Summer lawnsTools and tricks for troublesome turf

17 March 2006

Problem lawns can be transformed in time for summer as long as you start soon and use the right tools and the right tricks.

That's the encouraging news from Gardening Which? following new trials on lawns and gardening equipment.

Last October a Gardening Which? survey of 2200 readers revealed that 94 per cent had encountered problems with their lawns the previous spring, ranging from moss to weeds and patchy grass.

But Gardening Which? Editor? Julia Boulton says help is at hand: 'If you've got a problem lawn, you're not alone! Children and outdoor living can cause havoc with lawns but the good news is almost all lawn problems can be fixed in time for summer if you make a start soon.'

Gardening Which?'s five top tips for a glorious lawn are:

  • For a chemical quick-fix, both soggy and starved lawns showed major improvements with weed, feed and mosskiller, such as EverGreen Complete.

  • Scarifying - removing light moss and dead grass (thatch) - stimulates and thickens grass. Spring-tine rakes, which feature sprung tines to keep in contact with the soil surface, will get rid of most types of thatch. The best rake on trial was the Spear and Jackson County Deluxe at GBP 23, which pulled out twice as much thatch as some of the other rakes on test.
  • A heavy build-up of thatch will need stronger treatment. The manual Wolf-Garten Roller Moss Removal Rake (GBP 48) removed plenty of thatch and was easy to use, while the electric Al-Ko Comfort 32 VLE Combi Aerator (GBP 130) made light work of a tough job.
  • Aerating the lawn helps drainage problems. The Sheen Hollow Tine Aerator got to grips with the job perfectly, though it's a little pricy at GBP 54.
  • Cutting a lawn's edges once or twice a year instantly improves its appearance. The Senator Classic Wooden Handled Stainless Steel (GBP15) was well made and penetrated the ground easily.