February - Preparing for spring
Isn’t it strange that from November all the gardening programmes disappear from our TV screens as if gardens do nothing all winter. Certainly lawns do appear to hibernate along with the borders and beds, and while there’s not much growth up top, down below in the soil the grass plants are working hard to stay alive. Unless you did some winter preparation the soil beneath will be compacted by rain and lack of air, so when spring begins to warm up the grass roots will really struggle to develop. Therefore, February is a great time to do a little housekeeping. Come March and April you may find yourself reseeding bald patches, scarifying the lawn to remove the dead material and giving the grass a much-needed feed. Right now however you just want to get yourself, and your lawn, ready.
- If you haven’t already done it you need to remove all debris from the lawn – leaves, twigs, etc. so that as much sunlight and warmth can penetrate the soil. Leaving wet leaves on your lawn can smother and kill the grass so rake them up as regularly as possible. This will also reveal any bare patches which you can mark for repair next month.
- If the ground is still freezing you can wait until next month, but otherwise dig out your manual aerator or you can hire a petrol machine from us. You don’t need to bother filling in the holes with sand – just remove the cores from the surface and add them to your compost as they’re full of bacteria that will help accelerate the breakdown in your compost heap.
- As the big freeze recedes you can start levelling out any dips of lumps and then re-turf, giving the roots plenty to time to establish in time for spring growth. However if it is still cold, then this can 'lift' new turf. If this happens, wait for a dry period in the weather and then gently use a garden roller to push the turf back into position.
- If you are planning to scarify in the next month or two, now is a good time to use a moss control. Apply moss killer at the same time as you give your lawn a feed as this will control moss spores and aid disease control.
- If you haven’t already done it, get your mower serviced and sharpen those blades. In fact, it’s a great idea to get a spare blade so that you never run the risk of ripping the grass with a blunt one.
- If there are warm spells this month, your lawn will continue to grow. You may need to trim your lawn as a result but keep this to a bare minimum and be careful not to cut more than one third of the length.
- If there isn’t any mowing to do why not get hold of your edging tools and tidy up those untidy edges?
- Observe whether puddles of water appear on your lawn after heavy rain. This is a sign that your soil is compacted underneath the grass. Make a note of where the ‘puddling’ occurs and make sure you aerate your lawn in these areas.