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Lawn Issues & Tips

Is your lawn troubled with some of these common lawn issues?

At first glance, your lawn might appear healthy and in good condition, however, some of the following lawn issues could be affecting your lawn. We’ve identified the most common problems and how we can help tackle them.


Lawn Issues:

Toadstools/Mushrooms

Toadstools/Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies produced by fungi that can be found in the lawn; most are generally harmless and occasionally can be beneficial to the eco system. Although the fruiting bodies are clearly visible it will take an expert to distinguish whether they are edible, so it is not advisable to eat them.

Toadstools in the lawn are not always a cause for concern, however when you get mushrooms in a circle then this could be evidence of a fairy ring, this is discussed on a separate leaflet.

What to do?

Before cutting the lawn try and remove these from  the lawn using either a rake or if the lawn is short enough a still brush will help, if you cut the lawn with them on you increase the risk of spreading the spores and increasing the numbers that may already be there.

We generally find good maintenance of the lawn with aeration and scarification reduces the numbers the following year, we also see high incidence of these when we are seeing extremes of weather, for example when it goes from dry and cold to warm and wet, the humidity will stimulate their activity.

It is also a sign that the microbial activity within the soil is high, this is good as it helps to ensure that when we are feeding the lawns the microbes are helping to share the food around the grass plant.

Fungicide

If you have heard that it is wise to apply a fungicide please ignore this practice, fungicides will have an impact on the fruiting bodies that are there for a short time; they will have no impact on the ones beneath the soil which can pop up over night.

Lawn Issues:

Watering

Water is vital if a lawn is to remain lush and green, otherwise it will start suffering from drought stress and develop yellow or brown patches. Therefore, always water your lawn through dry periods.

How often should I water my lawn?

Regular watering on a daily or every other day basis will keep the grass plant healthy; it is best to do this early in the morning or in the evening to avoid evaporation.

During dry weather:

  • Keep off the lawn as much as possible, as the grass will be brittle and likely to break
  • Don’t cut the grass shorter than 50mm (2”) and do not cut again until there is a sign of growth

Tip: If the water is not soaking through, your lawn may be hydrophobic and suffering from Dry Patch. This means that it will need the help of a wetting agent to allow the ground to absorb water – see over for details.

How can GreenThumb help?

Our innovative product, Oasis, is designed to solve the problem of dry lawns and Dry Patch, allowing your lawn to remain lush and green for longer.

How does Oasis work?

Oasis is a water conserver which allows water to enter the root zone, even in areas affected by Dry Patch. The product contains a surfactant (wetting agent) which attaches itself to the molecules in the soil, at the same time attaching to any soil moisture. This ensures that the moisture will penetrate deep into the root zone, helping to  keep the grass plant greener for longer.

Save water too

For grass to thrive, the moisture level in the soil has
to reach an optimum level of over 30mm. However, after applying Oasis, the lawn requires only 7mm of water (23%) for clay soils and 15mm for sandy soils (50%). It will also save you money too, if you have a water meter.


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Lawn Issues:

Lawn Disease

Lawn disease comes in many forms; it is generally caused by fungus which attacks the grass and deprives it of vital nutrients. Red Thread is the most common disease, as well as Fusarium, Leaf Spot, Snow Mould and Rust, to name but a few. They can all affect the sward, causing discolouration, weakening of the plant and ultimately killing it altogether.

What causes lawn disease?

Disease is caused by the grass plant becoming stressed and therefore more vulnerable. Stress can be caused by many reasons such as: drought, moss, compaction or incorrect mowing.

Red Thread

Red Thread is a symptom of high humidity, most commonly seen throughout the summer months or a mild autumn, although it can continue through to the winter.

It is recognised by a pink/reddish tint on the grass blade. Upon closer inspection, very fine needles can be identified protruding from the grass blades. In very severe cases you will see pink mycelium, almost like small flocks of cotton wool.

How can GreenThumb help?

Maintaining a healthy lawn is the best way to prevent lawn disease. Fortunately, if a lawn disease has taken hold, we can treat it with a fungicide which should bring it under control. However, prevention is always better than cure, so it is important to look at reducing the conditions which favour lawn disease.

Maintaining a Healthy Lawn

Keeping the lawn in the pinnacle of health is essential for the grass plant to remain stress-free, and therefore disease-free. Firstly, correct mowing is a must. Always ensure the blades of the mower are sharp and never cut the lawn too short - no less than 25mm (1”) or 50mm (2”) during dry spells.

Importantly, ensure your lawn receives annual machine work, hollow-tine aeration and scarification. These combined treatments act as the equivalent of a major car service for your lawn. This will ensure the lawn remains healthy and able to fight off the vast majority of lawn problems.

If you think your lawn is suffering from a lawn disease, call your branch today for a free service call and, if it is the case, we will arrange a treatment to get your lawn back to full health.


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Lawn Issues:

Mowing

Mowing is the most basic practise in maintaining your lawn. Correct mowing can make a huge difference to its health and how good it looks.

Mowing tips:

  • Always sharpen or replace your lawn mower’s blade regularly, so it doesn’t tear the grass blade
  • Clean and remove grass from the underside of the mower after use
  • Remove grass clippings as they contribute to surface thatch if left on the lawn, which in turn encourages moss
  • Never remove more than one third of the total height of the grass in any one cut
  • Don’t cut your lawn too short - less than 25mm (1”). This should be increased to at least 50mm (2”) during dry spells

Cutting the grass very short can have a negative impact, as it will weaken the grass plant and encourage lawn disease, weeds and moss.

For a solution to reduce the rate at which your grass grows, please see overleaf.

How can GreenThumb help?

GreenThumb has a revolutionary product that changes how the grass plant grows, meaning that you won’t need to cut the grass so often.

How does SlowMow work?

This treatment works by blocking the growth hormone responsible for the grass plant’s height, thereby inhibiting the plant’s vertical growth. The plant’s energy is then diverted downwards, increasing its lateral growth and rooting. This results in the grass growing thicker and the lawn denser.

Does this mean no more mowing?

No, but it does mean that you will be able to increase the time period between cutting, so it will suit anyone who doesn’t want to mow their lawn so often. Using SlowMow means your lawn will not look unruly, even if it hasn’t been cut for 2 to 3 weeks; so coming back from holidays to an unsightly lawn should be a thing of the past.


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Lawn Issues:

Lawn Pests

There are many different types of lawn pests that can wreak havoc with your lawn. In the UK, the most common pests are Chafer grubs and Leatherjackets.

What are Chafer grubs and Leatherjackets?

Chafer grubs are the larvae of the Chafer Beetle and have a life cycle of between 1-3 years; curved like the letter C, they have white fleshy bodies, light brown heads and grow to 10-15mm in size.

Leatherjackets are the larvae of the Cranefly (daddy longlegs), with a life cycle of approx. 1 year; these pests are legless, brown/grey and 4cm long when fully grown.

How do these pests damage the lawn?

Leatherjackets damage the lawn by eating the stem and the root of the grass plant, unlike Chafers which survive on healthy turf roots. In both cases, once the grass roots have been eaten, the turf will become detached from its soil moorings, cutting off the plant’s source of nutrients and water.

How can GreenThumb help?

If your lawn does have uninvited guests, GreenThumb are able to apply an effective insecticide which will rid the lawn of Chafer grubs and Leatherjackets; it does this by successfully disrupting the life cycle of the grub.

How can I tell if my lawn has pests?

One of the first signs of infestation may be increased bird activity on the lawn; birds love grubs. You may also find debris caused by this activity or animals such as foxes and badgers digging for the grubs.

Damage from Leatherjackets usually starts on the edge of the lawn, where you will see the grass beginning to die. Damage from Chafer grubs can appear anywhere on the lawn.

Importantly, if you think your lawn is suffering from an infestation of Chafer grubs or Leatherjackets, call your branch today for a free service call and, if it is the case, we will arrange a programme to get your lawn back to health.


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Lawn Issues:

Moss

Moss thrives in damp and shady areas; lawns usually affected are those with heavy surface thatch or clay soil. It is important never to cut your lawn less than 25mm (1”) as scalped lawns are also prone to moss.

Will raking get rid of moss?

Raking will only remove the dead moss, it will not cure it. Instead, we recommend hollow-tine aeration and scarification (see overleaf), which eliminates one of the main causes of moss - thatch. Moss loves a moist, rich environment and therefore loves thatch.

What is thatch?

Thatch is the matted layer, made up of living and dead organic matter, found between the grass plant leaf and the soil surface. Thatch (over 15mm or ½”) creates ideal conditions for moss and disease to thrive and, by reducing water, air and nutrients getting to the roots, it also prevents the grass plant from flourishing.

How can GreenThumb help?

To reduce thatch that has built up during the year, it is important to  carry out machine work hollow-tine aeration and scarification annually. This also improves the growing conditions for the grass plant, resulting in a much healthier lawn.

Hollow-tine Aeration

Hollow-tine aeration punches out thousands of cores from the lawn, which thins out sub-surface thatch and reduces compaction.
The cores are then left to break down releasing nutrients back into the soil.

Scarification

Scarification is a rigorous and thorough operation which uses knives and blades to remove surface thatch; its main objective is not moss removal, but the removal of the cause of moss.

Post Scarification

This treatment is a valuable micro-nutrient which helps with recovery and also prevents moss spores from re-establishing.

Moss Control

Moss control is included in the autumn/winter seasonal treatment. It works by dehydrating the moss, turning it black and bringing it under control.


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