At the dou­ble

Whether you’re dig­ging, plant­ing or prun­ing, it pays to fol­low the times-two rule, says Toby, as he ex­plains how ‘dou­ble-do­ing’ can ben­e­fit the lawn

Amateur Gardening - - Toby Buckland -

“It pays to ap­ply fer­tiliser at half strength in two passes”

MEA­SURE twice, cut once. If you want to do some­thing well it pays to do it twice, whether you’re prun­ing – check twice be­fore you cut – or plant­ing (re­mem­ber to dig a hole at least twice as wide as the roots).

The times-two rule also ap­plies when clean­ing paving slabs. They al­ways come up clean on the sec­ond blast from the jet-washer, and as for deep cul­ti­va­tion noth­ing comes close to dou­ble dig­ging. It might be heavy work and its ef­fi­cacy de­bat­able, but it’s kept cash-strapped chi­ro­prac­tors busy for years!

‘Dou­ble-do­ing’ makes the most dif­fer­ence, though, on the lawn. Mow­ing twice a week is the fastest way to achieve a thick and healthy sward, as cut­ting en­cour­ages the grass to grow side­ways and fill gaps.

If, like me, you share your gar­den with a wannabe Ron­aldo, un­less the lawn is well fed, when the World Cup starts it’ll turn into a right old Messi! Feed­ing helps im­prove a lawn’s abil­ity to cope with wear and tear by re­duc­ing the moss that thrives in a tired and thin lawn.

I’ve been ap­ply­ing an eco-fer­tiliser and moss killer to my grass that feeds the sward, en­cour­ag­ing un­wanted moss to grow up into the blades of the mower and killing what the blades can’t with a nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring moss-eat­ing bac­te­ria.

When dos­ing any lawn with fer­tiliser, moss killer or weed-and-feed, a wheeled ap­pli­ca­tor that de­liv­ers the amount rec­om­mended on the side of the pack is re­ally help­ful, es­pe­cially on larger lawns. Get it wrong and the re­sults will be patchy or large swathes of grass will be burnt black by the slats in the feed.

That’s why it al­ways pays to ap­ply the fer­tiliser at half strength in two passes, ide­ally at right an­gles, so the feed falls evenly into the sward. If the gran­ules in the first run empty sooner than ex­pected, ad­just the rate of the sec­ond or omit al­to­gether.

When it comes to feed­ing grass, feed twice but never give sec­ond help­ings.

Mow twice a week for a thick and healthy sward, and use a wheeled ap­pli­ca­tor (in­set) to de­liver the cor­rect amount when feed­ing your lawn

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