“Maintaining” a lawn can be a true descent in to extremely hard, seemingly endless, and thankless, work. Some lawns seem to have a grudge against their owners. Others look like they’re trying to escape. Some seem to need counseling every time they grow a new blade of grass. A few lawns will condescend to grow some new green outshoots when they feel like it, usually after they’ve done their Summer-long imitation of a wannabe desert in your front yard.
No, you’re not imagining these things. Lawns are complex things, and in some environments, they can be almost unbelievably difficult to maintain. Lawn owners aren’t always responsible, either. There are some basic issues in lawn maintenance which you actually do need formal qualifications to understand.
The common lawn acts like a single organism in many ways. Grasses naturally grow together, and any kind of disruption affects them all.
There are a lot of possible causes of disruption:
- Bare patches are contagious. They dry out surrounding shallow roots, and the problem naturally spreads. Mowing too much or too low makes the problems even more widespread.
- Drainage affects lawns. A wet patch can turn in to a dead patch pretty easily. Plants need water, but they don’t go swimming much.
- Some soils are antagonistic to grasses. Clays, sandy soils and rocky soils create drainage gaps, therefore gaps in the lawn. Impacted soils prevent root growth.
- Soil biology can be very tricky indeed. Anyone with a PhD in biology will tell you that a combination of poor soil, basic biological processes, and a hot day or super cold day can, and will, devastate your lawn. This is because the soil microorganisms don’t stick around to fry or freeze. They hibernate or leave. If they go, the soil chemistry stops, and the lawns can’t access their nutrients. Rebooting the soil chemistry takes knowledge and the sort of patience most lawn owners can be forgiven for not having in abundance.
- Surrounding vegetation is another issue. Some native plants are great ground covers. They grow on the hint of a few drops of rain, and can compete with lawns for nutrients. They can also overgrow lawns, and are very hard to control.
- Lawns age. Best practice is to recognize the signs of a tired, exhausted lawn and returf or reseed, but that, obviously, has to be done properly.
- Combinations of the above situations are the norm.
Getting professional help
If you’ve somehow got the impression from the above information that lawn maintenance has a cutoff point for lawn owners when it comes to returns on investment of time and effort, it does. Lawn maintenance work really cannot be all DIY. It’s best to stop suffering and get someone else to identify the problems and do the hard work.
We do a lot of lawn maintenance work. If you’ve decided that you’d rather have a life than be an unpaid employee of your lawn, talk to us. We’ll be happy to help.