Mark Duffy Case Study

Mark Duffy Case Study

Written by: WILL DUNGER

Written by: WILL DUNGER

OWNER & HEAD LAWN TECHNICIAN

Background

Mark, who lives in Thorpe End, contacted us in August 2021 as he was having issues when mowing his lawn. Although the lawn looked fairly good from a distance, when mowing his mower would often sink into the grass causing it to tear and leave bald/yellow patches of turf behind.

Marks lawn during our survey visit in August ‘21. It looks healthy from a distance, but was this really the case?

During our survey visit we quickly identified the issue. Mark was fantastic at mowing his lawn regularly, which is great for maintaining a healthy lawn, however he was always mowing in the same direction up and down the same lines. This causes an issue because the repetition of the mower heading in the same direction, continually lays the grass down onto the surface rather than it standing upright. By laying the grass down it continues to grow in length, only along the surface and not vertically where it can be easily mowed.

Mark had told us that over several years he had been raising the height of his mower from setting 3 (25mm) up to setting 6 (50mm) to try to prevent the scalping that had been happening, as the problem had been getting progressively worse.

Our Plan

This particular problem was not new to us and it was something we had combated before. To rectify the issue it would mean using a combination of aggressive scarifying and mowing to reduce the length of the grass to allow it to regenerate again. Prior to starting we were unable to predict how many passes of the scarifier and mower it would take to achieve our goal as all lawns can be different.

Once we had successfully reduce the height/length of the grass, with it being an aggressive process we had also planned to aerate, over seed and feed the lawn to aid the recovery and long term health.

The Process

Alex and I with a scarifier each began our first pass with the scarifiers to begin removing thatch from the lawn and to reduce the height. We passed over the lawn in one direction, followed by raking up the debris that had been removed, disposed of into a ton bag and finished off by mowing the lawn. It was clear to see that following the first pass of the lawn, it would take several more to achieve what we had set out to day. For reference – the height of our mower at this stage was as long as we could get it, which was at 50mm.

We continued with this process over and over again. Scarify, collect, mow. Scarify, collect mow. And so on, you get the idea. Removing several ton bags of debris from the lawn and gradually being able to reduce the height on our mower as we went. Each pass of the lawn we did was in a different direction. Starting off with going across the lawn, then the two diagonals, then any other angle in between.

In total we carried out this process 10 times, leaving us with 8 ton bags full of grass and thatch removed from the lawn. On completion, we had managed to reduce the height of the lawn down to 20mm. It appeared extreme at the time, however we knew it was the only thing to help Mark’s lawn.

Unfortunately, whilst in the trance of scarifying, collecting and mowing we did not take any images of the waste removed – which was to our sheer amazement.

We were left with a very different looking lawn than the one we started with, as you can see. Once the scarifiers and mowers were put away out came the aerated and grass seed. These two processes on top of what we had already done would also benefit the lawn through decompacting the soil and incorporating some fresh growth into the lawn.

The lawn following 10 passes of scarifier and mower plus aeration and over seeding.

Aftercare

The thinking behind our process was that all of the grass were had stripped back and reduced the height, we be able to regenerate fresh shoots and new growth. As the lawn was very thick, this should not be a problem and once fully recovered, Mark could continue mowing as normal at a more suitable height.

Although we had over seeded, not a huge amount of aftercare was required for this job. It had been carried out in September 2021 when there was plenty of rain in the forecast. Therefore, it was a case of letting nature do what it does best.

Bumps in the Road

Fortunately there were no issues for us along the way during this process. The lawn did need more passes with scarifier and mower than initially expected (we had predicted 6) however, it was important that we got the job done to a level we were satisfied with. So we were happy to carry out the additional passes.

Summary

When returning to the lawn in October we were amazed at how quickly the lawn had made a full recovery. We had full faith that the process would work, however we were over the moon at the end result.

Marks lawn in October 2021 following an aggressive rejuvenation process just over one month earlier

It goes to show that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind and it can be best to go at a task ‘hammer and tongs’ rather than trying to paper over the cracks. We continued to maintain the lawn through 2022 and into 2023 with six seasonal treatments which included fertilising, weed and moss controls and aeration.

Here’s what Mark had to say…

“Will’s Norfolk Lawns above and beyond with great communication and service.”

Mark Duffy

Process carried out by Will and Alex.