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Daisies in grass

Daisies can be quite pretty, can't they? Many people enjoy picking them to making daisy chains, and the thought of walking barefoot through a meadow of daisies on a sunny day is a rather appealing one.

The RHS website even advises gardeners to think twice and "decide if you really want to combat these plants". But pretty or not, the common English daisy (Bellis perennis) is still a weed, and if you've got daisies in your garden, they're competing with your lawn for essential moisture and nourishment.

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Dandelions

Dandelions are a very common sight in British gardens, parks and fields. They are characterised by their bright yellow flowers, which eventually mature into 'dandelion clocks' - those fluffy seed heads that fly away when you blow on them.

The sunny yellow dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) might seem harmless enough, but it's still a weed, and a frustratingly resilient weed at that. If you have dandelions on your lawn, they may be robbing your grass of vital nutrients and moisture. So it's important to get rid of them in order to keep your lawn as healthy as possible.

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Lawn diseases

The grass in your back garden is a living thing, and just like human beings, lawns are susceptible to a variety of diseases.

If your lawn has been looking a little unhealthy of late, the cause may well be some kind of lawn disease. But there are lots of different conditions that can affect British lawns - so how do you identify what type of disease you're dealing with?

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If you're a new homeowner - or if you just want greener grass in your garden - let our lawn care experts show you the ropes!

Green grass on lawn

Lawn maintenance can be tiring, time-consuming work. When you buy your first house, you may well yourself in the position of having to look after a lawn for the first time in your life - just one of the many joys of getting a foot on the property ladder!

But don't be daunted. Once you've managed to establish a regular lawn care routine, you'll be surprised by how easy - and even enjoyable! - this task it can be.

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Bespoke lawn care

Every lawn is different, and what works in someone else's garden might not be quite right for yours.

We at Lawn & Weed Expert have been looking after lawns for many years now, so we know more than most about the importance of providing the right care for the right lawn at the right time.

That's why we always carry out a FREE lawn survey before undertaking any work in your garden. It's crucial for our lawn care specialists to familiarise themselves with the unique characteristics of your grass so that they can recommend the best course of action.

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Using lawn fertiliser is a great way to keep your grass looking healthy and robust, but moderation is key - after all, it is possible to have too much of a good thing!

Overdoing the fertiliser can give your lawn a scorched appearance, like this:

Lawn fertiliser burn

Photo by Sten Porse (source: Wikimedia Commons)

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Protecting lawn from digging dog

It's great having dogs - they're great company, they're always happy to see you, and if you can keep them still for long enough to take a photo, they're great for getting a few extra likes on Instagram.

But it can be difficult to keep your lawn in peak condition when you share your home with one or more canine friends. We discussed in a previous blog post the problems that pet urine can cause in the garden - today, we're going to look at how to protect your lawn from a dog who won't stop digging!

 

Why does my dog keep digging up the lawn?

Your dog may be digging holes for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Animal instinct. Dogs sometimes dig holes in order to hide bones, toys and other items in the ground and keep other animals from taking them. Digging can also be part of a nesting instinct.

  • Stress / anxiety. Excessive digging may be a sign that your pooch is frustrated or anxious. Have a think and try to identify the source of their stress (e.g. loud noises, being left alone for long periods).

  • Heat. If the weather is too warm for your dog's liking, they may dig to expose cool soil and create a spot that's shaded from the sun.

  • Boredom. It may just be that your dog is bored and trying to make their own entertainment!

Here's a hint: look at where your dog is digging, and this may give you some clues as to why they're digging. Does your pet repeatedly dig up the same spot? Do they tend to dig at the perimeter of your garden (as if trying to escape), or do you find holes all over your lawn in seemingly random places?

 

Tips to stop your dog from digging in the garden

If you're tired of finding holes in your lawn and you want to put an stop to your dog's digging habit, there are several different approaches that you can try. Here are some suggestions:

  • Supervise your dog while they're in the garden. If you're used to letting your dog loose in the garden while you do something else, it may be time to start keeping a closer eye on them. Go out in the garden with your pet, and if they start trying to dig, stop them with a firm 'no'.

  • Give your dog somewhere else to dig. If you have a sandpit or an empty patch of soil on your property, encourage your dog to dig there instead of ruining your immaculate lawn. Why not bury your dog's toys and let Fido unearth them?

  • Take your dog somewhere else to exercise. Running around on the lawn shouldn't be your pet's only source of exercise. Visit your local park or take a daily walk around the block - this will give your lawn a bit of a break and hopefully make your dog less inclined to mess it up!

  • Make sure you're spending plenty of time with your dog. If you're not making enough time for your friend, this may be contributing to their compulsion to dig. Don't neglect your dog - be sure to show them lots of affection and spend plenty of time playing with them.

  • Distract your dog with chew toys and other playthings. A good chew toy or a raw bone can keep a dog occupied for a surprisingly long time. If you're giving your dog plenty to do in their leisure time, this will give them fewer opportunities to start digging again.

If your dog has left your lawn looking less than its best, Lawn & Weed Expert can help. Get in touch with Lawn & Weed Expert to arrange your FREE lawn care survey.

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Photo from Pixabay

How Your Garden Can Improve Your Mental Health

Given the current climate and the fact that we are all spending a lot more time in our homes, for some, it can become quite a difficult period. Normal day-to-day routines that help with managing mental health such as going to work and taking part in sport are thrown out of the window as we are advised to undertake a life of confinement. This can lead to a range of issues such as heightened depression and anxiety.

One way that these problems can be dealt with without ever leaving your home (kind of), is to spend some time in your garden or partaking in gardening activities. Gardens can be full of wildlife, nature and are great for the environment, while gardening has a long and connected history to both science and medicine.

In this blog, we take a closer look at how we can make the most out of both gardens and gardening to improve our mental health.

 

Bring gardening into your everyday life

Over the years, there have been several studies conducted that examine the benefits that being in gardens and green spaces can bring. These have shown positive correlations with improved social, physical and mental health. A particular study from Growing Health, a national scheme set up by the charity Garden Organic and the membership organisation Sustain, found that by simply viewing a green space, such as your garden, through a window can help you to relax and reduce stress levels. Other evidence also confirmed that the physical activity of gardening can improve your mental wellbeing, which leads us to our next point.

It's common knowledge that exercise is good for, no matter what form it may come in. The NHS considers exercise essential to living a healthy and fulfilling life and it's been medically proven that individuals who participate in regular physical activity have up to 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. However, less is known in the role that gardening plays in helping to keep you fit and healthy. Did you know that the number of calories burnt from 30 minutes of gardening can be compared to playing volleyball or practicing yoga?

 

Find health and happiness 

The benefits of being in your garden, of course, run far deeper than just exercise. A report from King's Fund on the health benefits of gardening were found to be broad and diverse, with studies displaying significant decreases in both depression and anxiety and enhanced social functioning.

Evidence suggests that there are two main modes of attention; focused and fascination. Focused attention is what we use whilst we are at work, whereas fascination is what we use whilst we participate in hobbies. In this theory, an abundance of focused attention can result in stress, where fascination then plays a part in bringing our attention back and alleviating the anxious feeling we get when we are placed under pressure or feel like we can't cope.

Whilst all of this research is crucial to understanding why we are inclined to find gardening therapeutic, it's fairly straightforward to think of the reasons why gardening can improve mental health. Whether it's an opportunity to be social, to get out of the house or to simply learn a new skill.

 

Going out in your garden

Now, with all of the uncertainty that is going on around the world right now, you may be wondering if you're able to even go out in your garden whilst self-isolating. In short, yes. Just because you're advised to stay inside, doesn't mean you can't venture out into your garden and start gardening. We recently published a blog on the various things you can get up to whilst self-isolating at home and spending time in your garden. To find out more, you can read here.

If you feel a little daunting or overwhelmed by gardening, why not start off with an indoor houseplant first? Having a houseplant can help to make you feel calm as well as adding a natural aesthetic to your home. Most houseplants are fairly low maintenance, making it easy to learn how to look after them. There are lots of guides and advice that you can find about gardening for the first time, so start with some small and manageable and before you know it, you'd have learned quite a bit!

There are a lot of ways that you can begin to incorporate gardening and plants into your daily routine. Whether you suffer from mental health issues, know someone who does or simply want to enhance your wellbeing, there is a garden out there for all.

To keep up-to-date with the latest garden and lawn care news from Lawn and Weed Expert, be sure to follow us on social media. You can find us on Twitter and Facebook.

While it’s commonly believed that grass stops growing during the winter months due to the adverse weather conditions and drop in temperature, this is actually a misconception.

During mild spells, grass does actually grow, albeit at a far slower rate than usual. As such, neglecting your lawn during this time can be a regrettable and avoidable oversight.

 

flower in winter

 

Winter is Coming

Over the winter months, promoting grass growth takes a backseat in terms of importance as maintaining healthy grass and keeping moss at bay becomes the overriding priority.

During this time, it’s vital to keep an eye on two things, in particular, namely the nitrogen levels and the iron levels.

In order to keep your lawn as healthy as can be during the winter cold, nitrogen levels need to be very low and iron levels need to be very high.

High nitrogen levels over winter can lead to lawn disease and leave the lawn susceptible to pests, while a deficiency in iron can be detrimental in terms of grass colour and turf strength.

 

Iron Thrown

Many gardeners opt for lawn sand during the winter months as the go-to remedy for repelling moss and boosting lawn health; however, it’s worth keeping an eye on the content of your lawn sand of choice.

It’s not unusual for pre-made lawn sand mixtures to contain a pitiful amount of iron. As such, in order to provide enough iron to really benefit the grass, you will need to use a lot which will, in turn increase the nitrogen levels.

To avoid such a catch 22, it’s worth either, A. Shopping around for lawn sand with a higher iron content than nitrogen, or B. Making your own.

The latter option can be particularly handy and cost-effective as you can make as much as you need and know exactly what has gone into making it, including the nutrient levels you wish.

 

Winter Fertilisers

If you do happen to go down the ready-made route and shop for your winter lawn fertiliser, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

When shopping for winter lawn fertiliser, the label should include three letters (N, P and K). These represent the chemical elements of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium.

A good winter grass fertiliser should include higher levels of phosphate and potassium to encourage root growth and strengthen the lawn under the soil.

Meanwhile, any decent winter lawn fertiliser should also have a lower level of nitrogen to discourage rapid grass growth during this time.

 

Professional Winter Lawn Treatment

If the prospect of effectively treating your lawn during the winter is somewhat of a daunting task, why not give us a call and let us work our wintry magic?

At Lawn & Weed Expert, our winter lawn treatment methods are specifically designed to keep your lawn in tip-top condition throughout the cold season and banish lawn moss from whence it came.

Our team of lawn care specialists are fully equipped with knowledge, experience and tools for the task at hand, and are all ready, willing and able to give your lawn a healthy dose of TLC this winter.

 

For additional advice on winter grass fertiliser or to find out more about our winter lawn treatment services, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 0800 111 4958 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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Over the course of the wintertime, heavy rain and adverse weather can take its toll on your garden, leaving your lawn looking boggy and soggy and leaving you in quite the quagmire of your own.

To help ensure your garden stays in tip-top condition, follow these top tips from the experts and keep your lawn above water this winter.

 

muddy lawn in winter

 

Preventing a Muddy Lawn in Winter

As the old saying goes, prevention is better than a cure – not to mention, in the case of gardening, far easier to implement!

That being said, in order to prevent a muddy lawn, it’s important to understand what causes a muddy lawn. This is usually down to a small handful of reasons, usually relating to poor drainage.

Muddy lawns are often the result of compaction, a poor root system or uneven lawns. Fortunately, none of these presents your lawn with a death sentence and there are simple solutions to all of these issues.

 

Aerating Your Lawn

Areas of high footfall can suffer from compacted soil due to the high level of traffic walking over it. As a result, the tightly packed soil leaves rainwater with nowhere to drain, leaving the water to rest on the surface where it becomes boggy.

Common in clay soil, compaction can be remedied by regular aeration. This allows air and water to flow deeper into the soil, enhancing the soils water uptake, strengthening roots and reducing water run-off as a result.

 

Level the Playing Field

If waterlogging is occurring as a result of an uneven lawn, you will need to level off your lawn surface to prevent such instances reoccurring. Mildly uneven lawns can be evened out over time using a simple topdressing at a rate of half an inch each attempt.

For larger areas of uneven grass, you may want to try the “sweep under the carpet” method. As the name suggests this simply means cutting out the piece of turf which is uneven and packing underneath to make it level.

If the problem area is larger than one square foot, it’s worth cutting multiple patches of sod to avoid breaking the removed patch. Once removed, fill the gap with enough topsoil to leave the surface level once the sod has been replaced.

 

Treating a Muddy Lawn in Winter

Before taking any action to fix your soggy grass, it’s important to make sure that your lawn isn’t completely waterlogged to begin with.

Use a broom to brush off as much excess surface water as possible by brushing towards the edges of your lawn. If the weather is good, you may want to leave it thereafter to allow additional surface water to evaporate.

Be sure to avoid walking on the lawn during this time as well as this can only worsen the effects of your lawn, causing turf to become damaged even further.

 

For more winter garden tips or for professional garden services this winter, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 0800 111 4958 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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