I'm a lawn expert – how to fix the most common problems, from dry grass to yellow patches & weeds | The Sun

LOOKING after and maintaining your garden takes a lot of hard work and effort – and trying to get a luscious-looking lawn can feel like an uphill battle.

Given the recent hot weather it can be especially hard, but thankfully even the most problematic, patchy lawns can be fixed.

Here, The Grass People's lawn expert Chris McIlory shares his top tips to combat the most common problems, from dry patches to root-nibbling bugs…

Food for thought

The high temperatures of the summer heat can cause stress to your grass.

This can slow down growth in the process, making it difficult for your grass to stay healthy – but this can be solved with fertiliser.

Chris says: "To make sure that your grass is in the best possible position to withstand the heat and stress, make sure that you are feeding your lawn.


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"To ensure you get the most out of your fertiliser, the best conditions are waiting for days when rain is expected.

"Fertiliser doesn’t like the sun and it does like moist soil, making rainy and overcast days the perfect days for this job.

"It’s important to get this job ticked off fairly early in the summer, as after August high levels of nitrogen are not suitable for use due to the upcoming autumn weather."

Rotate furniture

We all want to sit out and enjoy our gardens, but it's important to consider the impact big bulky items like furniture can have on the grass.

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Chris says: "Remove any big debris from your lawn as much as possible.

"In hot weather it’s tempting to leave garden furniture, barbecues and even paddling pools on your lawn, but this can be damaging.

"Leaving heavy items on the lawn stops the grass from accessing the vital air, light and water it needs to thrive at a time where it’s already being pushed to its limits.

"If you can’t put these items away, try to move them around your lawn so each section gets a chance to breathe."

Weed worry

There are two options for removing weeds from your grass.

Chris says: "The first is to manually dig out the weeds or the second is to apply a chemical weed killer.

"You can use both methods if your lawn is established (at least 6 months old) but do not use any feed, weed or moss killer on a newly seeded lawn as this can have an adverse effect.

"To remove unwanted weeds, we can also use techniques such as aerating and scarifying the lawn or digging out the weeds with a spade and patching with grass seed."

Pest problem

One pest that you may find in your grass are leatherjackets – and they can cause pesky yellow patches.

Chris says: "They thrive in poorly drained lawns and hatch from eggs laid by daddy-long-legs.

"You may spot you have a leatherjacket problem if yellow patches in your lawn appear as they feed on the roots and stems of blades causing your lawn to discolour and turn yellow or brown. 

"As they thrive in poorly drained soil, an easy way to prevent leatherjackets from inhabiting your lawn is regular aeration to improve the drainage of your soil.

"If you already have a leatherjacket problem, you can treat it with nematodes which are bacterial worms that naturally kill leatherjackets.

"There are different types of nematodes so when purchasing them for your lawn ensure you buy the Steinernema Feltiae nematode."

Overcome issues with overseeding

Winter can be unkind to lawns making it look thin or patchy, so summer is a great time to repair these damaged areas, by overseeding.

Chris says: "If you want to try your hand at overseeding, there are a few steps to follow.

"Firstly, make sure you take the time to prep the lawn, this includes weeding the lawn and removing any debris such as boulders or stones. 

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"Next it’s time to scarify and fertilise the lawn with a quick release fertiliser. Lastly, moisten the soil and sprinkle the seed, water and then roll the lawn.

"The final step is to sit back and enjoy your luscious green lawn!"

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