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Problems with a newly turfed lawn

hi all, first time here, quite new to the whole gardening scene. This is my first garden and i've started by laying my a new lawn  this summer. I have followed the recommended practices so ensured sufficient new topsoil, pre turf fertilizer, laid the new turf as reccomended. I watered generously for the first three weeks, then after the first cut, I gradually reduced the amount of watering. Now I water maybe once or twice a week, depending on the weather. 

Overall the lawn is looking good,  but I have a couple of problems, and am hoping some of you more experienced gardeners would be able to help me. 

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On closer inspection or when viewing the lawn from the bedroom windows, you can see quite a few small brown patches. I think this is due to insufficient watering, but needed a second opinion, because I feel I am watering enough, and don't want to over do it. 

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Another problem I am seeing is in the area where the garden seems to be in the shade a little more than the rest of the garden, and as such seems to stay damp longer. In this area, the lawn feels quite spongy to walk over and looks like the below

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I feel as if I should get a roller over it to 'smooth it over'.any idea what could be causing this?

And finally, the lawn is now starting to look as if there is a lot of thatch in it, but I have been told that I should not scarify a new turn lawn for the first 12 months. Is this correct? Is my problem even thatch?  See below for an example. 

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If so, is the given advise of not scarifying the lawn in the first 12months not flexible? 

I have been running the grass rake through the lawn on a weekly basis, but not sure if this doing enough for the lawn.

Anyway, that's enough for my first post.

Thank you for listening, I hope to hear from you all. 

Many thanks

nmp

Posts

  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,115

    Looks like you have done a nice job to me and I think you have to have some patience with it. I certainly wouldn't be scarifying it this year and I wouldn't do any more lawn raking. It needs to settle. Laying a lawn in the summer is always a challenge but you've done the hard part of getting it established.

    Seems as though some of your patches of brown are alongside a brickwork structure and this is often a problem in that the brickwork sucks out all the moisture (there may we'll be less top soil in this area also depending on the construction of the wall below lawn level).

    Shade is also a challenge as you are seeing and with your watering you may find the water is staying in this area longer hence it feeling more spongy, you may also be getting moss growth here which would give this feeling. 

    Looking at your pics I wonder if you have some red thread there. Watering late in the day and humid nights at this time of the year can lead to this.

    As said, I would wait and let your lawn develop. In areas where you continue to get issues I would create planting borders. Sometimes you just can't fight against nature (shade) and structures (patios, brickwork) etc so you have to work with them rather than against them.

    Many folks would be very jealous of your lawn. Just needs some time and patience.

  • nmpnmp Posts: 3

    Good morning Dave, thank you for the rapid reply. I think you may be onto something with the red thread. What exactly is that? I will google it shortly. I have watered late in the day quite often, especially if it's been a few dry days in a row and if I have to water during the week days. By the time I get home from work and get to it, it could be 8pm. i will try to avoid that going forward. Perhaps you could clarify a point for me. I've neen told that I shouldn't water while the sun is at its hottest as that can damage the roots, but I've also read that I ought to be watering during the morning. Which is the correct approach? 

    The plan is to eventually put in borders along both sides. I have put down the turf for now because I don't have a lot of time to spare in the garden right now and didn't want empty borders that I would have to maintain and weed etc. Once funds and time permit, I'll get started on the borders. 

    Thanks also for clarifying the scarifying rule. I will refrain. In your experience, do the last couple of pictures show thatch forming or are these just brown grass patches? 

    Many thanks for your help!

  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,115

    Take a look here for red thread

    http://www.lawnsmith.co.uk/topic/pests-diseases/red-thread-pink-patch

    For watering ideally you want to do it first thing in the morning.

    Thatch is generally on the soil surface or sub-surface. Your images of the grass just appear to show cuttings from what I can see. If you peel back the grass a little then you should see the soil, if you don't and you see a bed of debris and matter this is thatch. I certainly wouldn't scarily it. This is a pretty harsh process for such a new lawn.

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,628

    The lawn is looking very good for one just started up this summer. The sponge-like areas you mentioned, you could start building a small layer or more topsoil mixed with some lawn-sand. This creates a drier layer over the shaded areas. Over damp lawns, the grass tend to grow thinner and by adding some top layer of drier soil and sand, the grass blades can slowly knit together. Do this bit by bit each time you have cut the lawn.

    It's a bit time consuming, but you sound like a person that wants to take pride in the lawn, so it will not be achieved with just mowing. Work the mixture in the areas using a stiff broom or the back of the rake. Resist scarifying this lawn for the time being, it is very new and I doubt there is enough thatch there yet. 

    In the drier areas around the edge, just spike the areas carefully using a fork or even a garden knife. The soil will just need a little opening up to help water get into the areas. It's usually rain shadows from buildings and fences.

    Last edited: 27 August 2017 12:05:25

  • nmpnmp Posts: 3
    Borderline says:

    The lawn is looking very good for one just started up this summer. The sponge-like areas you mentioned, you could start building a small layer or more topsoil mixed with some lawn-sand. This creates a drier layer over the shaded areas. Over damp lawns, the grass tend to grow thinner and by adding some top layer of drier soil and sand, the grass blades can slowly knit together. Do this bit by bit each time you have cut the lawn.

    It's a bit time consuming, but you sound like a person that wants to take pride in the lawn, so it will not be achieved with just mowing. Work the mixture in the areas using a stiff broom or the back of the rake. Resist scarifying this lawn for the time being, it is very new and I doubt there is enough thatch there yet. 

    In the drier areas around the edge, just spike the areas carefully using a fork or even a garden knife. The soil will just need a little opening up to help water get into the areas. It's usually rain shadows from buildings and fences.

    Last edited: 27 August 2017 12:05:25

    See original post

     

    Thank you for the nice words, I guess I have been lucky enough to inherit decent soil, but it has been hard work, which is another reason why I am determined to make it work. I don't mind putting the effort in to achieve that.  Great tip on the topsoil/sand mix. Will certainly give that a go. Should I overseed that as well, or just leave that as overdressing? 

    I'll get the fork out tomorrow and work my way across the dryer areas, and see if I can get the topsoil and lawn sand mix in across the wetter parts.

    Dave Humby says:

    Take a look here for red thread

    http://www.lawnsmith.co.uk/topic/pests-diseases/red-thread-pink-patch

    For watering ideally you want to do it first thing in the morning.

    Thatch is generally on the soil surface or sub-surface. Your images of the grass just appear to show cuttings from what I can see. If you peel back the grass a little then you should see the soil, if you don't and you see a bed of debris and matter this is thatch. I certainly wouldn't scarily it. This is a pretty harsh process for such a new lawn.

    See original post

     

    Dave, once again, many thanks for the pointers, I'll investigate further with regards the red thread. Also, scarifying on hold as well. 

      One more question if I may, In spite of spending lots of time with levelling the topsoil before laying the turf, I have quite a few small bumps and hollows in the turf. I wondered what the consensus is with regards rolling the lawn. Would this help with levelling off some of the smaller bumps? I have a rotary mower right now with a roller which gives me nice stripes, but would I gain anything from rolling the lawn occasionally with one of thode older iron rollers, one of which I inherited when I brought the house. I've read mixed comments about these, and though I'm not after a tennis court, I would like to try and level out some of these smaller imperfections. 

    Many thanks!

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,628

    Yes, you can put some seed in the mix whilst doing that, but not too much. Throughout the year, you may need to do this where patches appear. Shady lawns are the main areas, and also if there are weeds and you need to patch up again. Whilst you have the lawn up to the edges of buildings and fences, you will need to water those areas more often, as you can see already, there's a rain shadow causing lack of water to land in the areas. There are seeds for shadier conditions if you have large areas that is in shade for much of the day.

    Rolling lawns has good and bad points, you may compact your soil in the long run. It's only really recommended if you have a very wide lawn mower that requires dead straight flat floor space to make sure the lawn is cut evenly, but to the untrained eye, a totally flat lawn is only really needed for sports. Most lawn mowers can deal with minor dips and undulating areas.

    Last edited: 27 August 2017 22:28:26

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