Q: I have a lovely big back garden and three kids that enjoy playing in it, but by the end of the summer the lawn is covered in large dry patches where the paddling pool has been and where they have set up goal posts. What can I do to encourage the grass to grow back and to prevent this from happening again this summer?
A: Short of banning the children completely, your lawn will always be subject to some degree of wear and tear where there is heavy usage and especially when it is concentrated in one area. TruGreen, the lawn care specialist has the following advice for child-proofing your garden for a lush lawn.
Repair and re-seed
Start by repairing the damage; this is best done in early autumn, but if you have missed this then spring is the next best time. The easiest method is reseeding. Start by aerating the area using a fork to relieve the compaction. You may need to apply a top dressing/soil, the sandier the better, which will need lightly forking into the upper lawn surface. The top dressing will then need firming, followed by seeding. The seed will also need lightly forking into the top soil for the best germination. You can then apply a fertiliser which should be applied to the complete lawn not just the seeded area. Finally the lawn will need watering to encourage the seed to germinate, but do not over water as this will wash the seed from the top soil.
Choose your lawn seed carefully and you will reap the rewards. It is important to match the right type of grass seed to your lawn - in this case a utility lawn, one which looks good, but also must be functional and hardwearing. We would recommend that you use a mixture of perennial ryegrass and smooth stalked meadow grass. Before seeding you should also complete a soil analysis to allow for the correct fertiliser to be applied and to achieve the best germination of the seed.
Once your grass is back on form it is vital that it is treated regularly. Aerating once or twice a year will help to relieve the compaction in the soil caused by human traffic across the surface.
Moving play equipment around the lawn, if possible, will spread the wear and tear. In severe cases sand can be added as a top dressing and raked into the aeration holes to further relieve compaction and aid drainage. Finally, applying a lawn feed after particularly heavy usage will speed up recovery. It may also be worth considering a non grass surface around children’s swings and play areas such as rubber or wood chippings.
If you are unsure about how to treat a re-seeded or patchy piece of lawn then it is often best to call in a lawn care specialist such as TruGreen who will undertake a free in-depth lawn analysis and a deliver the best ongoing treatments and results for your lawn.
To find your nearest lawn care specialist call 0800 021 3074 or visit www.trugreen.co.uk .