Now that June has arrived and the summer bedding plants are going in some gardeners may decide they want a lawned area.
There are two options – seed or turf. I prefer turf as it is the quickest and easiest although I know it is not the cheapest. Whichever way you decide, either sowing seed or laying turf, preparation of the area is important.
Digging the plot is best to ensure good drainage even if it takes a while preparing a little at a time.
If the area is rotivated the drainage won’t be as good because of the panning effect. This is caused by the blades scraping over the soil and actually forming a solid pan about 10 inches below the surface and no amount of spiking the lawn later would ever put it right.
After digging the soil needs working down to a fine tilth. This means using a fork to break up the bigger lumps and then a rake.
Rake the area level and firm down by treading, rake again and then roll it. Sprinkle blood, fish and bone at about four ounces per square yard. Lay the turf in a bonding fashion, similar to brickwork, and fill in the joins with coarse sand.
Don’t let the turf dry out but water when the sun has moved off so as to prevent a scorched lawn. The first sign that new turf needs water is when it starts to curl.
If growing lilies in containers they should be bursting into flower any time now. It pays to scratch off a couple of inches of the compost and replace with new with a sprinkling of sulphate of potash. This helps with the flowering and gives more strength to the plants. The strength of the outer tissue is most important to make it difficult for the sap sucking insects to penetrate.
If you see red beetles on lilies just pick them off and destroy them. The lily beetle seems to be coming more common in our area.
Clematis, honeysuckle and hydrangeas also need sulphate of potash at this time of year.
Don’t forget to loosen the top couple of inches of the soil after rain to prevent it forming a crust which allows the sun to take all the moisture out of the soil.
Combat insect pests such as greenfly and froghopper on roses which will now be very active. Give a spray with Provado Ultimate Bug Killer and use Rose Clear 3 every couple of weeks.
If thinking of growing fruit trees they will need shelter from strong winds which may uproot them. Try to combine shelter with plenty of sun.