Give your lawn a healthscoreI’m not ashamed to admit that I’m obsessed with lawn health. As I drive around Belfast, Holywood, Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus, and Glengormley. I can’t help noticing how people’s lawns are looking. And I find myself giving them an instant healthscore.
This circular lawn is the owner’s pride and joy and rightly so.A very poor lawn with bare patches, pale grass and weeds, would probably score a 2/10 for not being paved over. It breaks my heart to see gardens being buried under concrete. While there is some semblance of a lawn there is a good chance it can be renovated. A well cared-for lawn with good coverage – maybe the odd weed and a bit of moss would score a 6. It wouldn’t take long to coax it into being more beautiful. An immaculate lawn with neatly trimmed edges, even colour and a nice thick sward and a beautiful velvety texture would score 7.5. To score a 9 or more, for me, a lawn needs to have a real wow factor. It needs to glow with health. That’s something that’s hard to describe in words, but when I see it, I know it. Just as when I see a dog in tip top condition or an athlete at the peak of fitness. It’s not the shape or the size or the lack of weeds that makes a lawn perfect, it’s the deep green colour, the way it shines in the sunlight, the way it exudes luxury. If a 6/10 lawn is a well maintained Audi, a 9/10 lawn is an Aston Martin DB9 in Carbon Black lovingly polished, with a leather interior and new car smell.
How to achieve a high scoring lawn without spending a fortuneIf you care at all about what your lawn says about you, you’ll want it to score closer to 9/10 than to 2/10. The good news is, that’s not difficult to achieve. What you need to do is give your grass plants, and the soil they are growing in, regular nutritional supplements to keep them in good order. Greenkeepers are already privy to that information, which accounts for why golf greens and bowling greens look amazing all year round. If you want a really beautiful lawn that will add value to your property and make your neighbours jealous, then bringing a thrice yearly application of organic growth enhancer into your lawn care regime will definitely help you to achieve that. (Provided of course that you don’t neglect mowing, feeding and annual renovation work)
What is organic seaweed growth enhancer?The organic growth enhancer that has helped so many of Premier Lawns’ customers achieve their dream lawns is made from seaweed. Seaweed has been used as a soil improver by farmers and gardeners for centuries. It’s from a sustainable source and it contains many of the micronutrients that plants need but that are not always available in the soil. It also contains plant growth hormones.
The importance of micronutrientsThe lawn fertilisers that you can buy from the garden centre often contain just 3 main ingredients. Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. Those are important plant nutrients and your lawn will certainly not thrive without them. They are the equivalent to our 3 food groups, carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Also considered to be vital to plant health are calcium, chlorine, magnesium, sodium and sulphur. Just as we need tiny amounts of vitamins and minerals in our diets to keep us healthy, plants need micronutrients. These are needed in tiny amounts but without them, a lawn will never achieve that 9/10 score. Micronutrients include, barium, boron, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nikel, selenium, vanadium and zinc. You’ve probably heard those referred to in human and pet health too. Most living things need similar basic nutrients, the difference between plants and animals is the way those nutrients get into the body. Now that’s quite an impressive list of nutritional requirements. Some of those elements are present in the soil, some can be found in professional grade lawn feeds. However, because of the way they react with elements in our lovely Belfast clay soils, they quickly get locked away where they are inaccessible to the plants. From talking to my greenkeeper buddies, I have sourced a really good, seaweed based foliar feed that is absorbed through the plants’ leaves and therefore bypasses the soil. That way the micronutrients don’t get locked up in the soil.
One of my favourite lawns. It just exudes health and vitality
Iron for energyI’ve talked about Iron in previous blogs. It’s an important component in chlorophyll. You might remember chlorophyll from your GCSE days. It’s the substance that makes leaves green and it allows the leaf to harness sunlight and make the sugars that fuel the plant. A plant that is short of iron is pale coloured, weak and insipid. That’s why I always want to apply an Iron-rich seaweed tonic to lawns that are growing fast in springtime and to lawns that are getting ready to face winter. It’s a good way to make sure the plants can make as much energy as they need to thrive.
Plant hormones accelerate growthEeeek! Whenever we hear the word “growth hormone” we think of unnaturally large plants doing strange things. But that just doesn’t happen. Grass can only grow as tall or as fast as it is genetically programmed to do. Plant hormones make sure that growth does happen. In a lawn that’s important – because we want strong plants that can out-grow the moss and weeds. Plant hormones such as Auxins, plump up individual cells making the plant perkier, healthier looking and more robust. If you think that sounds like an advert for face-cream then – yes, the effects of some plant hormones on your lawn are very similar to the effects of some moisturisers on your skin. Which is how they achieve that 9/10. (Don’t go rubbing plant hormones on your skin though – not unless a skin expert tells you it’s OK) The plant hormones contained in the organic seaweed foliar feed I use, also make their way down through the plants into the roots. Here they stimulate root growth. The more roots a plant has, the better it can absorb water and nutrients from the soil. And do you know what else I like about it? The seaweed that the product is made from is gathered in Ireland. I like that it’s local and that using it helps our country’s economy.
Organic seaweed feed and the soilMost of the organic seaweed feed I use is absorbed through the leaves on your lawn. I apply it using a sprayer (it’s liquid) and I make sure that I use a fine nozzle for really accurate application. However, it’s inevitable that some of the feed will find it’s way into the soil. And actually, I don’t mind that at all. Seaweed contains Alginates. Alginates are a well-known ‘clay improver’ and also help to hold water in the topsoil. Meanwhile, seaweed encourages microbes within the soil to convert unavailable nutrients into a form that plants can actually use. With the clay soils around Belfast – anything I can do to improve them is a bonus. Don’t get me wrong, one application of this stuff isn’t going to transform the soil, but regular doses over the course of a year or more can and will make a big difference to the look and feel of your lawn. It’ll help improve your veg patch, your flower beds and your shrubberies too – so if you want me to treat those while I’m in your garden – just ask.
My first choice of organic and sustainable seaweed feed is made from plants gathered locally from the North Coast.