Dan McKenna Case Study

Dan McKenna Case Study

Written by: WILL DUNGER

Written by: WILL DUNGER

OWNER & HEAD LAWN TECHNICIAN

Background

This case study is intertwined as a two-parter as we look at a front and back lawn for Mr McKenna in Aylsham.

Dan contacted Will’s Norfolk Lawns during the summer of 2022 as he had two lawns that were full of weed, moss and thatch and generally just didn’t look very good. We were asked to put together a plan for improving the health and appearance of both front and back lawns, which we happily done.

Our Plan

Both lawns had similar issues leading to their poor appearance. These were problems we had tackled many times before so felt comfortable in creating a progress plan, or so we thought.

We recommended applying a herbicide treatment to the lawns as soon as possible to control the weeds. This was suggested first as we also felt the lawn would benefit from scarification, aerating and over seeding in the autumn. As we’re unable to spray a weed control onto a newly seeded area for two to three months, it was important to try to kill the weeds off first.

A plan to scarify, aerate and over seed the lawns was made to be carried out in late August. Once the lawns had recovered from this process and the grass coverage was much improved, we would then look to keep up the regular maintenance with our seasonal treatments. Our seasonal treatments include balanced nutrient inputs via fertiliser, weed and moss control to keep weed and moss at bay.

Front lawn before any treatments. Full of weeds such as Dandelion, Cats Ear and Trefoil.
A carpet of moss and weed with hardly a blade of grass in sight.

The Process – Part 1

August arrived and we were due to set about the scarification, aeration and seeding to remove the moss and thatch from the lawn and improve the grass coverage. We were very pleased with how successful our weed control treatment had been. Unfortunately, the lawn was really now beginning to suffer from the drought.

Weeds killed, now its ready for the machines!

We carried out three passes of the lawn with our Eliet scarifiers removing three ton bags of debris in total. Due to the drought and the lack of rainfall the ground was extremely dry at this time. However, we knew with September on the horizon, natural moisture wasn’t far away. Once the scarification was completed, we aerated the lawn then finished off by applying the grass seed and a granular wetting agent.

Lawn scarified and ready for seeding. Yes, it is a lawn. Not the Sahara Desert!

Bump in the Road

After the work to the front lawn was completed, we attempted to set about the back lawn. The aim was to carry out the exact same process – simple, we thought….!

Due to an undulating surface in the back garden, the blades of our scarifiers were not touching the soil as we had hoped. This means we were unable to remove as much of the moss and thatch as we would’ve liked, meaning there would be no seed bed to apply the grass seed in to.

On discovering this we needed to quickly re-evaluate how we were to rejuvenate the back lawn. Over a tea break, we discussed the issue with Dan and talked through the possible other methods we could take. In the end, we settled on removing the back lawn with a turf cutter, which involves completely cutting off the surface, before preparing the soil beneath and re-seeding. So we were returned the following week, and that’s what we set about doing.

“We appreciate being well looked after. Who doesn’t love a Party Ring?”

The Process – Part 2

The first step of our revised plan for the back lawn was to cut all the turf off using a turf-cutter. This is a messy job, lots of lifting and wheel-barrowing the turf away into a skip, but one that had become necessary. Once the turf is lifted it leaves behind a smooth surface. Unfortunately this is not suitable to see directly in to as there is no bed for the seed to settle in. Using our lawn aerator, we punched thousands of holes into the lawn to loosen the top three inches of soil, followed by raking it over and adding extra top soil to level the area off.

Preparing the back lawn for seeding.

When we had levelled the area off we were able to apply the grass seed and germination sheets. This was a great opportunity to start a brand new lawn with a blank canvas, which is something we do not get to do too often. We had completed everything we could do in that moment in time. Now it was over to Dan with the aftercare. We would be back in a couple of weeks to remove the germination sheets.

Ground prepped, seeded and covered – all systems go!

Aftercare

Although the method of rejuvenation had turned out to be different for the front and back lawns, it was vitally important that they were both given the same care and attention over the following weeks. Something we will never get tired of saying is that when grass seed is sown, water is the key to successful germination.

Dan was fantastic with the aftercare of both lawns. Watering daily when the seed first went in the ground until most had germinated. Once a even coverage of green shoots have appeared, the watering method should then replicate rainfall. A couple of soakings per week to allow the water to soak deeper into the soil, encouraging deeper rooting. This is exactly what was done, which allowed the lawns to begin making a very fast recovery.

The mowing is not to be overlooked either. Simply seeding and watering is not enough to achieve a thick, healthy lawn. Mowing is equally as important as watering as it prunes the grass plants, prompting them to thicken out encouraging a thicker, healthier lawn much sooner.

When we returned to remove the germination sheets from the back lawn (two weeks after seeding and three weeks after the front lawn had been seeded) we were amazed at what we found. We usually say that you must allow 8-10 weeks for a lawn to make a full recovery, however the combination of watering and warm weather had meant both lawns had progressed much faster than expected.

The front lawn was looking fabulous whilst the back lawn was well on its way too!

Back lawn two weeks after seeding.
Front lawn three were after scarification, aeration and over seeding.

Summary

Despite having to go slightly off of our original plan for the back lawn, we were delighted with the results we achieved on both front and back lawns. What had once been a haven for weeds and moss with poor grass coverage, had nothing but lush green grass.

What was extra pleasing about this job was the envy from the neighbours as the front lawn was there for all to see. We had a nearby neighbour request for our services as she was astonished at the turnaround that had been made. With the correct care and attention most areas, no matter how old or poor, can be significantly improved.

This is what Dan had to say about our work:

“We are delighted with the service from Will and his team, our front lawn was 99% weeds and now following a series of treatments we have fantastic lush green grass, even the neighbours have noticed. Our back lawn needed replacing and following reseeding and topsoiling is looking amazing. Friendly, courteous and professional. Would not hesitate to recommend.”

Dan McKenna
Front lawn looking great after a full rejuvenation!
Shade from house and garage spoiling a marvellous ‘After’ photo