Les’s Patch column

Les Foden.
Les Foden.

This summer’s hot weather caused problems with lawns and bowling greens allowing the weeds and moss to take over from grass.

It isn’t an insurmountable problem if the lawn has been taken over by moss. Moss is a clear sign that the ground is poorly drained, and moss killers based on dichlorophen and iron of sulphur are available. Unfortunately no matter how often you use them the moss will return unless the underlying problem is cured.

First apply the killer then, when the moss is dead, vigorously rake it out.

Improve the drainage by spiking with an aerator. For a small area a garden fork will do. Drive it three inches (7.5cm) into the soil allowing about six inches (25cm) between each spiking, then scatter a top dressing of dry, horticultural grit or sand at two pounds a square yard.

Where there are bare patches on the lawn scratch the surface, sow seed and cover with compost then water well. To speed up germination cover with clear polythene.

To remove dead thatch from lawns I think it is always best to hire a power scarifier, and a real benefit is to scarify the lawn both ways, up and down and then crossways.

In addition to removing thatch it is an excellent tool for removing moss from the lawn, but, very importantly, don’t scarify until the moss is dead otherwise the spores will spread.

As to the benefits of spiking a lawn, it obviously improves the drainage but fill the holes with sand and the grass will make new roots into the sand and grow really well.

If thinking of planting trees always remember that trees under four feet will grow much faster than taller ones planted at the same time.

Obviously the cost of taller trees is about twice as much as smaller ones, but the smaller trees will soon catch up with the larger ones, which makes a saving for the gardener.

Place grease bands around the trunks of fruit trees, a simple device which prevents the winter moths crawling up the trees to lay eggs. The bands and banding compounds are available at garden centres.

Spray blackcurrants, raspberries and strawberries with a systemic insecticide (Provado Ultimate Bug Killer) simply because if we experience a late surge of good weather it will stop any attacks of greenfly or other pests. But autumn fruiting raspberries should not be sprayed until the fruit has finished.