Lawn update – 21st May

It’s now 5 weeks since the last lawn update as the renovation work was just completed, so how is it going?

Here’s today’s picture:

Lawn on 21st May

Lawn on 21st May

Compared with the 15th April, showing a significantly positive contrast:

Lawn on 15thApril

Lawn on 15thApril

To finish off the renovation from the 14th April, the following day (the 15th) I then carried out a light forking (25mm – 70mm depth) of the remainder of the lawn – this just took 8 minutes to complete the bottom ‘half’. This was really a light jabbing of the fork into the soil using just my arms and not the typical slower forking with the use of your feet to work the fork into the soil – I just wanted a quick surface penetration and this technique worked fine, and saved a lot of time in the process.

A light brush over to work some of the sand into the holes (just 5.5 minutes to do this part). The aim was to disperse the sand a little bit more from the surface of the grass blades and prevent the lawn from being smothered. The iron in the fertiliser had slightly blackened some of the grass so I needed to give a further watering – this indicates the rate was slightly high for what was needed, but no particular harm done.

Well, during most of April and early May it was cold, dry and windy. The rainfall for April has been estimated by the Met Office as being as no more than 25% of what would be expected for that month in the East Midlands. That’s nature for you and you have to be prepared to work with it and be patient.

I’ve taken some regular photographs of the lawn to show how it has slowly developed: See the end of this article for the sequence of photographs, which sit in between the two already shown above.

My temperature readings were occasional, just to give an indication of what it was like and to partly explain why the grass seed has struggled to germinate and then become established.

  • 15th April: 1000 – Air temp = 9.3C; Soil temp = 8.8C
  • 15th April: 1300 – Air temp = 12.0C; Soil temp = 9.0C
  • 16th April: 0930 – Air temp = 11.3C; Soil temp = 8.3C
  • 17th April: 1100 – Air temp = 13.1C; Soil temp = 9.3C
  • 18th April: 0930 – Air temp = 6.0C; Soil temp = 6.1C
  • 22nd April: 1030 – Air temp = 11.8C; Soil temp = 10.5C
  • 22nd April: 1330 – Air temp = 14.1C; Soil temp = 13.6C
  • 30th April: 1200 – Air temp = 13.9C; Soil temp = 10.9C

On the 18th April, the lawn was topped at a height of 40mm, no box was put on so the clippings would be let fly and also I wouldn’t remove any grass seed. Any sand top-dressing still noticeable would also be ‘blasted’ into the base of the grass plant, away from the leaves giving a more even finish.

Some signs of seed germination were first noticed on the 30th April, but after two-weeks I would have hoped for a more rapid rate of germination and increased number of seeds germinating to provide better coverage, but the weather put paid to that.

Seeds germinating on 30th April

Seeds germinating on 30th April

Ideally, we’d be having soil temperatures of 10C+ on a consistent basis to help encourage seed germination, along with adequate rainfall. I did supplement the lack of rainfall with daily watering’s (about 5 minutes) with the sprinkler nozzle attached to the end of the hose pipe.

Only two light toppings of the lawn occurred in this period – after 18th April to early May, with the clippings let fly and very little removed as all were cut at 40mm height of cut.

An additional overseeding took place on 13th May as the thin and bare areas where the moss had been raked out were still looking decidedly thin.

Temperatures began rising over May, but not as high as normal, as well as rainfall beginning in week two.

  • 18th May: 1100 – Air temp = 13.1C; Soil temp = 13.6C
  • 21st May: 1300 – Air temp = 19.0C; Soil temp = 15.3C

Growth has really started to pick up over the last week (mid-May), with a noticeable increase in foliage around the rest of the garden as well.

With two mowings in half a week the lawn density should start to increase in the top part of the lawn, but this is an area I’ll keep my eye on to see if some additional overseeding or light fertiliser application is needed. Most of the lawn has good, 100%, ground cover as illustrated in the photograph below.

Good Ground Cover

Good Ground Cover

Unfortunately, as I’ve just mentioned, some of the top areas of the lawn are thinner than I would like and this is illustrated in the following photograph:

Thin Ground Cover

Thin Ground Cover

The grid used in the above two photographs is 0.5m x 0.5m divided into 100 even squares of 50mm. It is fairly easy to then work out an accurate percentage ground cover (or weed content, types of grasses etc.) for the sample of the lawn being investigated. I’d estimate at a quick glance that maybe 6% is thin/bare in the above photograph.

Progress of lawn from 18th April through to 18th May 2017:

Lawn on 18th April

Lawn on 18th April

Lawn on 22nd April

Lawn on 22nd April

Lawn on 29th April

Lawn on 29th April

Lawn on 30th April

Lawn on 30th April

Lawn on 2nd May

Lawn on 2nd May

Lawn on 8thMay

Lawn on 8th May

 

Lawn on 14th May

Lawn on 14th May

Lawn on 18th May

Lawn on 18th May

Chris Gray, 21st May 2017