenous fertiliser feed to the lawn if the grass looks yellow.

July

  • Continue mowing both new and established lawns; in dry weather, increase the height of the blades.
  • Water new lawns in periods of draught - do the watering in the evening so that it won't evaporate off - make sure the lawn is given a thorough soaking.
  • Scarify lightly, except during drought.
  • Control weeds/pests using weed-killers, fungicides or ant-powder as necessary.

August

  • Continue mowing both new and established lawns; in dry weather, increase the height of the blades.
  • Water new lawns in periods of draught - do the watering in the evening so that it will soak down rather than evaporate off - make sure the lawn is given a thorough soaking.
  • Scarify lightly, except during drought.
  • Control weeds/pests using weed-killers, fungicides or ant-powder as necessary.
  • If you are planning to lay a new lawn this autumn, prepare the site, clear weeds and apply a general fertiliser. Grass seed lawns should be sown in September, while new turf should be laid in October.
  • Keep a watch for areas in an established lawn that will require attention in the autumn - bumps, depressions, thinning grass etc.

September

  • Continue mowing both new and established lawns, raise the height of the cut as the grass growth begins to slow.
  • Scarify vigorously using a spring-tined rake or powered scarifier (hire one if necessary) to remove dead moss and grass from an established lawn.
  • Spike the soil if the grass looks unhealthy, the soil is compacted or the area is known to be subject to waterlogging, and brush in a mixture of 50%/50% sharp sand and sieved compost or top soil.
  • Apply an autumn fertiliser if the grass has been poor this Summer.
  • Sow grass seed for a new lawn on a weed free prepared bed. Also sow grass seed where there are bare patches in an established lawn.
  • If planning to lay a turf lawn in October, keep the area clean of weeds.

October

  • Continue to mow established and Spring laid lawns, reduce the frequency of mowing and raise the height of the cut as the weather gets colder.
  • Vigorously scarify established lawns, if not already done.
  • Improve lawn drainage if necessary, spike the soil and brush in a mixture of 50%/50% sharp sand and sieved compost or top soil.
  • Remove fallen leaves from the lawn.
  • Repair lawn edges, if necessary.
  • Roll and mow new Autumn seeded lawns when the grass is about 5 cm (2 inch) high.
  • If laying a new turf lawn, select and order the turf. Lay the turves as soon as they arrive on to a weed free bed.

November

  • Make the final cut of the lawn when the grass has stopped growing.
  • Clean the lawnmower and arrange for it to be serviced.
  • Clean and check the other lawn care tools. If they need sharpening, make arrangements. If they need replacement, add them to your Christmas list.
  • Run an oily cloth over the tools before you put them away for winter to add some protection.

December

  • Prepare any area intended for a new lawn in the Spring.
  • If you have not yet serviced the lawnmower, make arrangements - doing it now will save you being caught up in the rash of other gardeners who leave it to the Spring.
  • Keep off the grass if it is frozen or waterlogged.
  • Enjoy Christmas and the New Year.

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