Super grass: Six top tips to make your lawn worthy of a five-star hotel, from the best time of day for watering to why you should mow in different directions
- The tips are courtesy of Malcolm Campbell from Sandals Resorts International
- ‘Walking or sitting in the same spot every day prevents good growth,’ he says
- Watering midday is a waste of money, time and energy – find out why
They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but it doesn’t have to be.
Follow these wise words on lawn care from Malcolm Campbell, Regional Grounds Manager for Sandals Resorts International, and you could have a strip of grass worthy of a luxury hotel or championship golf course.
Mix up where you walk and sit
According to Malcolm, grass needs a good six to eight hours of sunlight per day
Malcolm told MailOnline Travel: ‘Walking or sitting in the same spot every day causes compaction and prevents good growth. Aeration [punching holes in the soil] every four to six months will help this.
‘If possible walk a different route or sit on a different part of the grass when you can. If this is not possible then perhaps a decorative solid walkway will work much better and improve the look of your lawn.’
Feed your lawn
‘The most important point to remember about grass is that it’s a living, breathing, eating organism,’ Malcolm said. ‘This is not a science. The three elements needed are nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. These can be found in any home hardware store in the outdoor section.
‘What element is needed most depends on the time of year. In Spring it’s the nitrogen, to give the grass a push and allow the plant to start making chlorophyll. Summer is a combination of all three, usually in a two-one-three ratio. And Autumn is a good time to apply the potash to give the roots a good push for wintertime.
‘Regular feeding every three to four months will do the trick. This can also be determined on leaf growth. If it slows down in mid-summer, it’s hungry.’
Water your lawn – early
Follow Malcolm’s advice and you could end up with a lawn worthy of a championship golf course. Pictured here is the course at Sandals Emerald Bay
‘This should be done early morning if possible,’ said Malcolm. ‘The plant will need it for the upcoming day. Watering midday is a waste of money, time and energy. Watering at night causes the plant to stay moist for hours which can cause disease.
‘Remember too much is just as bad as not enough. The soil should be moist, not soaked. The leaf blade should have elasticity to it. If you bend it between your fingers and it snaps then it’s too dry. If it looks rotten then it has been sitting in water too long.’
According to Malcolm, mowing is one of the most important tasks you can do to take care of your lawn. He advises that people should mow in different directions when possible
Malcolm said: ‘One of the most important things to do to take care of your lawn is to mow it. This should be done regularly during the growing season.
‘Never remove more than one third of the leaf blade when mowing. This causes stress on the plant that can lead to disease and total decline of the lawn.
‘Always make sure that the mower’s blades are sharp. You want to “slice” the leaf blade, not rip or tear it. This opens the lease for disease to come in and damage the lawn.
‘Mow in different directions when possible. This prevents the grass from growing with the grain. It helps to stand the grass up and prevents it from laying down. It can get lazy if you let it. ‘
Weed by hand
If you have a large tree in your garden and the grass is weak underneath, then a simple prune of the canopy will allow sunlight to penetrate down to the grass
Malcolm Campbell, Regional Grounds Manager for Sandals Resorts International
‘A good offence is a great defence,’ Malcolm said. ‘If you follow the above rules, your lawn will be thick and full. This will prevent any weed seeds from germinating and coming to maturity.
‘Weeds are a sign of an unhealthy lawn. If you do get weeds the best natural process is to pull them out by hand, making sure to get the long taproot [the most deeply anchored one]. If pulling won’t work and you only have a few, then wetting the weeds’ leaf blades and sprinkling table salt will do the trick.
‘Most herbicides these days are salt-based, which causes the plant to dry up and die. You do have to be careful not to get any salt on the desired plants.
‘The last option is a selective herbicide that will target the undesired weeds and leave the desired plants alone. I like to look at this option last.’
Let your lawn see the sun
Malcolm said: ‘This is the most important aspect of growing healthy turf, in my opinion.
‘Grass needs a good six to eight hours of sunlight per day, ideally. If you have a large tree in your garden and the grass is weak underneath, then a simple prune of the canopy will allow sunlight to penetrate down to the grass.
‘A season change also alters the sun’s position in the sky. Anticipating this will help the home lawn owner to anticipate what the grass needs.’