The Keys to Recover a Damaged Lawn

Yesterday made a great day to garden. It started blowing quite a bit of wind, but as the hours progressed, the air subsided leaving a placid afternoon to work in the garden. As I told you a couple of days ago, I needed to devote time to the lawn, which after a spring with works and a summer of carelessness has spoiled a lot. I decided to plant the grass a long time ago, I have little surface area but it is something that made me very excited. The choice of the variety is important, I recommend you read how to choose the best lawn.

The image above is from the spring of 2013. The grass shone thick and beautiful, but its appearance this year is much worse (following images): weak, sparse and with a straw color. The area where it grows receives a lot of suns and I adjust the irrigation a lot so as not to waste a lot of water. It does not usually catch fungi or diseases, in fact, I have never needed to treat it for that, but if I neglect and stop watering it for a few days, it dries quickly and impoverishes. And that’s exactly what happened this summer between the renovation we did at home and a couple of times the sprinklers have broken down.

To begin with, the first thing I have done has been to reap it. It has really been an easy task, I have barely filled a grocery bag with what I have cut. Here my old lawnmower, which despite having about 20 years is still working quite well.

This oxalis begins to sprout among the grass, an invasive clover that produces a yellow flower and I can only keep grating by tearing or cutting the seedlings. I prevent it from blooming so that seeds do not form and expand further, but I suspect that it also reproduces by the root.

Several species of plants grow on my lawn. The most abundant is the fine grass (Cynodon action) mixed with dichondra repens, but in one corner it grows thick grass (Kikuyu) because it was an area where the fine one did not extend well and I tried this one.

The thick grass extends a lot and immediately invades the area under the hedge. So that it does not affect the growth of yours, what I do is eliminate it from the base by tearing it away, if I cut it right away it would grow and I would have the problem again.

Once I have finished performing these first two tasks (cutting and tearing the grass under the hedge) I remove all the remains with the fine barbed rake, it works best to sweep leaves on the grass.

Many stolons appear that have lengthened extraordinarily looking for water and nutrients in other areas of the soil. Those short because they form hard stems that get hooked when passing the rake. I am not very demanding, I do not intend to have the lawn of a golf course, but neither a ground full of crossed stems. I cut them flush with the scissors, the roots do not die and they will develop new leaves.

Now that we have done the first cleaning, we should stop to look at the ground and observe that there are still traces of grass. They are tiny and so attached to the earth that they seem to be part of it. Be careful because it is not, they are really covering the ground and waterproofing it, preventing the passage of water, fertilizer, and air. We must remove this layer, which is called felt.

The felt is removed by scarification, which consists of scraping the earth to break and remove this entire surface layer. For this work, I use the hard barbed rake, passing it hard on the ground. The grass area that I have is small and I can do it manually, but when it comes to larger extensions, motor scarifiers are used.

As you can see in the photograph, a lot of dead grass is mixed with remains of leaves and roots. Do not worry to see how much material is lost, it is really beneficial for the grass.

The next process to be carried out is important to oxygenate the soil, it is aerated, and it consists of puncturing the soil and making small holes in it to favor the penetration of air and water. By drilling the ground we also move the soil and help it to prevent it from compacting.

For large extensions, automatic motorized aerations are used, but on small surfaces, it can be done manually. Traditionally the garden gallows have been used to prick the ground with their spikes, but I discovered this gadget that is much more comfortable for me. It is a pair of aerated skates, they are placed under shoes and walking on the grass. Be careful if you try it because you are literally stuck to the ground and you have to lift your feet slowly and carefully. Come on, they are not for running.

The following image shows the holes that open in the ground. You have to take several walks on the surface of the land so that it is well punctured.

Finally, it is only a little help with extra nutrients. The ideal product, in this case, is recent because in addition to incorporating organic matter (peat or compost) it carries a certain proportion of sand in its composition, material that helps prevent soil compaction. In my case, with a very clay soil, the contribution of sand is indispensable.

And now we have finished the therapeutic session. We will water thoroughly and not neglect that the grass receives the water it needs in the coming days. In my region, the temperatures continue to be warm and I am sure that the grass will recover.

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