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Garden maintenance and Lawn care

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When it comes to small gardens, limited space doesn’t mean sacrificing style and comfort. In fact, with less ground to cover, a small garden can offer the ideal opportunity to pull off a bold design, or simply just an excuse to try something new. From garden mirrors and wall-mounted planters, optical illusions and budget-friendly tips—find out how you can make the most of your outdoors with this handy guide from Wayfair UK.
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3 Great tips for keeping your soil in top shape


Many people who are new to gardening think that it just involves heading outside with a trowel and some seeds, planting them, then adding water until something sprouts from the ground. They are right to an extent, but many people do not realise the intricacies involved in tending to a garden that will thrive all year round.
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In the not too distant past, artificial grass was usually confined to sports pitches and greengrocers’ windows. Over the last decade or so though, a lot has changed. As manufacturing techniques improve, artificial grass is starting to look more and more like the real thing. The result is that the much maligned fake stuff is increasingly starting to find its way into our back gardens as an alternative to real turf.

 

Arguably it’s not just increased realism that is fuelling this uptake. The increasingly busy lifestyle of families with two working parents has created a market for convenience that has seen the low maintenance artificial grass lawn go from strength to strength.

 

Can it ever replace the real thing, however? Well, whilst that question may ultimately come down to tast, let's take a quick look at the pros and cons of both to get an idea of what each can offer.

 

 

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Autumn and spring are the best times of year to remove moss, thatch and dead organic matter from the surface of your lawn.  This is
called scarification or scarifying and is an essential part of cultured turf or lawn management.  The aim of scarifying is to remove these organic matters from your lawn surface giving the grasses in your lawn more space thus letting in air and encouraging new growth.
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This winter in Cornwall and all across the UK it has been quite mild and very wet.  Also if your lawn is shaded and the soil is quite compacted resulting in poor drainage then these areas are likely to have moss in them. These conditions are ideal conditions for moss.  There are around 30 species of moss that you might find in your lawn and they are mostly treated in the same way. 
February is an ideal time to start a moss treatment schedule if possible because as soon as it is spring the moss will start releasing spores continuing its life cycle.
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  What time of the year is it best to scarify your lawn is a very important question and the answer is basically when the lawn is actively growing and able to recover from the process.  The two main  seasons in the year when this is spring and autumn.  
Scarifying is a process that removes large quantities of dead organic matter, usually in the form of
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grass clippings and dead moss and even the most healthiest of lawn benefit from being scarified. This organic matter will very quickly form a dense layer on the surface of the soil, and is known as thatch (please read my other article regarding lawn thatch).  The most effective way to dethatch a lawn is with a scarifier. It uses a series of revolving vertical knives that cut and pull through the thatch and moss and bring it to the surface of the lawn. The debris is then raked away for disposal.  It is suprising how much can be removed.  Once the lawn has been scarifyed it is advisable to over seed the lawn.

Below is a guide of the best time of year to scarify your lawn:

 
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   Turf or sod (as they are sometimes called) is an excellent and quick way to transform your untidy worn out lawn.  Only a few tools are required and turf can be laid all year round.  However frosty conditions and extended periods of hot, dry weather should be avoided.  Two factor to achieve a lush healthy green lawn are excellent quality healthy turf and good soil preparation.
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                     Measure area for turf

   Turf can cost anywhere from £2.50 to £5 a roll so it is important to calculate the correct amount you require.  Here is a link to a turf calculator to help you work out how much you require.  Once you have worked the area out add between 3 - 5% on to make up for any off-cuts.

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   A definition of a weed is a plant that is growing where it is not wanted, it can have strong and healthy growth, and is able to overgrow valued plants by overcrowding, thus depleting soil nutrients and moisture that would otherwise be available to preferred plants. Most lawns sufferer from lawn weeds especially if they don't use any sort of weed control.  But in order to control weeds in your lawn you need to be able to identify them as there is no one fix for all weeds, so I have listed some of the most common weeds you might find in your lawn below with a description of how to control them.
 
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     What is thatch?

  Thatch is an organic layer in your lawn consisting of tight intermingled dead, dying and living roots, stems and leaves which is between the layer of grown grass and the soil below.  Thatch is not unusual. It is a normal part of growing grasses and is not a problem unless it gets to thick. You are more likely to have high amounts of thatch on a high maintenance lawn with lots of traffic.
Not all grasses in lawns produce thatch for example rye grass, though it is not one of the finest grasses but it is known for being hard wearing and it does not produce thatch.  A typical luxury lawn grass that will not contain any rye grass will be more susceptible to thatch and need scarifying but a hard wearing type lawn grass will contain rye grass with i high content and will be less likely to need scarifying.
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Correct mowing techniques is a vital part of having a healthy lush green lawn and it is free. Grass that is 2" long has quite a bigger leaf area. Give the grass lots of sunshine and the grass will produce plenty of food making the lawn green and healthy. Restrict the amount of sun going into the plant by cutting the lawn to short and this will result in less food created by the plant.

When the amount of sun is reduced whether by shade or 'close' mowing, the plants protection systems kick in. It starts growing leaves faster so that it can replace the leaf you cut off or make up for being in the shade. This means the closer you mow the faster the grass grows!

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