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Lawns : Sowing

The best sowing months are September and April, but grass can be sown in most months, even in winter, if the soil is moist, neither too wet or too dry. If there is a little heat in the soil, the seed will take in a couple of weeks, but it will take much longer in cold weather. In September, wait until a spell of rain has moistened the soil. In April, wait until the ground has dried out after the rainy months.

For very good quality lawns that will get little wear, and full care, use a Number One seed mixture, which contains fine, low-growing grasses. For an average lawn with reasonable wear, and adequate maintenance, use a Number Two mixture. This contains both fine grasses and tough grasses and it is ideal for most gardens.

A Number Three mixture contains tough, hard-wearing, vigorous grasses. It is suitable for heavy wear situations, but remember that if it does not get heavy wear it will need more cutting. Buy enough seed to sow about 20 grams per square metre. Grass seed is relatively cheap and it is best to achieve a good dense sward from the start.

Choose a still day after a few fine days when the soil is moist but not wet. Rake the soil. Scatter seed in two directions to get an even spread. Using a yard brush, or rake, gently cover the seed with soil.

If there is no rain for a week or so, and the soil has dried out before the seed sprouts, water the soil with a fine sprinkler. Coarse spray droplets wash the seed away – give a single heavy soaking rather than several light ones.

Hig quality lawn

Hig quality lawn

When the grass reaches 7 to 8 centimetres, it should get its first cut. This is just a trim to encourage the young plants to thicken up. Set the mower high. Do not cut too tightly because it weakens the new grass. There will be no need for rolling if the ground has been firmed and allowed to settle before sowing.

Some soft weeds may appear with the new grass, but there is no cause for alarm because the mower will soon control them. These are usually annual weeds of cultivated ground such as groundsel, fumitory and chickweed. They have no storage roots and soon die out under mowing. If ground preparation has been thorough, there will be no perennial weeds at this stage. Mow the new lawn each week through its first growing season.

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