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Lawn maintenance

There are specialist companies that offer seasonal lawn maintenance and use machinery to quickly weed, feed, aerate and scarify your lawn. This can be a cost effective solution as it saves you the expense of buying equipment that will only be used once or twice a year – it also saves a lot of time and effort.

However, if you can invest some time and effort in maintaining your lawn, here is some helpful tips and information on equipment and tools.

Aerating 

This is spiking or puncturing the lawn with a garden fork or specialist tool to improve drainage and allow air to the roots. Lawns usually need aerating once a year– particularly if the soil is heavy and more likely to get compacted. 

You can reduce the need to aerate the lawn by not walking on it in wet weather, not using a heavy mower, and not rolling the lawn.  

Aerating the lawn by pressing the tines of a garden fork or aerator into the soil can strain the back, arms and hands as you lift the tool out.  Always 'warm up' with a few gentle stretches, do a little at a time, and keep your back straight. 

Equipment and tools for aerating

  • Choose one of the lighter stainless steel border forks to aerate the lawn.
  • A lawn spiker with hollow tines aerates the lawn and removes small plugs of soil as you go. There are versions with two or four tines on a crossbar with a long bar-style handle.  You can use this tool without bending.
  • A light rotary aerating machine can be pushed along like a lawn mower to spike the lawn. It might take some forward pressure to push.
  • If you have strong legs, you can aerate the lawn by walking over it wearing spiked boards that fit over your shoes. 

Scarifying

This is raking the lawn hard with a spring-tined lawn rake to remove the build up of old waste matter, or 'thatch’. This allows in light, air and moisture for grasses to thrive and is usually needed annually.

Scarifying is the most arduous lawn maintenance task, using a spring-tined lawn rake. Lifting, dropping and dragging the rake can jolt the arms and strain the back. It can take strength to draw the rake towards you. Always warm up with a few gentle stretches, do a little at a time, and keep your back straight.

Equipment and tools for scarifying

  • Some mowers can be fitted with a scarifying tool so that you don’t need to rake the lawn to remove old matter.
  • A spring-tined lawn rake is best for clearing lawn 'thatch' – although a stiff 'besom’ broom can work for some people. 

Feeding

A high-nitrogen feed in spring improves grass growth.  Feeding with a higher-phosphorus feed in the autumn encourages root development.

Equipment and tools for feeding

  • A wheeled lawn feed applicator gives an even distribution of lawn feed and is particularly useful if you walk with a stick or use a wheelchair. You can also apply one of the mixes of feed and weedkiller in this way.
  • Soluble feed or weedkiller can be applied using a spray attachment on your hose, or pump-spray and lance.