Here to help
At Supalawns we want to see your lawn in its best condition all year round. We’ve shared some useful tips to guide you through some of the most common lawn problems.
Mowing is one of the most important processes to help you maintain a beautiful looking lawn and there are two factors to consider when doing it: mowing height and frequency.
In order to find the right height, practise cutting it with different settings until you can see what gives your lawn the best appearance. Cut it too short and you may find the exposed areas of soil will lead to an infestation of weeds. A lawn cut at the right height has more ability to absorb nutrients, maintain its colour, minimise weed germination and has a stronger resistance to disease.
Your lawn should be mowed as regularly as possible, at least once a week during the growing seasons in spring and early autumn. Every cut will encourage the grass plant to produce more shoots, which means the more you cut, the thicker your lawn will be. During the hotter summer months we would advise you to increase the cutting height as a longer grass length will help reduce stress and aid moisture retention by self-shading. Throughout winter you should continue cutting if the grass is dry and the soil is firm enough to withhold the pressure of the mower without damaging the lawn. At this time of the year when grass growth has slowed right down, it would be fine to simply cut the lawn once a month.
Good water supply is vital when it comes to taking care of your lawn to ensure it is looking its best. Due to the unpredictability of the British summer, being able to determine the right amount of water your lawn needs can be a challenge.
Your lawn will most likely be suffering from dryness if it’s looking brown or patchy and watering will help restore its colour and a good appearance. We recommend evenings or early mornings and doing this heavily for 1.5-2 hours at a time at least twice a week. By giving the grass a heavy soaking, it will encourage greater penetration into the soil rather than the “little and often” method, which does not have the same impact as the water doesn’t have time to drain efficiently and can cause diseases like Red Thread as a result.
In some cases when the lawn surface is hard and compact, water may run off and not penetrate the grass roots. Supalawns can help by applying a wetting agent to aid moisture retention and improve the flow of water and nutrients into the root system.
Moss is one of the most common lawn problems found in the UK. It is a symptom of excessive moisture and weak grass and usually thrives in shady, damp conditions where surface thatch and soil compaction are prevalent. Mowing the grass too short can also lead to moss and if left undealt with, it will reduce the ability of the grass to grow and can eventually suffocate the lawn completely.
To successfully remove a moss problem, it is important to identify its cause and effect relationship. Lawn raking will help reduce the effect of moss, but a specific programme consisting of scarification and aeration will help eliminate the cause, which is thatch. Moss control is also included in Supalawns’ seasonal fertiliser treatments and takes effect by dehydrating the moss before turning it black and bringing it under control.
Weeds are most active during the growing seasons of spring or early autumn and are often found to produce flowers or seed heads that can ultimately ruin the appearance of a well-maintained lawn.
A number of ways in which weed seeds can enter a lawn is through birds overhead, pets, people or being blown in from neighbouring locations, which usually makes it a never-ending problem. Ongoing treatments are necessary and noticeable results in weed reduction will appear after the first three or four treatments.
Here are some of the most common lawn weeds that exist:
Daisy – One of the most common lawn weeds, the daisy grows as a mat forming plant that can withstand a low cutting height. It flowers continuously throughout the year, peaking during the growing season and is recognisable by its distinct white and yellow flowers.
Dandelion – Easily recognisable by a solitary yellow flower, the dandelion is anchored by a fairly weak stalk and flowers between March and October.
White Clover – Surface level weeds that are the bane of many gardeners’ lawns as it reseeds itself in favourable conditions. Appears as trifoliate leaves with distinct white flowers, usually between May and October.
Plantain – This resilient broad leaf weed grows close to the ground and is able to withstand drought, mowing and trampling. It is frequently found on compacted soils and can leave bare patches once removed as the broad leaves smother and kill the grass upon which it grows.
Mouse-ear Chickweed – A perennial weed that is common in well-managed lawns; it forms a dense mat that can easily tolerate a low mowing height.
Creeping Buttercup – Flowers around March or April and produces bright yellow petals with dark green 3 toothed leaflets on stems that can reach one foot tall; common in damp lawns and heavy soils.
Lesser Celandine – Yellow star-like flowers that appear between February and May.
Lesser Trefoil – This annual weed, which flowers between May and August, can be a headache for gardeners; it grows fairly low to the surface and can withstand mowing. Appears as 3 small oval leaves with a yellow flower.
Slender Speedwell – Prevalent in amenity grassland but also common in lawns, this low growing, perennial weed is recognised by its small circular lilac flowers that usually have a single petal smaller than the others. It is able to withstand close mowing, can survive in most types of soil and once established it can be difficult to remove. The weed can be spread by mowing if clippings are not disposed of as small fragments can regenerate under the right conditions.
Red Thread distance
Red Thread close
Fairy Rings Type 1
Fairy Rings Type 2
Fairy Rings Type 3
There are many variations of lawn disease, but it is generally a product of fungus which attacks the grass plant and deprives it of essential nutrients.
Drought, moss, soil compaction and poor mowing are all contributing factors as they cause the grass plant to become stressed. A weakened, more vulnerable lawn will then show signs of discolouration, brown dry patches or fungi; the most common ones found in the UK are red thread, fusarium patch and fairy rings.
Red Thread – From a distance the symptoms can appear as sporadic red or brown patches but upon closer inspection red needle type threads can be found growing on the grass plant leaves. Humid conditions are usually its main cause, but it can also occur from drought, thatch, soil compaction or poor mowing. A regular lawn maintenance programme will help keep this disease at bay.
Fusarium – A cool weather disease that commonly appears in lawns with excessive thatch, poor drainage or one that is enclosed with little air movement. Symptoms can appear as small circular patches and causes the grass plant to change from green to orange brown, followed by a straw colour.
Fairy Rings – There are three types of Fairy Rings disease that appear in ring-like circles:
Deep green, healthy-looking grass is surrounded by an outer ring of dead grass and is the result of the soil being starved of essential nutrients
These are visible dark circles of healthy-looking grass that upset the look of a lawn
Whilst it doesn’t have any noticeable effect on the grass itself, mushrooms and fungi grow on the surface in a patchy ring-like form and usually appear around autumn.
Leaf Spot – It first appears like cigarette burns on individual blades of grass before quickly spreading to form larger areas of brown, dried out grass. The disease favours warm and humid weather conditions and a stressed grass plant is more likely to be affected. Ensuring the grass is given a regular supply of feed and has access to essential nutrients will help reduce the likelihood of disease.
Rust – The affected area of grass appears rust coloured due to the yellow and orange spores that grow on the leaf surfaces. It’s usually prevalent in the early parts of spring or autumn when the weather is warm and wet with higher levels of humidity. Reduced incidence and control can be achieved through regular lawn feed, frequent mowing or mechanical procedures to help alleviate soil compaction and improve the flow of nutrients to the plant’s root system.
Most lawn diseases can be prevented by good cultural practices alongside an integrated disease management plan. A professional fungicide treatment may have to be carried out to avoid any serious infestation and as these products are not available in DIY stores, it may be best to get in touch with us as soon as possible if you believe you have a lawn disease problem.
A lawn pest is something that lives within the lawn, feeding on the grass plant and killing its root structure which leads to a rapid deterioration in its overall condition. It is important to identify the pest and the required action as quickly as possible in order to prevent extensive damage to the lawn. We’ve identified the most common lawn pests in the UK:
Leatherjackets – The larval stage of what is commonly known as Crane Fly or Daddy Longlegs. Their one-year life cycle begins around late summer or early autumn when the female adult lays her eggs in the soil. They hatch around 2-3 weeks later and feed on the top layer of the plant’s root system throughout winter, but as spring approaches and the weather becomes milder and the leatherjackets grow in size, damage will be more extensive. Secondary damage to the lawn can also be caused by birds scratching on the surface to feed on the grubs. A control product is the best solution to reduce pest population and restore your lawn to its best condition.
Chafer Grub – The larvae stage of the chafer beetle, identified by their large curved white bodies, light brown heads and 3 pairs of legs around their head. Mating season for the adult chafer grubs, which appear like reddish-brown beetles, is between May and July and involves each female grub laying up to 20 eggs over several days. Compacted soil is often an ideal habitat for eggs so regular lawn aeration can help reduce incidence as part of an integrated pest management plan. After a two-week period, the eggs begin to hatch and feed on the grass roots, but noticeable effects won’t be visible until early autumn, where yellow patches will appear on the surface and as a result, the turf actually becomes detached from the soil beneath and can literally be pulled back like lifting a rug. Also enticing predators such as birds, badgers and foxes to add further damage to the lawn, this problem requires professional treatment to eradicate the pests and protect the lawn from future infestation.
Worms – There are around 27 different species of worms in the UK but only 3 of these create casts which negatively impact the aesthetic qualities of a lawn. Worms actually play an important role in the incorporation of organic material into soil and can improve fertility and aeration, however the cast they return to the surface can be unsightly and it provides a perfect germination bed for weed seeds. Whilst there is no way of controlling a worm problem, mowing the grass at the right height will make the casts less evident visually.
Ants – Ants prefer light soil that they can push up to the surface, creating large nests that look like mole hills. There are two main types with the red ones being more destructive and whilst there isn’t a specific form of treatment, we would advise brushing out the soil from the nest in order to avoid it being smeared into the lawn by the mower. Applying ant killer products can also be tried, similarly if you break up the nest and apply boiling water directly to the source but you must avoid scalding the grass.
Moles – Moles can be extremely destructive to a well-maintained lawn, producing mounds of earth that can suddenly appear overnight or digging out complex burrow systems which can lead to an uneven surface where tunnels have collapsed. They can quickly establish themselves in a location due to their ability to tunnel up to 4 metres an hour and normally flourish in sandy, well-drained soils where there is a high population of earthworms to feed on. They do not normally eat plants but may eat through the plant roots that interfere with their tunnels. Natural repellents such as garlic granules offer a humane solution to discourage activity, but moles are territorial and once established in your lawn they can be hard to eradicate. Supalawns has the experience and knowhow to deal with the problem and deliver effective results.
Chafer Grub damage