Not many gardeners welcome slugs in the garden, even though they can have their benefits for composting or as a source of food for hedgehogs and other garden visitors.
Unfortunately, slugs can also carry diseases that are harmful to domestic pet dogs and cats, they leave an unpleasant trail behind them, and they can be catastrophic to your foliage and freshly laid turf.
If your lawn is under attack by tens of thousands of slugs – as it is believed the average British garden is – there are a few methods you can use to tackle them without resorting to poison.
In summer 2019, the government’s ban on metaldehyde slug pellets was overturned by the courts due to the way it was implemented.
But if you still don’t want to use slug pellets, especially outdoors where other wildlife could come into contact with them, what are the natural alternatives?
Salt is probably the first thing most people think of when dealing with a slug problem in the garden, and it can be effective at reducing slug numbers.
However, it’s not the most humane method and it can be bad news for your soil quality, especially if you have a large slug infestation over a long period of time.
Think very carefully before dumping large amounts of salt on your lawn and flowerbeds – the effect on new turf and bedding plants could be even worse than the slugs’ tiny chomp marks.
Copper tape has become a more popular option in the past few years. Manufacturers claim it creates a sensation similar to a static electric shock that repels the slug.
Results can be mixed but if you want to try this technique, rolls of copper tape can be bought quite cheaply.
For maximum effect, use tape with a higher copper content and make your barrier at least 5 cm (2 inches) wide.
If you want to spend a small amount more for the best tape for the job, don’t head to the garden centre, but go to your local music shop, where electric guitar insulating tape tends to be wider, thicker and contains more copper.
This is one to think about when designing your garden and especially when planning patios, decking and so on.
Slugs love wet surfaces but find it more difficult to cross dry patches. Use materials that dry more quickly after rain and you can create natural slug barriers.
Less porous surfaces are the way to go if you want to try this technique, whereas porous natural materials like wood can stay damp for longer and create slug highways.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t use natural materials in your garden, of course – but carefully planned dry barriers combined with copper tape could be effective in controlling where the slugs go.
Ultimately, many gardeners learn to live with slugs and some even build slug-friendly flowerbeds to try and lure them away from their vegetable patch intended for human consumption, and give the slugs a feast of their own to enjoy instead.
If you want a manicured lawn, moss and its partners in crime like clover and daisies are likely to be among your sworn enemies.
Removing a severe infestation of moss can leave your lawn looking patchy and reveal the areas where the moss had completely replaced the grass.
It is often in such circumstances that customers come to us looking to returf their lawn with fresh, moss-free turf.
But once your new turf lawn has been laid, how do you prevent moss from growing in it, and how do you treat it if it does?
Like many things in life, prevention is better than cure when it comes to moss in your lawn, so make sure you follow the best laid plans for the best laid turf.
Moss thrives in damp conditions, so prepare the ground for better drainage before you lay any turf on top.
Incorporating sandy soil improves drainage and can help to make damp soil a little drier, so if you have had severe problems with moss in the past, this could be a good option.
When your turf is laid, fill in any small gaps with compost or sandy soil to encourage the grass to knit across those joins and create a consistent barrier against moss.
Healthy grass is the best way to resist moss growth, so keep your lawn fed, fertilised and well watered depending on the weather conditions.
During wet times of year, turn your attention to drainage instead. Aerate or rotovate the surface of the lawn to encourage standing water to penetrate deeper into the soil.
Regularly scarify your lawn to remove thatch from around the grass roots and keep your grass healthy and more resistant to invaders like moss.
Carbutts Gold Standard Turf is a good option if you have pets or children as it recovers quickly from light surface damage, which should help keep your lawn more resistant to moss too.
Be on the lookout for moss especially in any damp or shady areas of your lawn, but don’t panic if you see it – it can usually be removed without major damage to your grass.
Scarification will lift out a lot of moss growth, so just making this a regular part of your lawn maintenance should mean you see less moss over time.
If you don’t want to use chemical weedkillers, look for lawn fertilisers that include anti-moss bacteria.
These not only feed your grass, they also digest moss in place over the course of 7-10 days after application, so by the time you come to mow your lawn again, the moss should be gone.
Ultimately, good healthy grass is your first line of defence against unwanted growth like moss, clover, daisies and other lawn invaders, so lay your turf well and treat your lawn right to give it the best start in life.
If you need a fresh lawn, call us today on 01477 532594, we’ll professionally lay fresh cut turves to give your garden a makeover.
You’ve got the lawnmower ready, you fire it up, and off you go. Within minutes you’ve hit a bump and churned the grassy turf into an ugly bare patch. Is there anything more frustrating?
There are so many reasons for an uneven lawn; after all, nothing can remain perfect forever. From pesky animals, peskier kids, heavy rain and soil settlement, there’s a million and one reasons why your once-perfect lawn is now a bumpy one.
So what to do? Well, if you’re after a half-hour of mowing that doesn’t involve going up and down miniature mountain ranges, we’d recommend levelling your lawn.
We recommend levelling your garden either in springtime or early autumn. It’s generally warm enough for seed to grow and you’ll be guaranteed rain, which will help the soil to settle.
A wise person always prepares. Before you do anything, you’ll need to determine just how bad your lawn is and the amount of levelling required. Uneven ground can be an indication of deeper-lying drainage issues or perhaps damaged water pipes.
If there are dips in your lawn above water pipes, it’s always best to seek professional help. If these types of problems are causing the declines, we’d recommend re-grading as well as levelling the grass.
You could, of course, install an underground drainage system. Laying gravel or flexible drainpipes will help alleviate pooling.
If your lawn only has a few shallow spots, then breathe a sigh of relief. To achieve a perfectly level lawn won’t be as difficult to achieve as perhaps you feared!
Generally, we’d say that if you’ve got areas that are 1-2cm lower than the rest of the soil, you could apply a topsoil bringing it level with the rest of your lawn. You’ll need to firm this application up, before watering it and leaving it to settle for a few days. After it’s settled in, apply the grass seed and water on a mist setting around four times a day – kids love to help with this part!
If there’s more than one low lying area, it’s a case of rinse and repeat!
Sometimes it can seem like your lawn is like the Pennines in miniature form, it’s that bumpy. The best way to level a lawn like this is tackling each bump individually.
Start by cutting into the middle of the rise with a shovel. If you cut in a cross shape, you’ll be able to lift the sections of turf away from the soil underneath. You’ll need to keep your shovel as flat as possible when lifting to ensure these pieces of turf don’t break. You’ll need them again.
The bump of excess soil now needs removing until the area is level with the rest of the lawn. Tread this down gently and fill with a good topsoil mixture until it’s nearly level with the surrounding area. Rake it and then fold the edges of the outer turf back over.
You’re nearly there, we promise. Starting from the outside of your excavated cross shape, carefully relay the lifted turf beginning from the outside, working inwards. Any gaps can be filled with topsoil and lawn seed, and you must water regularly.
Before you congratulate yourself, remember if your lawn is particularly bad, you’ll need to do this for every bump! You can do it, we believe in you!
If you think your lump lawn is too far gone to save, you can always start over fresh with a new flat lawn professionally laid.
It’s autumn and you’re sick and tired of clearing leaves up from what was a perfect lawn not two months ago. Come winter, your lawn is pale and perhaps a little worn in places, where you’ve had to get to the shed in wet weather.
A familiar story? It’s only natural that it’s not looking at its peak, most things don’t in winter, but that’s no reason to stop you from giving your lawn a bit of winter lawn treatment.
Follow these simple steps, and we’ll guarantee you’ll have a lawn that’s the envy of the neighbourhood come springtime.
We recommend you start your winter lawn preparation in October/November. Yes, we’re afraid that includes clearing fallen leaves, in readiness for one last cut. Mowing your lawn ready for winter is essential. Equally important is ensuring you keep the blades of your mower high. You’re just trimming the top!
With a garden fork, you’ll need to spike the lawn to increase drainage, letting some good autumnal air to the roots. We recommend brushing some sand or horticultural grit into the holes you’ve made to prevent them from closing up.
You’re now at the feeding stage. A good winter lawn feed is vital if you want a lawn that will flourish the following year. Purchase yourself a good winter lawn fertilizer that will strengthen the roots of your lawn and get rid of any pesky moss.
Don’t rake live moss! There you’ve been warned. If you do, you’re merely helping to spread their spores all around your garden. Instead, use your winter grass feed and let it do its business, you’ll find that after a few weeks the moss will have turned black – now you can rake it out!
It’s pretty natural come autumn/winter that you have one or two bare patches in your lawn. Autumn is the best time to address these patches, and the easiest way to do it is with a good quality patching kit that will consist of compost, seed and fertilizer.
You can do it yourself with a good quality topsoil and grass seed. It’s up to you. Just keep in mind that over seeding can cause weak growth.
Probably the most crucial step, put the kettle on, kick back and relax. The only thing left to do is keep an eye on your lawn over the winter months; it may need watering if there’s a period of dry weather.
Just make sure the dog stays off the treated lawn, and perhaps you could put a winter ban on ball games…just a suggestion!
Roll on springtime and a lush, green lawn with no patches! If you find your lawn is beyond repair come the warmer months, you can always have a fresh start with an entirely new lawn.
Have you ever cleared away the autumn leaves from your garden only to find a nasty substance lurking beneath? Or how about surveying your garden prowess from the kitchen window, and out of the corner of your eye, you catch Fido cocking his leg up, ready to relieve himself against the magnolia.
Let’s face it keeping dogs off your lawn is a difficult task, especially since they seem to take delight in liberally spraying dog wee on your lawn.
Then, of course, there’s the issue of patchy lawns where they’ve liberally urinated. So, what on earth can be done to keep your best buddy away from your beautiful lawn?
Let’s start by tackling those pesky brown patches. There’s a relatively easy solution for this – introducing dog rocks.
Dogs produce nitrates as a by-product of their diet, and as you’ll probably know, it’s these nitrates that leave those unsightly brown patches all over your lawn. However, place these in your dog’s water bowl, and it’ll lower the nitrates in their wee!
There’s plenty of commercial powders or sprays on the market for keeping dogs off your lawn. Most products contain natural ingredients. However, best to check the label before you do purchase.
These products will leave a bitter smell that will cause your dogs to beat a hasty retreat. However, if you’re going to use these, make sure you reapply regularly.
These are designed to water your lawn of course, but they do act as a great animal repellent. Set these up around your lawn or the area your dog gravitates towards, sit back and watch as the motion triggers the sprinkler, and your dog runs off with his tail between his legs. Very effective!
These are also motion-activated and easy to set up. Mount these on a tree, your shed or your fence, and it’ll activate when your dog approaches, emitting ultrasonic sound waves. The idea is that these sounds will keep your dog away from wherever you’ve set these strategically placed motion-activated devices.
It’s not as effective as the motion-activated sprinklers we have to admit, and it’s still a bit unclear how these affect your dog long term.
Nothing keeps a dog away from a lush lawn like a good old fence! After all, most dogs like a comfortable life and a physical fence is just too much effort to scale or dig underneath. That said, some dogs can be belligerent, and no matter what you do, they’ll find a way to escape!
P.s – don’t forget to close the gate, or you’ll only have yourself to blame!
So there you have it, some practical solutions for keeping Fido off your lawn. Some will be more successful than others, and we have to admit watching the dog run away from a motion-activated sprinkler is rather funny!
The latest trend in lawn care is grasscycling – basically a way to recycle grass clippings as a natural fertiliser for your lawn.
It’s incredibly easy to do. When you mow your lawn, instead of collecting up the grass clippings and throwing them away, just let them form an even layer on the lawn and all those nutrients will find their way back into the soil.
Over time, this is a great way to keep your lawn healthy, as the nutrients taken up out of the soil by the grass as it grows will be returned instead of being taken away locked up in your grass clippings.
With our easy guide to grasscycling below, you can avoid the pitfalls (there aren’t many…) and make the best possible use of your freshly mown grass clippings as a source of free fertiliser.
That means your garden waste bin stays empty for longer, your lawn looks healthier, you save money on fertiliser and you avoid sending trimmed grass to the local landfill site.
There are a few problems with grasscycling – not with the process itself, but in terms of the challenges you might face when trying to mow your lawn in this way.
The first is that many modern lawnmowers automatically collect the grass clippings and bale them up for easy disposal.
If possible, use a lawnmower that drops the cut grass directly back on to the lawn, or one where you can safely disconnect the grass container (your instruction manual should tell you if this is an option or not).
Alternatively, you can redistribute the cut grass over the lawn after you take it out of the mower. This takes a bit more effort but is a good option if you want to target specific parts of the lawn that are in need of extra fertiliser.
You might only want to grasscycle at certain times of year, too. For example if you have kids or pets, you might want to leave the lawn free of clippings in the summer.
Finally if you suffer from hay fever, again you might want to bale up the clippings to avoid aggravating your allergies, and then sprinkle them on the lawn more carefully.
If you plan to grasscycle, first make sure your mower is suitable and install a retrofit safety plug if necessary after removing the baling container.
You might find grasscycling more effective if you cut the grass to a slightly longer length so the clippings are shorter and easier to decompose into the ground.
Alternatively if cutting long grass, mow back over the clippings to shred them into smaller pieces that will more easily mulch down.
You can rake off any excess grass clippings and add them to your compost heap or compost bin, or use them as mulch on empty flowerbeds so those nutrients are not lost.
And remember to scarify the lawn regularly – this removes any dead dry grass that has not fully rotted away, so that your lawn’s root system does not become clogged.
When it comes to growing green grass, the team at Carbutts know a thing or two, as we always make sure the freshly cut turf we deliver is lush and green and ready to lay.
So if you’re wondering how to make your lawn greener naturally, you’ve come to the right place.
Knowing how to make grass green naturally takes experience to get it just right, but there are some basic things to remember that should help you to get off to a greener start.
New grass turning yellow is a sign of something wrong, but in order to fix the problem, you’ll need to know what is causing the discolouration in your grass.
There are two main ways grass can turn yellow. It could be a problem with the grass itself, or it could be an external problem.
Problems with the grass itself can include:
Meanwhile some examples of external factors include:
In general if your lawn is well established, it should be possible to recover healthy green growth, although of course if the discolouration is extensive you can always returf a damaged lawn and start again.
The secret to how to make grass green fast really depends on the cause of the problem.
External factors can be removed, the grass hosed down to wash off any residues, and it should soon be back to its best.
Internal factors need curing from within. That means carrying out the usual regular lawn maintenance tasks, but maybe with even more care and attention than usual.
Unfortunately there’s an inevitable trade-off between a lawn that looks great and one that you use regularly with your kids and pets – the more traffic your lawn gets, the harder it is to keep it looking pristine.
Our Gold Standard Turf is one way to give your lawn more of a fighting chance, as it’s ultra hard-wearing and a great option for family homes.
If you’re confident you’ve removed any external pollutants and that your soil is in good condition, there are a few remaining tips for how to get dark green grass faster.
Some people are surprised when they learn that they should water their lawn less often – this encourages the grass to put down deeper roots in search of water and will help it to stay green in future dry spells.
Finally, consider leaving it a little longer when you mow your lawn. This is more forgiving on any uneven patches but it also puts less stress on individual blades, helping them to stay green immediately after mowing and giving you that lush, deep colour for longer.
If you want to start fresh with a lush green lawn, consider our professional lawn laying service to get you off on the right foot.
Some people actually enjoy cutting the grass, but for the rest of us, robot lawnmowers are rapidly becoming a reality.
Just like the Roomba revolutionised vacuuming floors, the Husqvarna Automower is doing the same for natural grass lawns.
Best of all, it’s an eco-friendly way to keep your grass trimmed, making the robot lawnmower an ethical option.
For proof of the robotic lawn mower’s eco credentials, look no further than the Eden Project, which has been using the robot lawnmower to maintain its outdoor grass arena since summer 2018.
At the time, specialist horticulturalist at the project Niki Hall said: “The arena is now in top condition and this allows more time for the horticulture team to spend in other areas rather than cutting the lawns.
“It is quiet and unobtrusive, though very funky – like a Formula One mower. It has no emissions and low energy consumption. It can also be used in all weathers.”
The Eden Project were won over particularly by the low noise output of this type of lawn mower, and by its ability to cut the grass autonomously overnight when no guests were on-site.
If the Eden Project’s robot lawnmower is an F1 car, then the recently launched Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD is more like the Batmobile.
With its rugged, tank-like construction, all-wheel drive capabilities and twin headlights, it is every bit a mini sports car just for cutting your lawn.
It can work at day or night with noise output of just 62 dB, on slopes of up to 70 degrees – that’s the same as a ski slope – and connects with AI assistants including Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
You can even write your own programs to control the robot lawnmower via its open API or IFTTT (If This, Then That).
Robots are (not always, but usually) the enemy in sci-fi movies and you might not expect having a mini self-driving Batmobile equipped with rotary blades would be the best idea for your lawn.
Surprisingly though, the way a robotic lawn mower works can be even better for lawns than regular mowing with a conventional lawnmower.
It cuts ‘little and often’, leaving the clippings behind as it goes. That means grass is not overly stressed and nutrients are not lost – the cut grass acts as a natural fertiliser, prompting thicker, greener regrowth.
Because it runs on batteries, there are no direct emissions from the mower – and if you use carbon-neutral energy to recharge it, there should be no net carbon footprint as a result of its use.
Finally, the all-weather construction means the plucky little robot will happily give your lawn a trim in torrential rain, with equally good results – and if you’d prefer it not to, you can connect remotely from anywhere in the world and tell it to take the day off!
Always a tricky question for the hobby or casual gardener and normally something that gets overlooked. Most of us tend to ‘Hover mow’ the hell out of it and leave it at that.
But feeding your lawn can make all the difference between having a short, brown, weed-filled square, or a lush and green carpet you can be proud of.
There’s no doubt that sitting on your patio and cracking open a beer is the finest of all garden hobbies, but looking out across the barren wasteland that is your lawn doesn’t make for a happy vista.
Conversely, any man who can invite his pals’ round and reveal a beautiful green manicured lawn will win the envy of all his peers (our Platinum Turf will make you a king amongst men).
And with today’s modern products, results can be better, and quicker than you’d imagined.
It depends on the type and condition of your lawn.
As a hobby or casual gardener, you’re unlikely to be tending to your lawn night and day. In this case there are a number of really good, basic fertiliser treatments that you can put on once a year. These release nutrients slowly and keep the lawn fed on a regular, but low-maintenance basis.
Many good garden centres will advise you on the right product for your particular type of grass.
If you’re keen on taking it up a notch, then you might look at feeding your lawn more regularly. A rough timetable for feeding your lawn would be 4 times a year;
Note; always fertilise as soon after mowing as possible and don’t mow straight after fertilising or you’ll just remove most of the product.
Most fertilisers are granular and so it’s preferable to use a spreader as you get the most even coverage, but you can use the hand sprinkle method if you want to avoid the cost of a spreader.
Careful here, too much of the fertiliser can scorch or burn the grass, so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and try to spread evenly and lightly.
We’ve got a reasonable climate here in the UK for grass growth, hence most of our landscape being covered in it.
But most of our grass is hardy and really benefits from some care and a well-balanced set of nutrients will ensure it stays in great condition, at the same time it will also recover quicker when it’s damaged (normally from an impromptu kid’s footy tournament).
It also gives it a very green and lush appearance which is an immense source of joy when looking out on your little patch of heaven.
We supply two types of turf – Gold Standard which is hard-wearing and low-maintenance, and Platinum Standard which offers a show-quality finish with a little extra care and attention.
Our lawn laying service can take care of laying your turf using the recommended methods, or of course you can lay it yourself or hire a third-party turf laying contractor.
We go beyond a basic turf laying service and can also prepare the site to a high standard if required, so the soil is level, fertile and well-watered to provide your turf with everything it needs in its new location.
For friendly advice we are happy to help and all enquiries are welcomed.
Get in touch with the team now and let’s get your lawn looking lush.
We all love a pest-free lawn, but healthy grass – and healthy turf – is a haven to all kinds of creepy crawlies and some even bigger pests too.
Here are some of the usual suspects and how to deter these unwelcome visitors to your lawn so you can enjoy your lush grass undisturbed.
Probably the most common invaders of healthy earth are ants, and people have varying opinions of these.
Most people have a problem with red ants, which will bite, but opinions are more mixed as to whether non-biting black ants are an issue or not.
If you see black ants as an ally, you might even want to encourage them to set up colonies around your lawn, in order to fight off any invading red ants.
To deter ants completely, a commonly recommended home remedy is to mix equal parts of peppermint oil and vodka – which helps it to dilute – into a spray bottle of water, which you then spray around the affected areas of your lawn.
An alternative to peppermint oil is tea tree essential oil, or a combination of these, as both are said to be unpleasant aromas for ants to be around.
You won’t often see a mole, but you can’t miss the mess it leaves behind. Catching moles is a job best left to the professionals, so get help as soon as possible if your lawn has an unwelcome house guest.
Pest control should take care of any moles that have set up home, although a healthy garden will continue to be attractive to future residents too.
There’s not a lot you can do to deter future moles if your garden is in good condition, so in this instance it’s best just to take prompt action if you see the unmissable evidence of a new arrival.
Again, worms are a sign of healthy soil, and they also help to aerate the soil and maintain good growing conditions for grass and the roots it puts down.
The small wiggly piles of soil left on the surface are easily brushed away, and worms will help to control the population of smaller, potentially damaging bugs in the soil, as well as attract birds to your garden after rainfall.
If anything, you should aim to encourage a healthy population of worms in your soil, as they will not usually cause significant damage to turf – and they’re not alone in being ‘pests’ that are actually on the side of the gardener.
Not all visitors to your garden are pests at all, and there are all manner of creatures that are more likely to visit you if your lawn and flowerbeds are in good condition.
These range from bees, birds and butterflies in the daytime, to hedgehogs and foxes after dark, and urban gardens are an essential habitat for many of them.
Before you make your garden too difficult for them to access, consider becoming an ally to these creatures – they will often do their own part in return by eating unwelcome insects and providing you with a free, environmentally friendly pest control service!
Has your lawn lost a battle with pests? We provide a professional lawn laying service, so you can start over armed with these tips for a lush green haven.