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Why do we need feed lawns?

Why do we need feed lawns?

one man farmer is fertilizing the lawn soil. male hand of worker, Fertilizer For Lawns in springtime for the perfect lawn. Organic lawn fertilizer in man's hand on garden background.

To fully understand why it is necessary to feed a lawn, and when you should, it is helpful to know a little about grasses asplants. All plants use their leaves in the food assimilationprocess which then keeps them healthy most of the time andare able to go through life without too much help or hindrancefrom human beings.

The lawn in the image, never gets fed - and rarely watered! It is subjected to the public walking over it week in week out!

If you strip the leaves off a perennial plant, they will normally re grow but a little bit smaller and weaker. If you keep taking the leaves off, the plant will eventually weaken and die. No matter how good the soil below is, if the plant cannot turn soil chemicals into the food that it requires, it will starve.

Leaves are responsible for assimilation of soil chemicals into life-giving nutrients to feed the whole plant. The stem, roots, flower buds and new leaves; all are dependent upon those life-supporting leaves.

Feeding your lawn is like giving it a much-needed health boost, ensuring it not only survives but thrives throughout the year. In the UK, with its unique climate, taking care of your lawn becomes an essential part of gardening that can't be overlooked.

To start with, feeding your lawn provides it with essential nutrients that might be missing from the soil. Just like we humans take vitamins to supplement our diets, lawns need their dose of nutrition too. Fertilizers are packed with nitrogen for lush green growth, phosphorus for strong root development, and potassium for overall health, helping your lawn to resist drought, disease, and other stresses.

The weather in the UK can be particularly challenging, with cold, wet winters and variable summers. During spring, feeding your lawn kick-starts its growth, giving it the energy it needs to come back strong after the winter dormancy. Then, as we move into summer, additional feeding can help it withstand the wear and tear of summer activities, as well as the potential stress from heat and limited rainfall.

Not to be forgotten, the autumn feed is crucial. This prepares your lawn for the cold months ahead, strengthening its roots and ensuring it has a robust base to survive the winter. Without this vital nourishment, your lawn could enter spring in a weakened state, struggling to grow and more susceptible to disease and pests.

But it's not just about survival. A well-fed lawn is a beautiful lawn. It enhances your garden's appearance, creating a vibrant and inviting outdoor space for you and your family to enjoy. It also benefits the environment by improving air quality, supporting wildlife, and helping to prevent soil erosion.

Feeding your lawn is a simple yet impactful way to ensure it remains a lush, healthy, and beautiful part of your garden. With regular feeding, following the specific needs of each season, your lawn can become the envy of the neighbourhood, a testament to the love and care you pour into your garden.

A Lawn with Light Deprivation

Half of the lawn is yellowed and half is bright green. Grass before and after fertilization

As an analogy, if you place a sheet of black plastic over a patch of weeds, they will eventually die even the roots of stubborn weed plants such as nettles and ground elder. The sheet will stop the sunlight, which the leaves need to carry out their work of photosynthesis; they will firstly turn yellow before dying, along with the rest of the weed plant!

The lawn is made up of thousands of individual plants. It is not a single entity in itself! If you buy a 'turf' you are purchasing a patch of lawn which consist of several thousand plants!

When grasses are used in the lawn, they suffer all manner of abuse from gardeners, who would not dream of treating other plants in the same way! For instance, we do not prune our shrubs every week, nor cut down our perennials or annuals on a regular basis. But, we need to do this with our lawns (grass plants) to keep them tidy, accessible and under control. We do this without too much thought as to what we are doing to them as plants!

This regular pruning of grasses in the lawn, results in both the food reserves and food-making properties of the foliage being removed from the plants your lawn grasses!

Imagine stepping out into a garden where the lawn stretches out like a lush green carpet, vibrant and full of life. Under ideal conditions, grass blades stand tall and proud, each one a brilliant shade of green that seems to glow under the sun's gentle caress. The texture of such a lawn is soft yet resilient, bouncing back even after the playful romps of children or pets. Here, the soil beneath is a rich, dark earth, teeming with beneficial microorganisms, its moisture level perfectly balanced to support robust root growth. Insects buzz quietly, contributing to a thriving ecosystem, while birds might flit down occasionally, drawn by the abundance. This is the portrait of a lawn at its best, a testament to the harmony between nature and careful tending.

However, when light becomes scarce, this vivid picture begins to fade. Lawns suffering from light deprivation undergo significant changes, both in appearance and health. Initially, the once vibrant green blades start to pale, their color dulling to a yellowish or even light green hue as they struggle for sunlight. The grass itself becomes sparser, with patches of bare soil breaking through where light cannot reach sufficiently. This soil, too, suffers, becoming compacted and less hospitable to the bustling life it once supported.

The texture of the lawn changes; the grass, deprived of sunlight, grows taller in desperation, reaching for any available light but in doing so, becomes thin and weak. It lacks the resilience and vigour of a well-lit lawn, easily succumbing to wear and tear. The ecosystem feels the impact as well. Beneficial insects that rely on the plants for food and habitat diminish, affecting the local biodiversity. Similarly, the birds and wildlife that once visited may find the area less attractive, further disrupting the garden's natural balance.

Underneath, in the unseen world of the soil, microorganisms that play a critical role in nutrient cycling and supporting plant health struggle without adequate sunlight. Their activity decreases, affecting the soil's fertility and structure, and making it harder for grass to absorb essential nutrients.

But all is not lost. Even a lawn suffering from light deprivation can be revitalized with thoughtful interventions. Consider pruning or thinning out trees and shrubs that cast shadows, allowing more light to penetrate. For areas where sunlight remains scarce, transitioning to shade-tolerant grass varieties can make a world of difference. These species are specially adapted to thrive with less light, ensuring your lawn remains verdant and full.

Adopting a tailored care approach also plays a crucial role in recovery. Adjusting watering practices to prevent overwatering in shaded areas, which receive less evaporation, and aerating the soil to improve its structure and facilitate better root growth are effective strategies. Additionally, a careful selection of fertilizers can help support your lawn's health, giving it the nutrients it needs to overcome the challenges of light deprivation.

Finally, introducing ground cover plants that thrive in shade can fill gaps and add diversity to the ecosystem, encouraging wildlife to return and restoring the balance. With these steps, a lawn can recover from light deprivation, emerging healthier and more resilient, ready once again to be the centerpiece of a vibrant garden ecosystem. Through understanding and adapting to the challenges of light and shade, you can ensure your lawn remains a lush, welcoming haven for all who visit.

Allow the Grass to grow Longer

Grass for background take pic by phone

It is a fact that if you allow your grass to grow a little longer even with a regular trim it will normally stay greener, without too much additional help by way of fertilisers. This is because you are then leaving a good percentage of the foliage intact even if you have clipped its wings a little! It can carry its work albeit in a reduced manner! So now you will have grass that can take care of its feed requirements in a reasonably normal manner. It will reward you by staying greener even if not quite the artificial lush green of a fertilised lawns.

The Lush Debate: To Grow or Not to Grow Your Lawn Long

In the heart of every UK garden, the lawn stands as a centrepiece, a lush canvas that sets the stage for the rest of the garden. The traditional, neatly trimmed green carpet has long been the gold standard. But what if we allowed our lawns to break free from the clippers' constraints and grow longer? There's a verdant world of benefits and considerations to explore, from the health of your lawn and local ecosystem to the aesthetics of your neighbourhood and the practical implications for your gardening routine.

Advantages of a Longer Lawn

1. Environmental Haven: Allowing grass to grow longer creates a microhabitat for many beneficial insects and wildlife. Longer blades provide shelter for pollinators like bees and butterflies, crucial players in the health of our gardens and wider agricultural systems. Additionally, it supports a diverse range of microorganisms essential for a healthy soil ecosystem.

2. Water Conservation: Longer grass retains moisture better than its closely-cropped counterpart. The taller blades shade the soil and reduce evaporation, meaning your lawn requires less watering. This is not only a win for the environment but also for your water bill, especially during the warmer months.

3. Aesthetic and Biodiversity Boost: There's something genuinely enchanting about a longer, more natural lawn. It brings a sense of wild beauty to your garden, with different grasses and plants co-existing. This diversity can make your garden a more interesting and visually appealing space.

4. Reduced Maintenance: Imagine reclaiming the hours spent behind the lawnmower. Less frequent mowing means more time to enjoy your garden or tend to other projects. Plus, you'll save on petrol or electricity for your lawnmower, reducing both costs and emissions.

Disadvantages of a Longer Lawn

1. Neighbourhood Norms: Depending on your area, a longer lawn might buck the trend of manicured gardens, potentially clashing with local aesthetics or even HOA regulations. It's worth considering how your lawn fits into the broader community fabric.

2. Potential for Pests: While a diverse lawn supports beneficial wildlife, it can also become a haven for pests. Regular checks and balances are necessary to ensure that it doesn't become a breeding ground for unwanted guests.

3. Managing Growth: There's a fine line between lushly long and unruly. Without regular maintenance, a lawn can quickly cross into the latter, requiring more substantial intervention to restore order and health.

4. Varied Grass Health: Some grass species thrive when kept short and might struggle if allowed to grow too tall. Ensuring your lawn remains healthy means selecting the right type of grass that can adapt well to longer lengths.

Nurturing a Longer Lawn: Tips for Success

1. Choose the Right Grass: Opt for species known for their resilience and ability to grow longer, such as fescues or ryegrass, which are well-suited to the UK climate.

2. Strategic Mowing: When you do mow, raise the cutting height of your mower. This encourages stronger roots and helps maintain an optimal length where the grass is healthy but not overly long.

3. Water Wisely: Even though longer grass retains moisture better, during prolonged dry spells, it's still crucial to water deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth.

4. Balanced Nutrition: Apply a slow-release, organic fertiliser to nourish your lawn without the rapid growth spurts often induced by high-nitrogen feeds.

5. Regular Check-ups: Keep an eye on the health of your lawn, watching for signs of disease or pests. Prompt action can prevent minor issues from becoming major problems.

The decision to let your lawn grow longer is both a personal and ecological choice, balancing aesthetics, environmental benefits, and practical considerations. With thoughtful care, a longer lawn can be a beautiful, biodiverse, and sustainable addition to your garden, reflecting a commitment to nurturing not just your patch of earth, but the larger world beyond.


A Guide to Healthier Grass Plants

Nature background, green grass surface, landscape design, suitable for making green backdrop, lawn for football practice, fresh green lawn on the back, with hedgerow and bright colored shrubs.

A lawn allowed to grow in this way, will have a much healthier grasses than a lawn of artificially fed grasses with feed which has a high proportion of Nitrogen. The high Nitrogen level is necessary to compensate for the lack of foliage which is essential for normal health!

I would argue with no proof that allowing the grass plants to grow as normally as possible, will ultimately strengthens them as whole plants. One then has to ponder whether there is a need for supplementary feeding with a high Potash Fertiliser to help the roots get through the winter!

In my days as a public park manager, responsible for a few hundred acres of grass which varied from bowling greens through to housing estate verges, I never recall feeding any grasses other than the well-clipped sports areas. Financial cutbacks meant the end of autumn feed on the sports turf also, but I never saw any evidence of grasses dying through the winter, or even getting a better start to life in the spring!

Yes, lawns require special form of maintenance including aeration in some instances, and top-dressing also. But it is hard to justify the habitual feeding regime advocated as being essential. But then I am not in the chemicals industry!

Feeding Lawns|

The Ultimate Guide to Growing a Vibrant Grass Lawn in the UK

Creating a lush, healthy grass lawn is a rewarding project that enhances the beauty of your home and provides a refreshing natural space. In the UK, with its unique climate and soil conditions, selecting the right grass varieties and providing proper care are key to achieving a verdant lawn. Here’s your comprehensive guide to cultivating a stunning lawn that thrives throughout the year.

Understanding Soil and Climate

Firstly, assess the type of soil in your garden and the local climate. The UK generally has a temperate climate, but conditions can vary significantly, influencing which grass types will flourish. Most areas have clay, sandy, or loamy soil, each requiring different preparation and care.

  • Clay Soil: Retains moisture but can be compacted. Aerate regularly.
  • Sandy Soil: Drains well but may lack nutrients. Add organic matter to improve.
  • Loamy Soil: Ideal, with good drainage and nutrient content.

Choosing the Right Grass Varieties

For the UK climate, consider hardy grasses that can withstand wet winters and relatively mild summers. Some top choices include:

  • Perennial Ryegrass: Quick to establish and hard-wearing.
  • Fine Fescue: Ideal for shaded areas and low maintenance.
  • Kentucky Bluegrass: Offers a dense, lush lawn, though it requires more care.

Preparing the Ground

  1. Remove Weeds: Begin with a clean slate by eliminating all existing weeds, either manually or using an herbicide.
  2. Test the Soil: Check pH levels and nutrients to determine if any adjustments are needed (ideally, a pH between 6.0 and 7.0).
  3. Till and Amend the Soil: Loosen the soil and mix in organic compost to improve fertility and drainage.

Lawn Care Essentials

  • Watering: Establish new lawns with regular watering. Once established, aim for deeper, less frequent watering to encourage root growth.
  • Fertilization: Use a balanced fertilizer in spring and autumn. Consider slow-release formulas to feed your lawn gradually.
  • Pest and Weed Control: Implement preventive measures and treat infestations promptly with appropriate pesticides or natural alternatives.
  • Mowing Techniques: Keep your blades sharp and never cut more than a third of the grass height to reduce stress on the lawn.
  • Aeration: Perform annually to alleviate soil compaction and improve water and nutrient uptake.
  • Overseeding: Revitalize thin lawns by overseeding in early autumn or spring, choosing the right seed blend for your area.

Advanced Tips for a Lush Lawn

  • Morning Dew Magic: Water your lawn in the early morning to reduce evaporation and fungal diseases.
  • The Tea Test: Bury a small piece of biodegradable fabric in the soil. If pests consume it rapidly, it indicates healthy soil activity.
  • Grasscycling: Leave grass clippings on the lawn after mowing to return nutrients to the soil.

Common Mistakes and Solutions

  • Overwatering: Causes root rot and weakens the lawn. Solution: Allow the soil to dry slightly between watering.
  • Cutting Too Short: Exposes roots to the sun, stressing the grass. Solution: Adjust mower settings to leave grass taller.
  • Ignoring Soil Health: Poor soil leads to a struggling lawn. Solution: Test soil annually and amend as needed.

By following these guidelines, UK gardeners can cultivate beautiful, resilient lawns that stand the test of time and weather. Remember, patience and consistent care are your best tools in achieving that dream lawn. Happy gardening!