David Ross Case Study

David Ross Case Study

Written by: WILL DUNGER

Written by: WILL DUNGER

OWNER & HEAD LAWN TECHNICIAN

Mr Ross contacted Will’s Norfolk Lawns in June 2022 as he was looking to improve his back lawn. Davids lawn in Taverham was in a sorry state following years of neglect from a previous owner.

During our initial Lawn Survey visit to analyse the lawn, it was clear to see where the problems were. A thick thatch layer was contributing to large amounts of moss within the lawn. The thatch and moss had led to a poor grass coverage where weeds were beginning to take over. The main two weeds present in the lawn were Cats Ear and Yarrow. Although Cats Ear weeds have long tap roots, they are usually quite straightforward to control and eliminate. Yarrow on the other hand is slightly more tricky due to its fibrous root system and small leaf area for herbicides to penetrate.

David’s lawn during our first visit, prior to any chemical or cultural treatment.

The first stage of our process to rejuvenate this 65m2 lawn was to apply a selective herbicide to control the weeds. Getting on top of the weeds as part of our first treatment was essential ahead of stage two, which was to carry out a full Lawn Renovation during August.

Come August and renovation time, the lawn was extremely dry having been subject to drought conditions for the past few weeks. It is absolutely fine to renovate a lawn in these conditions however, it is vitally important the aftercare of the lawn following the renovation is carried out correctly – which we will get to shortly.

David’s lawn four weeks after the herbicide treatment. All weeds have died off however the drought was really kicking in. Ready to the renovation.

Our starting point was a parched lawn with very few weeds left following the selective herbicide treatment back in July. To get the renovation action underway out came our scarifier (an Eliet 401 with fixed blades on this occasion) to begin the removal of mass amounts of moss, thatch and dead grass. Due to the ground conditions it was a rather dusty jobs, however, needs must when a lawn is in crisis! Other method to remove as much debris from the lawn as possible was to carry out two passes of the scarifier in different directions, followed by clearing the debris from the lawn. We did this three times in total (six passes of the scarifier) to strip the lawn right back to create a good seed bed in preparation for over seeding.

Once we had stripped the lawn right back, the scarifier had earned a well deserved rest whilst the solid-tine aerator came out, in this case our Camon LA25 aerator. As we were dealing with very compact soil, we felt it was essential to include aerator as part of the renovation process. Aeration will help relieve surface compaction, encourage a deeper root structure and increases microbial activity.

The Camon LA25 Aerator punching thousands of holes through the surface of the lawn into the soil profile.

With the heavy machinery out of the way it was time to get some products onto the lawn to start fine-tuning our renovation. We applied a ryegrass and fescue seed mixture to the lawn at a rate of 50g/m2. This is our preferred seed mix as it germinates and establishes quickly, it is hard-wearing and looks great.

Following the seed going down we made applications of a granular wetting agent and a pre-seed fertiliser. We opt to apply these before the top dressing goes on to give them both the best chance of breaking down and getting to work in the soil as fast as possible. The granular wetting agent reduces the hydrophobicity of the soil (water-repellent properties) allowing the soil to make better use of any moisture it receives, which there will be a lot of as part of the aftercare. The pre-seed fertiliser has a high level of Phosphorus which aids root development, as well as a small amount of Nitrogen and Potassium, all of which together will provide much needed nutrients for the thousands of new grass plants we sowed.

Wetting agent at the ready!

Moving onto the final stages of the renovation of David’s lawn was to apply a thin covering of 70/30 top dressing. Top dressing is an essential part of a full renovation as it gives the seed a much higher chance of establishing, as well as leveling out minor undulations of the surface and improving the soil structure. On a small lawn like this one we use the good old fashion method of emptying out the bags and spreading via a rake – no fancy top dressing machines for us on this occasion unfortunately. To work the top dressing in evenly came one of our favourite tools, in the shape of a lawn lute. A lute will pull excess soils from high spots in the lawn and leave extra in any lows, leaving a much smoother finish.

So far it had been one long, hot day carrying out this renovation. With only one job left to do, we had been extremely pleased with how the day had gone. To finish off we applied germination sheets to the lawn, an underrated piece of kit in our opinion. The germination sheets we applied boasts a whole host of benefits, and to name a few they are; keeps the soil warmer for longer to aid better seed germination, prevents birds from eating the seed from the surface of the lawn and helps retain moisture.

Germination sheets applied. Now the thousands of new grass seeds are ready for some water!

The germination sheets were left on the lawn for 10 days following the completion of the renovation and this is where the aftercare of the newly seeded lawn was to begin. Watering twice per day is critical following a lawn renovation. Without sufficient moisture, the seeds will struggle to germinate and establish, resulting in a thin lawn. David couldn’t have been any better or more committed to his aftercare, ensuring there was between 10-15mm of water applied per day for the first 2-3 weeks.

We returned after 10 days to remove the germination sheets with high hopes of what we may find hiding beneath. We were very pleased with the progress in the most part as much of the seed had germinated and was off to a flying start. However, one problem that we hadn’t predicted was that the sprinkler used to water the lawn wasn’t applying the water evenly, therefore a section at the end of one lawn remained thin due to a lack of moisture. Not to worry however, as this was very early days and we had identified the issue in good time.

Most of the lawn had made a great start to its recovery following the renovation. However, the end from where this picture was taken remained thin due to a lack of moisture thanks to the faulty sprinkler.

With the germination sheets removed, David was to continue the daily watering for the next 7 days in preparation for the first cut, which took place 16 days after the renovation. It is common to be concerned about mowing following over seeding a lawn as there are thousands of fragile new grass plants which are extremely delicate. However, having the correct mowing regime along with the correct watering regime is vital for the progress of the lawn. Mowing twice per week on a height setting between 30-40mm in length will encourage the grass plants to thicken up, or to ‘tiller out’. This is exactly what was done on Davids lawn and following a couple more weeks of regular watering and mowing we were at our point of completion.

Just 34 days from the initial renovation process, Davids lawn had been transformed from something that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Sahara Desert, to a glowing carpet of green grass. We are over the moon with how well the renovation process went as it went exactly how we had planned and predicted (other than the minor sprinkler blip).

THE END RESULT – In under two months from our initial visit to when this picture was taken, we had successfully transformed David’s lawn!

We continue to maintain Davids lawn to this day through our bimonthly seasonal treatments, providing the lawn with important nutrients and care to remain in the fantastic condition.

Don’t just take out word for it, here is what Mr Ross had to say about our work:

“ After many years of neglect and various dogs our “lawn” was practically bereft of grass and had plenty of weeds. Obviously the time had come for drastic action and help from an expert. We were lucky as, wishing to use a local firm, we contacted Will. After a discussion he came up with a plan and gave us a quote.

This was probably the best thing we could have done as we now have lawn which must be one of the greenest in the area. Will and Alex have been professional and understanding in all our dealings with them and I would thoroughly recommend this company if you want really good results.”

Mr David Ross, Google Review