I am sorry if this heading gives false hope to all middle aged men who are balding prematurely and mistakenly may think I have discovered a new Japanese cure. I am talking about Kikuyu the very tough gama type grass seed which I have decided to deploy against the scratching of my Labradors on the lawn; which if you think about it could have been a Pink Floyd album! At this time of the year all lawns start to suffer from wear and tear and none more so than the lawn where we sit and take our morning tea. It’s not that the dogs dig, they would never dare do that, no, they stretch in ostentatious ways as if they were in the Mr Labrador stretching competition. This involves lying sideways together and then stretching their back and front legs as far out as possible then drawing them back in whilst scratching the lawn. They know it annoys me but they exist under the protection of my wife who says their only stretching and it’s just grass anyway!
The outcome is that I have to repair this particular part of the lawn every year. So if you have over indulged dogs, or, rowdy children who insist on running on your lawn, this is how you repair it.
28th August: Things I have been doing lately. Repairing the lawn.
Stage 1: The first stage in repairing your lawn is to assess the type of damage and the position of the damage. In my case it is simple wear and tear through Labradoragedon. The photos below shows both the damagers and the damage. If you look closely at these photos you will see a metal mesh showing through the grass. This could either mean my grass is a cyborg terminator, or, it could be down to the fact that I developed the technique of adding mesh to reseeds. More about this later.
Stage 2: If you have holes or very deep scratches then these will need to be filled. To do this I use top soil that I have saved in a sack from various planting holes during the year. I sieve this directly into my wheelbarrow and also add some shop bought compost, also sieved, to give it a bit of a boost. It is important that you sieve as grass seed does not thrive in stoney or rubbish littered soil. The photo below shows the equipment you need. Notice the trug beside the wheel barrow, this is to pour the sieved stones etc into for later disposal.
Stage 3: In this stage you need to spread the soil over the area to be patched. This is an important stage so take your time. Spread the soil by spade then rake over carefully with a leaf rake. Once you are happy with your work, roller the whole area. The rollering will quickly reveal the various humps and bumps. You then need to re-spread more soil and rake again. Repeat this process until you are happy that it is more or less level. Whilst in my case I am obviously not trying for a perfect lawn, but just one that does not look like something out of Jurassic Park after the dinosaurs have rampaged across. The photo below shows my efforts at rollering. By way of special pleading I should point out that my roller has a large dent in it, which means “it’s rollering Jim but not as we know it”.
Stage 4: This stage involves spreading your chosen grass seed. There are hundreds of different grass seeds suitable for areas whether they are shady, dry, wet or sunny – you just have to choose the right one. In this case I have chosen to use Kikuyu. This is an extremely tough Grass from East Africa in an area that is the home of the Gikuyu tribe (I am not making this up). Anyway, I chose Kikuyu because it has lots of virtues: it is hard wearing, drought resistant, regenerates itself and is deadly to Labradors; alright the last bit I made up but don’t tell Nero and Tango. The only real draw back with Kikuyu is that it is very expensive, costing about €26 for a very small packet. This means that unless you are a millionaire you could not seed a large lawn with Kikuyu. A pleasing aspect of Kikuyu that you can see from the photo below is that it looks like “hundreds and thousands”. One last thing, you must roller again once you have spread the grass seed. I know that there is disagreement about raking in or rollering spread grass seed, but with Kikuyu you must roller. If you don’t have a roller, don’t worry just tread it in.
Stage 5: The last stage is to protect the new grass seed so that at least has a chance to grow. As I said earlier I have adopted a technique over a number of Labrador plagued years of placing strips of mesh over reseeded areas. This has two main benefits it stops the soil being eroded by foot traffic or dog scratching, and it disappears once the grass has grown. The first photo below shows the prepared and seeded soil with its mesh overlay. The second photo shows the area covered by garden fleece. Both the mesh and the fleece are secured in place by the type of large garden staples normally used to hold down artificial grass. The overall benefit of the fleece is that it stops you feeding the neighbourhood bird population, whilst at the same time letting light and water through to the seed.
Finally, if you are going to repair grass and reseed then you have a window of opportunity now that lasts roughly till the end of September, after this you will have to wait till next March. I of course couldn’t wait as the dogs would have dug trenches by next March.