Over the last few weeks, we've had yellow weather warning over large swathes of the UK and flooding has been a major problem!

Public transport has been disrupted, rivers have burst their banks and hundreds of homes have been affected. This is a stressful time for homeowners affected by the floods who will be left to try and pick up the pieces as we move into spring/summer. 

While many of you won't be at the point of taking remedial action just yet, it's helpful to know the steps you need to take to start reclaiming your flooded garden when the rain starts to subside.

1. Assessing the Damage

If your home has been hit badly by the floods, your garden might be completely submerged. If this is the case, it's possible that the turf underneath has died.

With large bodies of water sat on top of the soil, you can also expect a reasonable amount of compaction that will need to be addressed when the water clears. If you can, try to assess your flooded garden without walking across it too much. Walking on the flooded soil will compact it further, and could be a hazard to you. With severe flooding, you can't tell how much debris is in the water, so always proceed with caution and wait until the flooding has started to subside before venturing out.

2. Removing the Debris

As the floodwater starts to drain away, you can start the cleanup process. First of all, you need to grab your wellies, put on some gloves and waterproofs and carefully walk out into your garden to gather any debris that's been deposited on the lawn. The area could have been contaminated with anything from broken glass to sharp sticks or household items. 

It's at this point that you'll be able to see if there are any garden plants that can be recovered! If so, carefully dig them up and move them into a fresh pot where they can dry out for a while before being re-planted in the garden later down the line.

3. Levelling Out the Land

If your lawn has become uneven due to flooding, it's possible that you'll have to remove the top layer of soil completely to level it back out. If the top layer of your lawn has died then this might not be the worst idea anyway, it will allow you to start with a fresh patch and work on achieving a better lawn than ever before. 

4. Aeration and Top Dressing

Once your lawn has been stripped back to the bare earth, it's time to start preparing the ground for new grass. This should start with a heavy dose of aeration and top dressing. Aerating the soil will alleviate the compaction caused by the flooding while the fresh topsoil will add nutrients back into the ground ready for your new lawn.

Here at Lawn and Weed Expert, we use a special grass aeration machine that moves across the surface of the lawn and punches tiny holes in the ground. This helps surface water to drain away easily. We also tailor your top dressing to suit your garden, so don't hesitate to get in touch if you're working through the aftermath of your flooded garden.

5. Laying New Turf or Planting Grass Seed

Now that the ground has been dried out, aerated and treated with top soil, you can choose one of two methods to re-plant your lawn.

Firstly, you could choose to lay turf from scratch. This is by far the quickest route to a new lawn! We've been laying turf for over 20 years and can help give you back the garden you deserve in no time at all. 

Secondly, you could choose to re-seed your lawn. This involves planting grass seed and waiting for the lawn to grow through in its own time. We offer an overseeding service that will help get your flooded garden on the mend.

Remember to take into consideration the possibility of a flood in the future when you're fixing your flooded lawn. If you live in a flood-prone area, we might be able to make some recommendations that will help prevent another garden flooding disaster in the future. If you'd like a quote for any of the services listed above, don't hesitate to request a free lawn survey.

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Mowing the lawn

Mowing your lawn may seem like a simple and straightforward task, but there are a lot of things to think about. Like most plants, if you cut off the growing point on grass, it can branch out and become denser, which results in a tightly-woven turf. If you never cut your grass, on the other hand, it can begin to look more like a prairie rather than a garden lawn.

The act of mowing isn't what makes your lawn look good - the mowing height and mowing frequency is what determines how healthy and how attractive your lawn looks.

Not sure how to mow a lawn? Never done it before? Here's our step-by-step guide...

 

1. Invest in a good lawnmower.

First things first: in order to mow your lawn properly, you will need to invest in a lawnmower that is up to snuff. If you buy and use a lawnmower that isn't good enough, the reality is that you will not get good results back, especially not in the time required.

A good lawn mower will cut your grass quickly and cleanly, and will not require a lot of maintenance to keep it running efficiently. There are several quality lawn mowers available on the market. Be sure to conduct thorough research before purchasing your lawnmower - ask questions and read reviews. This should give you a pretty good idea of whether the mower is good enough.

 

2. Begin with sharp blades.

One of the most common mistakes people make when mowing the lawn is using tired, dull mower blades rather than sharp ones. Sharp blades result in clean cuts and last for longer, whereas dull blades can only tear the grass, not cut it. When the grass is torn, it becomes stressed as its roots begin to get pulled out and the uncut part of the grass blade is harmed. If you're wondering how to mow a lawn effectively, ensure your blades are as sharp as can be.

 

3. Mow a little bit at a time.

Many people use the 'one third' rule when it comes to mowing their lawn: you should only cut off one-third of your grass's length when mowing in order to prevent the grass from straining. Of all the tips on how to mow a lawn, this is one of the most important.

You should aim to cut as little as possible off at any given time. There's a reason why the top golf courses and football pitches in the world are cut multiple times a week. The less grass you cut off, the stronger, the denser and the less stressed the grass will become. To make things a little easier on your part, here is a rough guide to the cutting heights you should be aiming for depending on the type of grass in your garden:

  • Bahiagrass, blue grama, buffalo grass or tall fescue: 2 to 3 inches
  • Bentgrass: 0.25 to 1 inch
  • Common Bermuda grass: 0.75 to 1.5 inches
  • Hybrid Bermudagrass: 0.5 to 1 inch
  • Centipede grass or zoysia grass: 1 to 2 inches
  • Fine fescue or St Augustine grass: 1.5 to 2.5 inches
  • Kentucky bluegrass: 1.75 to 2.5 inches
  • Annual and perennial ryegrass: 1.5 to 2 inches

 

4. Switch up your cutting patterns.

There are two types of pattern you can use when mowing your lawn. The first is back and forth - here you start at one side of your lawn, mow until you reach the other side and then come back. This is by far the most common cutting pattern, and it's the best pattern to use when mowing rectangular, standard lawns.

The second pattern is more of a circular one, which is often used with oddly-shaped gardens or those that have trees or flowerbeds in the centre. Here, you start by mowing your lawn in a circle, working your way outwards or inwards.

No matter which pattern you choose, be sure to alternate which way you go. If you use the first method and start left and mow right, the next time you mow, start right and mow to the left. This will help your grass to stay vertical and prevent it from beginning to lean one way.

 

5. Use a mulching blade.

Mulching blades are a type of mowing blade which are designed to chop up grass clippings into little pieces so they can fall down into the lawn, decompose and provide fertiliser. Whilst most lawns still need extra fertiliser on top of this, applying grass clippings can be a massive help.

 

6. Mow over your clippings.

When decided which direction and pattern to mow in, you want to be mowing over the clippings produced in your previous cut. This causes the clipping to be cut up even finer, which means faster decomposition into fertiliser. However, it is important to change mowing patterns so that one side of your lawn doesn't receive more fertiliser than the other.

 

7. Never mow your lawn wet.

Here's a simple but crucial thing to remember: never mow your lawn when it is wet. This is because you are more likely to get ruts in your lawn, cutting unevenly and clumping up grass. It's better to play it safe and mow your lawn when it is dry. This is particularly true with a new lawn, where the grass doesn't have the deeper root system that an established lawn would have.

Regardless of the type of lawn you have in your garden, mowing your grass is one of the most important things you can do for a healthy lawn. If you follow the above steps, you will be a whole lot closer to achieving that lush lawn you've always dreamed of and one that your neighbours wish they had.

For more information on how to mow a lawn, get in touch with the lawn care professionals here at Lawn & Weed Expert today!

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Water on grass

Grass doesn't need to be watered as much as other plants. It enters a state of inactivity when moisture reaches a critical level, then resumes growth once it receives water again.

There are several other sound reasons for choosing not to water your grass, including when costs are high, when reservoirs are not being adequately replenished or when watering may do more harm than good.

On the other hand, there are several reasons why watering your grass might be a good idea after all - for example, if a wet surface is required for games and young children, or if you've undertaken some form of renovation and need to promote recovery. At other times, you may just need a light watering to soak moss before applying a ferrous sulphate-based moss killer or as part of a seeding/turfing process.

Whatever your reasons, you're still likely to ask yourself the question 'how often should I water my grass?' from time to time. And below, we try to help answer!

 

Watering your lawn

In short, you should water your grass when it tells you to, not according to some random plan. Your soil and grass type and exposure to sun and wind are just a few factors that will determine how often you need to be watering your grass. The level of fertiliser present in your grass may also have an impact on water levels, as an adequately fertilised lawn will tend to tolerate dry spells better than one lacking the required nutrients. This might mean some lawns require watering once a week, whilst others may only need water once a month in the exact same weather conditions.

Common signs to look out for that indicate your grass requires water are:

  • A change in colour with your grass becoming dull
  • Grass losing its 'bounce' with footprints remaining in the lawn once stepped on

 

How much water should I use?

You should try to water your grass deeply each time. Aim for at least half an inch for clay soils and an inch for sandy soils. An easy way to work this out is to place a few straight containers into your sprinkler to catch some water. Time the process until there is the required amount of water in the container so you'll know how long you need to water for. If you're on a water meter, there's no need to worry, as watering your grass for the required time and amount should still be affordable.

 

When should I water my grass?

Try to avoid watering your grass at night, as this promotes disease. The best time to water is before the heat of the day so that the lawn has enough time to dry before nightfall. You can set your sprinkler (if you have them) to turn on from 4 am to early afternoon on most days, even sunny ones. If the temperature gets above 24°C, however, then you should turn the water off. Also, if you have a disease on your lawn, such as red thread and fusarium, watering it can make it worse. So, be sure to inspect your lawn before you consider heavy watering.

 

How often should I water my lawn?

Watering your grass too little, too often or at the incorrect times promotes weeds, disease, moss, weed grasses and shallow rooting. Therefore, it is important to understand when and how often to water your grass because you may be doing more harm than good. Sometimes, soil becomes very hard to re-wet once it has dried out as a result of a fungal condition such as dry patch. By using a wetting agent, you can aid water penetration and retention in most circumstances.

We hope this blog has helped to answer your question of how often to water grass. For more information on how often you should water your lawn or to speak to one of our lawn care specialists regarding your lawn, please get in touch with us today.

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In the UK, there are hundreds of different garden pests. Controlling the spread of these pests before they damage your garden can be challenging, but it's not impossible. Knowing what pests to expect is the first step towards a pest-free garden. Here are some of the most common types of lawn pests to look out for while you're carrying out your garden maintenance. 

 Ants

Ants (Common Black Ants)

Ants are a common garden pest here in the UK. They have a habit of building their nests in your lawn and spreading into your home and around your garden in their hunt for food.

Worker ants work tirelessly to expand the nest and grow the colony resulting in large nests with intricate and extensive tunnel connections.

Ants can create mounds of soil, raised spots in your lawn and can promote weed & moss growth, that's why it's best to get them under control quickly.

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Moles

 Moles

Moles are garden pests that live underneath your lawn. They don't eat the roots of your lawn, but they do cause serious structural damage underground. They're 

Their tunnel systems can cause damage to your garden while creating spaces for mice and rats to invade your garden too. Keep your eye out for large mounds of dirt on your lawn, this is a tell-tale sign that you're dealing with a mole problem.

Note: a mole problem might also signify that you have an infestation of grubs too! Learn more about our grub control services here.

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 Leatherjackets

Leatherjackets (Crane Fly Larvae)

Leatherjackets are a common type of garden pest that's most prevalent during autumn. The hungry larvae will have no problem devouring large swathes of your lawn - stripping entire lawns and killing grassroots if left untreated. 

Leatherjackets are a tasty snack for birds who will further damage your lawn in an attempt to find and eat them. Keep your eyes peeled for grubs that are grey in colour, have no legs and have mandibles at one end of their body.

Seek treatment immediately if you think you've got an infestation of leatherjackets in your garden.

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Chafer grubs

 Chafer Grubs (Chafer Beetle Larvae)

Chafer grubs are a common lawn pest that lives in the soil and feeds on both living and decaying plant material. Much like leatherjackets, chafer grubs will eat through huge areas of your lawn causing severe damage. 

Birds also love to eat these plump bugs, meaning you're likely to have a problem with birds pecking at your lawn alongside the chafer grub infestation. 

Chafer grubs prefer sandy soils and travel deeper into the soil when temperatures drop. You should keep an eye out for them during warmer periods when they rise nearer the surface of your lawn to feed. 

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 Aphids

 Aphids

Aphids are small insects that feed on the sap of plants in your garden. With over 500 different aphid species living in the UK, they are considered one of the most common garden pests we have to contend with. 

While aphids physically damage crops when they're gorging on the sap, they're most dangerous because they're common vectors of plant viruses.

Their huge numbers mean they can quickly spread a virus between different parts of a single plant, amongst other plants in your garden and beyond into neighbouring gardens. It's best to get them under control as soon as possible.

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  If you're currently experiencing a problem with common garden pests, get in touch with the Lawn and Weed Expert team! We offer free lawn surveys to determine the best course of action for your garden pest infestation and will provide effective treatments where we can to help you get your pest problem under control. Learn more about our garden pest control services below.

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Waterlogged Lawn

If there’s one thing that us Brits know what to deal with, it’s rain, rain and more rain.

Unfortunately for us, we are more than used to our fair share of the wet stuff, so have become accustomed to working and living through it, especially our lawns. This often results in puddles and damp patches, known as waterlogging, that prevent us from taking part in our favourite garden past times, sports or simply enjoying the outdoors.

 

What causes a waterlogged lawn?

Waterlogged lawns occur when water builds up as a result of excessive rain and is unable to drain away or dry up, which can present a number of problems. Firstly, the presence of water itself can inhibit the supply of oxygen to the grassroots, which in turn can impact the health of the lawn. Second, waterlogged lawns can prevent carbon dioxide in the air from diffusing. The functionality of the grassroots is decreased or halted completely as they start to diminish, which allows the invasion of rot and decay organisms to take place. Thirdly, essential nutrients found within the lawn can be leached out which results in hungry, deprived soil as well as serious compaction. The lawn itself can also thin out, creating an environment where thatch and moss will pitch-in to the new gaps and thrive in the damper conditions.

 

Preventing a waterlogged lawn

To prevent your lawn from becoming waterlogged in the event of a severe downpour, there are a number of steps that you can take. The main method of prevention, however, is to regularly aerate your lawn. This allows plenty of drainages and air to reach deep into the soil. The best form of aeration for this type of work is known as ‘hollow tine aeration’ as this creates optimum airflow and drainage to the lower levels of soil. Once the lawn has been aerated, you can then re-seed to allow seeds the opportunity to germinate and create a thicker, more complex root system.

It’s important to observe your lawn during patches of rain in order to identify problem areas. These may occur as a result of uneven patches where the water has nowhere to drain. To counter this, be sure to level out uneven patches and aerate to prevent waterlogging from happening.

 

Dealing with a waterlogged lawn

  • Short-term solutions – If your waterlogged lawn was caused by flooding, the first things you can do to rectify it is to wash down hard surfaces and pick up debris to prevent drains from being blocked, allowing a steady flow of water to remove pollutants. Try to avoid stepping on the soil, as doing so will compact the lawn and make the conditions worse. Remove any damaged shoots from affected grass plants. If the waterlogging has occurred during the spring, you can apply a balanced fertiliser to improve growth.
  • Long-term solutions – If you have serious waterlogged lawns, we suggest you try to improve the soil structure and drainage system. The most popular drainage systems are known as land drains and French drains. Both of these consist of a trench or series of trenches that are dug into the lawn and lined with a porous film. The trench is then filled with graded stone before being topped off with topsoil so that the relaid turf on the surface returns to being level and even with the rest of the lawn.

The difference between the two types of drains is that a land drain also has a pipe which is often perforated, attached along its length to transport excess water away faster and more efficiently. In both cases, the trenches are dug at a shallow angle in order for the water to flow along the trench by gravity to a strategically-placed soakaway. From here, it is guided to disperse harmlessly underground. The purpose of the porous film is to filter out silt from any water that is washed into the trench. If this filtration didn’t exist, both types of drains can easily become clogged with silt and become overwhelmed with the water they aim to funnel away.

 

Are you experiencing a waterlogged lawn? Do you require professional help to even out or aerate your lawn? Be sure to get in touch with the expert lawn care team here at Lawn & Weed Expert today by filling out our lawn survey!

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