Grass Problems And Lawn Repair

daisy lawn problem

I’ve a few case examples in mind as I type these notes and all lawns are in the process of being treated as we speak. That said if you live in Ireland or the UK and own any form of a grass patch that is not perfect, then a tenner says you’ll find your dilemma and solution noted here.

Go grab yourself a cuppa and come back, this is a long one. Also any hassles or queries, leave me a comment below or drop me a line. I’ll pop my details in at the end of the post.

Back to it, the names noted below are not the persons real name and their stories go as follows:

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Roll Out Lawn

Possibly surprising, the above is the first rolled lawn that I have laid this season. Suffice to say, that after almost 12 years in business for myself I’ve just about thrown the towel in when it comes to predicting what exactly the forth comings may hold in store. A little like trying to figure out whether Robin Van Persie will be at The Arsenal next season, maybe.

Back to horticulture, I do find the similar-ish requests do come in waves, sort of. At one point and for almost 2 months it was all hard type landscaping and then it went to soft plantscaping and any way the wind blows I suppose. 😉 No matter, numero uno for me is very much, so long as I’m in A garden, I’m about as happy a fellow as you can ever meet.

To rolled lawns. In my opinion there is only one real way to go when doing the grass gig and that is the roll out way.

One shouldn’t still walk on it similar to seed for a period of time after but it is, just too damn good to look at when it’s done well and done rightly.

Below ground or at sod finish level, what is essential is a fine tilth. In this, one can choose to build upwards on the existing with a fine granuled type medium – here I sometimes use a sand or compost, but in reality it is whatever suits the specific garden and project.

Some may say, one has to rotovate – but what exactly do you do with the rule book when you cannot fit that machine through the house to the back yard or it’s quite simply just not practical ? Either or the role of that tool would have been to run a soils upper surface through a blender into which the root zone of the new turf may then teeth. It is the understanding of this that I cannot over emphasise enough.

Some may also say that the rotovator will aid drainage [?], but the feet of the cultivator, shaped a little like The Isle of Man legs, I’ve always thought, only go down a few inches and this does not solve any serious dilemma’s one may have with serious underlying drainage issues. That, sub standard soil, as a by the way, something that seems to have come part and parcel of the not so horticulturally considerate celticus tigerus.

Lawn laid, the next imperative is typical Irish weather and by the bucket load. Think of it a little like keeping fresh-cut lettuce, fresh. Ideally conditions needs to be perfectly dry on laying and just as I walk out the gate, pouring rain. This week it did exactly that. The flip side, is when the guys were lifting the turf, it was a little tougher for them in the fields but, the added bonus for me was the that the turf in its roll, was moist and not at all stressed on arrival.

Temperatures for grass growth starts at around 14 degrees Celsius. The higher that number moves upwards the more water required (note: see photosynthesis equation). Though it has been raining a lot of recent there is a lot to be said for talking to your newest photosynthetic surface. Fair enough, maybe not making them a cuppa and sitting them up on the couch beside you, but visually inspecting by touch and feel, just to be sure to be sure.

The problem that comes when roll out lawn dries is that it shrinks in size. The air then gets in underneath the corners and they start to curl and dry out with the eventual – and believe me I’ve seen the alternate – that the whole thing goes to pot. My two cents, look after your lawn like you might a brand new beige carpet in your home.

Side tracking mildly, I’ve been asked a bit recently my thoughts on lawnmowers and types I may recommend. I always remember my Pop with the old push two steps forward, one step back type cylinder mower. There was something old and romantic about them that I miss, although I have seen them make a return to the super dooper hardware stores and there is a lot to be said for petrol-less machinery in this day and age.

If that’s not your bag [?], then go for a mulching mower. Lawn clippings are high in phosphorus and potassium, the base ingredients for Miracle grow/ tomato feeds, both of which encourage new growth and flowering, thus giving you that lush green feel.

Questions or queries, leave a comment or….

straw grass…?


I get loads of these…. some one liners…. some emails. Some without pictures But I try my best and quite enjoy answering them being honest 🙂

Email in on Saturday from Melanie. 😉

Hi Peter,

Thanks for this, myself and Alex are full of enthusiasm for the garden at the moment but neither of us have much of a clue 😉
Alex was out doing a bit of a tidy up this morning and he noticed that we have climbers planted around our wall (they were planted just before we bought the house so no idea what they are), and now there seems to be loads of what looks like straw around the bottom of them all. We’ve no idea where it’s come from, and are a bit worried it might be a sign of mice. I don’t know if you can shed any light on it, but I thought I’d run it by you in case you’ve seen it before. I’ve attached 2 photos.

I responded with the following via twitter [it was saturday…. i was watching Ireland get beat by Scotland at rugby. It was easier 😉 ]
I gave the following answers in 2 messages of less than 140 charachters:

hmmm. the plant is pyracantha. produces fruits and little white flowers – really cool and great for nature but thorny 🙂

the dead grass is just that. may have been sprayed a while ago…. or not. just mow over it. not straw. all looks healthy

Problem solved.

As I said when asked about watering seeds…. maybe a simple answer to someone with horticultural qualification….? but then you probably don’t read this blog 😉


Other comments:

  • Yes you should no matter how silly ! 🙂
  • maybe do a monthly online publication on issuu
  • You should use them for a column in a magazine / newspaper, like a gardening problem page.
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october in the garden…

The Sepember in the garden post seemed to go down quite well so… here’s your monthly bit for October. And a little music to read with…

Now that your bedding plants have just about gone to pot and the garden [in some cases] maybe lacking a little inspiration… it’s time to take down those hanging baskets and planters, identify those blank spots in your beds and get the place spruced up. 😉 Believe me you’ll thank me for it.
garden-colour-small colourful-plants-small spring bulbs

While you’re there… don’t forget spring bulbs are on sale now. If you want some spring inspiration year after year… this is a ‘right now’ must do. Chose not to do so in advance and what one finds is that the left over bulbs are planted in pretty pots and come January, sold with a big bow wrapped around it… and a price tag to match.

removing a lawnmower blade lawnmower-blades-sharpen lawnmower-blades-sharpen-angle grinder

Next up… the evenings are getting that little bit darker so I’ve decided I’m gonna get started on some early winter chores. I’ve started with the lawnmowers. The problem has been that even when the sun did shine, the grass was still wet and the blades took the odd bit of hammering. I’ve got all the undersides cleaned out and out with the angle grinder to give the blades a bit of a sharpen. Apart from that usual service rules apply, but nothing a good drop of oil can’t solve. If you’re not into that, book it in for its annual service… before everyone else does that is!

muddy-grass weeds weed-control

From a weed control point of view… once again the weather has played absolute havoc. Assuming you have a couple of hours dryness, the grass/ weeds are dry and you use a translocated spray…. whilst teperatures are around the 12-14 degrees celcius, I’d make sure  you get the place tidy[er] for this coming winter a little sooner.

lettuce-plants lettuce greenhouse

The lettuce crops are still trying to bolt into seed. I’m still fighting it… nature will eventually take over. That said I’ve not been as reliable on my sorrell plants and as a result their green leaves will carry me easily through December. Next after that is a good tidy up of the greenhouse. I need to get ready for some spring crops….

garden-furniture sale barbeque wild-berries

If you fancy building your own BBQ check out this post. Other than that… a good clean up of the entire set is necessary and store it away until next year.Yes that’s right wash it… not leave it out to rust like you did last year 🙄

Don’t forget your wild berries. Just because they’re not in a plastic container… they’re exactly the same thing. Go pick. Make jam. Bake cakes. Free food season is on. Before the birds get it.

Passing through some garden centres recently, Now is the best time to buy your garden furniture, benches and tables for next year. It is the end of the season and some ranges – If you want to get some kind of garden together for next year and need those few bits. Take my advice – the real bargains are on now


and enjoy

For the moment there’s not a whole lot else – but in garden terms always remeber that preparation is everything and forgetting this month may leave you in mild despair for next year.

With all that hard work done… 😆 You’ve a great excuse now with the evenings closing in – go ahead grab yourself a glass of wine, sit back and relax.

As I said last month… if you see something thats not here – just leave a comment – I’ll know the next time ;) I also dropped in a little music from Paulo Nutini, because I find I can read better with music when the article is a little longer. Personally, I dislike the ever copy and pasted 5 pointer one liners that reappear in the usual gardening columns so I’ve tried to make this a little different[ish]. I just hope you enjoyed it.

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lawn problems….?

Last year from around the middle of May through June Bank Holiday weekend climates and weather almost mirrored that of  what we are having now.

With reference to lawns here are the articles that I wrote then:

**images 4 & 5 are a patch of grass I started to repair about 6 weeks ago. The rest of the images are from last year [2008]

One should really take the first article and read it well. The second of course being my sense of humour but still a very logic answer.

I have prepared lawns that have had full seed germination within 10 days. I have also prepared lawns where very little to nothing will happen…

  • as long as one of the factors required for the growth of any plant is missing
  • as long as it is not ‘logic’ for the seed to germinate
  • as long as we do not have ‘typical irish weather’

And the answer to that of course is when it comes to nature sometimes patience is the greatest asset. My own lawn prepared about a month before I wrote the above articles is clear evidence of that and hence where I got the photographs from, The lawn sown in the pebbles almost a better germination…?

One may have had the soil prepared and presented well when the contractor left the garden… the soil may have dipped and hollowed slightly… some may have the ‘sahara desert’ cracking effect… in some cases some stone has been brought to the surface… all in all it looks a bit rough. I assure you – unless one has a bottom-less supply of rolled turf, a fire hydrant on full blast over night where the lawn will take in the most water and a shaded [completely] garden – no green [or very little] will appear… Funny thing is, the weeds will most likely grow there first.

I have just re-read – again – my article from last year…. and I once again realise that not even a degree in horticulture will help one here… it didn’t help me. It just helped me to understand better the why and why nots.

The truth is even when all of that is overcome…. the shelves of the supermarket gardens centres are brimmed with horticultural paraphernalia to help you and your lawn… and for very good reason. Clover, moss, weeds, fertiliser the list goes on *and* has done for eons…

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