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Drought lawn help please!

hello can anyone advise me what to with this lawn please. The green far end has been ok through the drought but the majority seems so damaged by the drought I’m not sure it will come back? I usually scarify and aerate in October if I have time but last couple of years I’ve done it in spring. Usually with heavy rain the rain will sit on the surface for some time before draining hence I assume aerating is the most important job? Should I feed the whole area before the rain promised today and should I use autumn or summer feed? Any advice would be very welcome - thankyou. Ps when I top dressed in spring I used a few bags of builders sand as thought this may aid the drainage? 🙈


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,989
    When you say builder's sand, do you mean the stuff for making mortar?
    I'm afraid you've made the problem worse if it's that. It holds together, it doesn't aid  drainage.
    Don't feed it. Just aerate well,  if you have time, and allow the rain to do some good, and help green up any grass that's there. It may take a while for the sand to disperse though. 
    You can always add some fine topsoil and reseed those areas - either soon [if you're in a warm enough location ] or in spring as the weather warms up again.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    It's possible the top layer of soil has crusted over and compacted, preventing the lawn to recover. Common on soils that water-log easily in the winter time. Go with the weather to make your job easier. Wait until the soil is sufficiently wet from longer rainfalls before starting any work.

    Rake out the thatch that is compacted over the soil. This will allow the rain to get into the soil better. Continue to mow the lawn like usual. Once the weather is consistently cooler, you will need to scarify the areas thoroughly and then spike the area with a garden fork. You can brush down a bit of sand afterwards, but that is not the most important thing right now.

    If area doesn't rejuvenate after 3 weeks with rain in-between, you can then lightly rake over the bare areas and re-seed the patches.
  • Big Bang InflationBig Bang Inflation Posts: 50
    edited August 2018
    Use sharp sand to aid drainage in your lawn and, as @Fairygirl suggested, not builders sand.

    Sharp sand has a larger particle size and is more irregular in shape; better for drainage.
  • CopperdogCopperdog Posts: 615
    Thankyou everyone for your good advice. Hubby said it was sharp sand from travis he got me. If that area gets waterlogged down is sharp sand helpful or should I just stick to lawn soil or top dress from GC? 
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    edited August 2018
    My opinion is the sand is not essential until you have spiked the lawn well. Sharp sand will also have very little impact on waterlogged soils. Over usage of it can create a sump. Grass will grow well on many types of soils including waterlogged soils, so there is nothing too serious going on. It is only an issue if you walk over the grass when excessively wet, which will compact the top layer.

    Top-dressing is only useful once you have the grass growing well and there are minimal gaps between the grass.

    I think, rake and scarify the top layers first and then spike the areas when the soil is moist.
  • robdunfordrobdunford Posts: 9
    edited August 2018
    I have a very similar problem. Parts have returned quite lush, others are still brown. I will try a hollow tine aerator on the brown areas, then rake in some lawn soil mixed with good seed. Hopefully it will be like a hair transplant in the spring.
  • CopperdogCopperdog Posts: 615
    That’s great advice everyone, thankyou so much for your comments. 
  • ZeroZero1ZeroZero1 Posts: 577
    I think, no I am sure  it will all come back without you doing anything - worry not.All your neighbours look the same
  • CopperdogCopperdog Posts: 615
    thanks Zero, I can even see a tiny improvement since yesterday's heavy rain.  Will make the aeration the most important job twice a year.
  • YviestevieYviestevie Posts: 7,063
    Aeration is definitely the way to go.  I've done mine twice during the hot summer and watered it a couple of times.  It stayed reasonably green all the way through as the water was able to sink down to the roots rather than lie on top.
    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
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