February is a planning month for gardeners (although with all the mild weather bulbs are starting to come up and give us some hope that Spring might be on its way!) so it's a great opportunity to have a good clear out of the shed and see what's left over of last year's lawn products.
We are often guilty of buying new sprays, fertilisers and granules each year as we simply forget what we have in the back of the shed, it's best checking now to see what you need before the season begins.
Weedkillers, Fungicides and Grub Killers: The pesticides that control pests, fungus and weeds change regularly, and new products are introduced and others are withdrawn. Do check your bottles and dispose of anything that is out of date as these are illegal to use. Never pour excess pesticide down the drain – contact your local authority for more information on how to dispose of excess chemicals safely. In London, The City of London operates a household hazardous waste collection and disposal service for residents on behalf of most of the London Boroughs. They only collect labelled or boxed chemicals. Check out their hazardous waste collection page here: http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/environment-and-planning/waste-and-recycling/household-waste-and-recycling/Pages/Hazardous-Waste.aspx
Fertilisers: Once again, do check the use by date on your fertilisers, but especially this year as the winter has been so wet check that any stored fertiliser has been kept dry. It is easy to block spreaders and potentially overdose your lawn if your fertiliser has soaked up water since you last used it. The granules should be uniform in size (not swollen with water) and should flow freely through the spreader to ensure that you apply it to the lawn correctly in the spring. Every year we see some real horror shows of lawns that have been scorched by incorrect fertiliser application – make sure that this is not you!
Top Dressing: Top dressing lawns is a really useful practise every spring, but do check that your left over top dressing has not been left outside over the winter months. Wet top dressing that has been left to stagnate over the winter can harbour moss spores and instead of adding useful nutrients and sand you may just create a huge moss patch! One of our clients did this in the past and found that their lawn was so badly affected that we had to implement a complete regeneration programme with us to get it back on track for the summer.
Seed: Seed does “go off” over time. Clearly germination rates are affected if the seed has got wet at all, but even if the seed is dry and is over 6 months old the germination rates are lower than new season seed. Of course germination is a bit hit and miss even at the best of times and so we firmly believe that it's not worth going to all the effort of over seeding the lawn or even seeding patches (plus of course the subsequent watering) if the seed only has a small chance of germinating. So our advice is invest in a new box of seed every year for best results.
Employing a reputable Lawn Care Company does mean that you can simply forget about all of this as our products are always the latest and most efficacious available on the market and our turnover of seed and top dressing means that you are always getting a fresh batch. Do get in touch via our contact page if you feel like you need some expert help and advice.