Better late than never – well so much going on in such a short space of time.
May proved to be a cold month , but a wet month , remarkably it provided a great opportunity to re-seed lawns , and most came through looking pretty good , although some towards the end of May struggled a little when after one very wet Monday , the soil rapidly dried out at the surface capped making it tough on any seeds that were just pushing through the surface.
June till now has been generally warm , and lawns were starting to suffer again as they dried out so todays rains have been welcome. Its ironic that today I received a delivery of a compost additive that absorbs water and helps seeds to germinate – wont be needing that for a week.
Ants have been running wild this June and I advise trying to rake the mounds they create in the first instance , this levels the soil out that they heap up and uncovers the grass so that is wont die back. If you don’t do this you will find the mower scalping these high points and leaving you bare patches. You can also try pouring cold water over the patch as ants are not supposed to like a bath , and then dust with an ant powder .
Many lawns have seen clover and trefoil spread this spring , the cold weather earlier on did not deter them and the dry weather suited them as they have a tap root and were able to grow away with out competition from the grass that struggled to make any growth. Both these weeds have relatively small waxy leaf area so when the weed killer is applied it struggles to stick to the surface , and as they are systemic we need the contact to allow absorption .
Weed grasses have also sprung up this year again due to the earlier colder weather – many people have observed when looking down on their lawn from the bedroom window the green patches which seem to appear over night . At ground level it is not so noticeable , these weed grasses get into the lawns from wind dispersal , bird droppings , and may be were already in the soil. There growth habit tends to be horizontal rather than vertical , and when cutting the lawn you can end up just pushing them over which allows them to spread as some will send out roots from the leaf stems. Its worth trying to rake any patches you have before cutting the grass so at least they are standing up to start with.
As well as the straggling weed grass we also have the Poa annua – annual meadow grass , seems to have the ability to grow any where , including the pavements and no matter at what height you cut it it manages to produce flower heads and seed .
One positive it that as we head towards the longest day of the year, and back into shorter days grasses will stop trying to seed and revert back to vegetive growth.
Worst case scenario is to kill the patches off with a total weed killer and re-seed , or to even kill the whole lawn off and to start again. It is unfortunate how these unwanted grasses can change the overall appearance of the lawn – at least if you re-seed , providing everything is killed off before you start you can be sure the new lawn will be from the seed in the pack.