It pays to follow the times-two rule, as former Gardeners’ World host Toby Buckland explains how ‘double-doing’ can benefit your lawn
Measure twice, cut once. If you want to do something well it pays to do it twice, whether you’re pruning – check twice before you cut – or planting (remember to dig a hole at least twice as wide as the roots).
The times-two rule also applies when cleaning paving slabs. They always come up clean on the second blast from the jet-washer, and as for deep cultivation nothing comes close to double digging. It might be heavy work and its efficacy debatable, but it’s kept cash-strapped chiropractors busy for years!
‘Double-doing’ makes the most difference, though, on the lawn. Mowing twice a week is the fastest way to achieve a thick and healthy sward, as cutting encourages the grass to grow sideways and fill gaps.
At The Double
If, like me, you share your garden with a wannabe Ronaldo, unless the lawn is well fed, it’ll turn into a right old Messi as the World Cup’s starting! Feeding helps improve a lawn’s ability to cope with wear and tear by reducing the moss that thrives in a tired and thin lawn.
I’ve been applying an eco-fertiliser and moss killer to my grass that feeds the sward, encouraging unwanted moss to grow up into the blades of the mower and killing what the blades can’t with a naturally occurring moss-eating bacteria.
When dosing any lawn with fertiliser, moss killer or weed-and-feed, a wheeled applicator that delivers the amount recommended on the side of the pack is really helpful, especially on larger lawns. Get it wrong and the results will be patchy or large swathes of grass will be burnt black by the slats in the feed.
Get It Right
That’s why it always pays to apply the fertiliser at half strength in two passes, ideally at right angles, so the feed falls evenly into the sward. If the granules in the first run empty sooner than expected, adjust the rate of the second or omit altogether. And when it comes to feeding grass, feed twice but never give second helpings.
Lawn Feed Essentials
Lawn applicators have a hopper to hold the feed and an adjustable slot at the base. As the wheels turn, a paddle inside pushes the feed towards the slot so it falls out evenly. They suit medium and large lawns, with smaller areas best fed by hand. Calculate the size of your lawn and weigh out the amount of fertiliser recommended to cover the same number of metres squared. Divide the feed into two batches and, wearing gloves, broadcast the first over the lawn, keeping the second batch back to top-up/catch-in missed areas.
Toby’s Top Tips
1 Some feed formulations will stain paving, so make sure you fill the applicator buckets on the grass. If you get any spills, disperse with a broom.
2 If you are killing moss, you need to mow and scarify (rake) the lawn in two directions, then apply the moss killer.
All photos: Alamy/TI Media