I received this question in January 2018 from a reader who is worried about the timing of lawn treatments. She is planning on opening her garden to the public for a day.
My lawn was laid approx 18 years ago with good quality turf. The turf was laid on heavy clay soil and has been well looked after over the years with all the usual feeds and treatments.
This year I would like to aerate, apply a moss kill treatment, scarify and feed the lawn before opening up the garden in June for a local charity.
Assuming I can start work in early March what interval should I leave between each treatment to ensure the lawn has time to recover and is looking good for my visitors?
Many thanks for your consideration
Hi Glennis, Thanks for the question.
Well done on taking the brave step on opening your garden up for charity. I hope the weather is kind for you and you have a successful day.
To enable your lawn to look it’s best for a particular day it is best to put together a plan. And again, well done on thinking of this early on in the season.
Timing of lawn treatments
Your first task is to put down a moss control in late winter. This should be a moss control, NOT a combination feed, weed and moss treatment. I would plan to apply this late February to early March. A moss control treatment needs to be down at least 10 days for the treatment to work. It should effective for up to six weeks. This treatment will blacken any moss and make it much easier to remove.
Next you will want to do all the mechanical work. Aim to do this a couple of weeks after the moss control, but make sure the soil is starting to warm. If it is cold or too wet, postpone a week or two. The middle of March should be warm enough, but it depends on where in the UK you live.
You can do the mechanical treatments all in one day to make it easier. First, scarify the lawn and tidy off the thatch which comes off. Then run a hollow-tine aerator over the lawn. Next you can either collect these cores or, if the lawn requires it, scarify it again. This has the combined effect of smashing up the cores, leaving some soil and getting the last of the thatch out. Finally, clean all off the debris. I would then recommend overseeding the lawn as this will speed up recovery.
Keep the lawn watered
Keep the lawn watered and keep an eye on it. If there are any spots which look like they are struggling to get going, then get them repaired. A June open day is quite early in the lawn season so some areas may be a little behind in their growth. A quick repair will prevent this.
For an open day in June I then recommend planning to apply two spring feeds in the lead up. If you put down one spring feed the lawn can run out of food when it needs it and may look off-colour come open day. Aim to feed the lawn ten weeks before and the second feed three weeks before.
So, to summarise timing of lawn treatments:
- Mid Feb: Moss control
- March / April: Scarify, Hollow-tine and overseed
- Ten weeks before open day: Spring feed and spot weed
- Three weeks before open day: Spring feed and weed.
If you have favourable weather then the lawn should recover well and look great for your open day.
Be cautious about spring scarifying
One word of caution though, if you experience a very dry or cold spring, recovery can be stunted. An open day in June is early in the lawn season. I usually allow a full year for a lawn to recover from a heavy scarification. The worst case scenario is that the lawn may look terrible from a bad scarification.
If you are at all in doubt if you should scarify, then don’t. You may be better off hollow-tining and only following the feeding regime. This method would bring good benefits without damaging the lawn. This all does depend on how your lawn looks now though. If you are at all worried, have a chat with a local lawn care expert.
I hope this has been useful. Thanks for your question.