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Grounds & gardens – April 2020

Univ Main QuadWe have experienced superb weather this April, with temperatures into the mid-twenties and the hottest April on record since 1659, however, during the last few days of the month we experienced a months’ worth of rainfall.

With the rest of the garden team furloughed I have had the task of trying to get around and maintain the all of the sites as best I can, including my first love, the Sportsground. I can’t grumble though, as I’ve had the joy of watching springtime around me in its all its glory – mowing is also quite therapeutic and great for the mind.

For the past month I have literally been a mowing machine – the grass has really grown quickly and it’s a case of keeping on top of maintaining the lawns. Turf care is my passion and stems from early days in my career as a greenkeeper.

Univ Sports GroundThis month it is an ideal time to scarify and improve your lawns at home – everyone wants a healthy lawn. For this to be achieved you need to remove thatch, which is made up of an accumulation of dead organic matter. Thatch is a problem it builds up through compaction, poor aeration practices, poor drainage and excessive feeding of nitrogen, which causes flush growth. These are all things that can prevent you from having a desirable lawn.

Scarification is the name given to remove thatch accumulation by mechanical means. This increases airflow and oxygen, and offers availability of nutrients for the plant.

You can scarify by using a Springbok rake or use a motorised scarifier. I would recommend doing this in the spring and repeating in the autumn to achieve a healthy lawn.

A poorly maintained lawn is also is a perfect environment for moss to thrive, but what it doesn’t like is hot weather. If moss becomes an issue for you, I would suggest a sulphate of iron product to harden the turf, which stops the moss in its tracks. Rake up the dead moss 7-10 days later when it has blackened off. Once you have done this, I recommend seeding, lightly top dress and fertilise with a pre-seed fertiliser.

Monthly Gardening Tips

Dead-heading tulips and daffodils will allow bulbs to store energy for next year’s display.

Consider mulching and top dressing beds and borders – add an organic fertiliser (blood, fish and bone) to give plants the kick start they need. Mulching will suppress weeds, helps retain moisture and nutrients and helps in a low maintenance garden.

Bluebells are in full bloom at this time of year. Whilst they are active and growing, it is a good time to transplant them, as the roots will settle in quickly.

Robbie Eason, Head of Grounds Maintenance, and the Team.

Find out more on our Gardens page.

Published: 1 May 2020

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