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New Lawn not taken


In 2016 i posted on this site about my 'jungle' that i inherited when i moved in and was given great advise.  Since then i have almost completed my garden with a lawn laid back in September.  I have attached a picture for those that remember the conversation.

The problem now is that the lawn hasn't taken.  As advised by those who laid the grass I watered the lawn regularly and cut the grass once after about 5 weeks before winter.  Aftre cutting a few patches started to appear with what looked like mould/boggish stuff (for want of a better word).  Winter and the snow then came.

I am now looking at my lawn and not sure what to do.  It does need a cut but would this damage it further as the grass is very delicate and doesn't spring back up.  Is it a simple case of adding more grass seeds in the patches or is there other things i should be aware of? 

To confirm that since the grass has been laid, other than me cutting the grass no feet have walked along the grass as i do not have kids or dogs.  I have added some pictures below to give an idea. 

Thank you for any guidance that can be offered.




  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,584
    edited April 2018
    That must be very disheartening but it is recoverable with a bit of effort.

    First thing to do is to cut it but with the blades set high as you need longer leaves at the mo to feed the roots and strengthen the grass.   After it's been cut you need to apply a spring weed and feed mix which help deal with those weeds - or you could remove the larger weeds by hand with a narrow trowel to get all the roots without taking any grass.  Follow the instructions carefully as under-dozing will fail and over-dozing can lead to a blackened lawn.  If you have moss, get one with a  moss killer too.

    After that has worked, go over it with a  scarifier.  You can hire one in a decent DIY store but they're not that expensive to buy and can be used in spring and autumn to clear thatch and dead weeds and improve lawns so worth the investment.

    Keep the blades high for cutting while this process is going on and then reduce gradually to not less than one inch high to maintain vigour and build up roots that can compete with new weeds that will, inevitable, appear.

    You need to weed round the tree's trunk too and I would also cut a wider circle around the tree to reduce competition from the grass.  

    Edited to add - the above advice assumes the ground was well prepared and that the OP know not to cut or even tread on the grass when the ground is sodden.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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  • Thanks for the quick replies with two very different responses!  so in answer to the questions before i ask more.

    Whats your subsoil? .. clay, sand? - most likely clay as i never noticed any sandy textures when the digging was done which went pretty deep as there was concrete paths dotted around the garden that had to be dug up and removed before any topsoil was even added.
    Any drainage problems?.. standing water or boggy after rain? none
    How much light does it get?.. your garden seems quite shady. It varies dependant on time of year (north facing garden) but it is not even with the right side (east facing) having less because of the tall bushes
    Variety of turf? ...was it a shade tolerent variety? Yes but cant remember the name

    In answer to Obelixx's edit - (not sure what OP means) but the ground was well prepared and i have avoided treading on the grass at all times and only cut the grass once back in October after about 4/5 weeks) and i cant see any moss but yes a few weeds which i will be gently anticking with a narrow trowel this weekend.

    so why would the recommendation be not to cut it? Obelixx has provided guidance which is makes sense (never knew about scarifiers!)

    i am relieved that initially it doesn't sound that bad as i have been seeing some horror stories on the web and with a little tlc i can hopefully fix this



  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,584
    OP means original poster.

    My advice still stand then.  Give it a cut as indicated and then a weed and feed treatment.  Most advise waiting a couple of days for the new cuts to heal so please do read the instructions.   Once that has worked and you have scarified you will probably have a few bare patches that will need re-seeding.

    Just rake the soil loose and scatter on fresh seed of the same variety as before so you get the same leaf colour and size then flatten it to the ground by tapping it with the back of the rake head.   Water with a gentle sprinkler if no rain falls to help it germinate.

    If you are at all worried about the drainage you can aerate the soil by going over your lawn with a large garden fork, pushing it in vertically as deep as possible and wiggling back and forth to enlarge the holes.  Then you put piles of sharp sand on the lawn and brush them over to fill the holes which then stay open and let water drain better as well as getting air to the grass roots.   This can be done every spring and autumn as long as necessary.  However, if your drainage seems OK I'd concentrate on the other steps first.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,115
    Looks like a combination of the winter plus shade to me Kos. Seeing as the temps are picking up and less rainfall around I would give it a light trim now, leave it till next week then trim again just a little lower, and use a spring tine rake or electric garden rake to clear some of the weeds and debris and give a bed for new seed then over-seed (with a shade tolerant mix) and leave. I wouldn't scarify as you have new turf which may well not be fully bedded-in it's too aggressive and you shouldn't have too much thatch in new turf anyway. 

    PS. OP means Original Poster or Opening Post.
  • YviestevieYviestevie Kingswinford, West MidlandsPosts: 6,672
    Don't think I would use an electric scarifier either as they can be a bit agressive.  If you want to remove debris I'd just give it a rake. 
    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,115
    I was referring to an electric rake (not scarifier) which is a spring-loaded needle tine arrangement that you can set to any depth and is / can be a very gentle process. Probably more sympathetic to the conditions than a hand rake. As well as clearing away the winters debris it will provide a bed to the seed.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,028
    It does seem pretty shady for grass.
  • Thank you all for the good advise so far.

    Went shopping yesterday and have spent time this morning gently attacking the few weeds with a narrow trowel before I wake the neighbours with a cut.

    I have noticed that my ground is quite soft and sodden with a lot of clay under the top soil. I don’t have an issue with standing water but looks like I may have slow drainage because of the clay (?) so I will need to aerate.  Should I trim the grass or aerate first?  Conscious that if I walk over whilst cutting it I could do more damage to the grass. 


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,584
    Try standing on a plank to spread your weight.  It will also give you an automatic line along with to aerate so you don't miss patches.  Work backwards so you don't squash fresh holes.

    I think 95% of lawns will be soggy after the winter we've had but aeration nearly always helps except on the sandiest of soils.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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