In Ireland that is. The keys to success for a perfect lawn in Ireland are:
1. Squint your eyes
2. Learn to love moss
3. Give up
Im not joking. I could end the post here and be completely content. Moss is green, daisies are pretty. I don’t see what the fuss is all about!
But, I know not everyone feels the same and it is something that is on everyone’s mind this time of year. So, there are a couple of things I would like to highlight to save everyone heartache.
Firstly, a perfect lawn needs a lifetime of commitment.
Secondly, the commonly found Irish soil is really not suited to a perfect lawn. It is suited to green growing things in general, but not specifically lawn.
Why you ask?
The biggest problem for lawn in Ireland is drainage. Here, you have borderline rainforest levels of precipitation combined with naturally heavy clay soil (in many places, not all) or compacted clay ( a result of recent construction) which is far from free draining. The problem lies in how to create better drainage which is a must for a good lawn.
You could aerate. But no one hires them here because there are too many stones and they just end up breaking. You could put in drainage but you really need to go the distance with your drainage layout.
OR, you could smother your bad lawn and start fresh! This is the one I have had the most success with myself so here is how it is done:
1. Cover the entire area to be lawned with cardboard
2. Add at least 50mm of amended topsoil (compost, manure mixed in with regular topsoil)
3. Lay sods on top. You can seed as well if it is too large an area but weeds really do work their way in so sodding is the best
4. Water it in if it isn’t already raining
5. and…say a couple prayers on Sunday.
And a tip for determing what is wrong with your lawn (other than being located in Ireland): Listen to the weeds.
The weeds that are driving you nuts are telling a story about your soil.
Moss, speedwell, daisies – Clear signs of poor drainage as they thrive in damp soil
Clover – low nutrient, compacted
Dandelion – compacted, slightly acidic
Plantains – compaction, low nutrient, poor drainage
Those are the most common and the ones that will tell a good story about your soil. And the most important thing to remember when trying to fix your lawn: don’t take a bad lawn personally.
Oh yeah, and that mosskiller weed and feed stuff is a waste of money! You will be using it every year and in fact will probably have more moss at the end of it all.