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March 2015 Newsletter
Welcome to this special Unwins March newsletter where this month we’ll focus on lawns. Most of us will have some form of lawn in our garden, whether it’s large or small, for relaxing, playing, a strictly no go exhibition standard lawn or even just a grass path. Unkempt lawns can ruin the beauty of a garden but when looked after and presented well they bring every aspect of a garden together to create a really wonderful view.
This month we’ve got some great hints and tips for maintaining your lawn as well as a few other things that you can be getting on with in your garden.
Spring is the busiest time of year in the lawn care calendar. There’s the first cut of the year, feeding, aeration topdressing and repair so it’s worth preparing yourself a few weeks in advance so you can get stuck in. Although it’s a lot of work, it’s definitely worth the effort.
For some people thefirst cut of the lawn is the first sign of spring. The best way to make the first cut is by gradually reducing the overall height of the grass. If it has been a mild winter the grass can be fairly long so set your mower at the highest setting first then reduce the height over the next few cuts.
It’s a good time to tackle moss and weed control. Apply moss and weed killer or a triple weed and feed, which will kill weeds, moss and also feed your lawn in one go. Later you can scarify your lawn to remove any thatch.
If you don’t have a lawn or want to repair bald patches seeding and re-seeding can be done now. The soil is moist and temperatures are heating up which means seeds will quickly germinate but for quality, make sure the area is prepared well first before you sow any seed.
Levelling might need to be done if your lawn has experienced a lot of footfall. Softer areas might sink overtime causing small hillocks which can become scalped when a mower runs over it. To level your lawn, make an H-shape incision in a hillock and flip over the flaps of turf. Remove excess soil, level it off and then replace the flaps.
Every two years or so, it’s a good idea to aerate your lawn, especially if there is a lot of footfall. You can use special aeration tools or a garden fork. This creates holes in your lawn which can be filled in with topdressing or lawn sand.
There is still time to plant bare root roses and of course you can plant container roses at any point. We have a new range too so why not take a look and see if there’s something you like. Where ground isn’t boggy or frozen, newly planted, dormant plants such as roses establish very quickly.
We think they’re all great but we’ve picked out a few that we think you’ll absolutely love:
Amber Queenis a much loved floribunda rose that will grow well in most conditions. Produces five to nine headily scented flowers which are good for cutting.
Fellowshipis an easy to grow floribunda rose which produces five to seven scented flowers per cluster. It’s free-flowering, fairly trouble-free and has an attractive bush form.
‘Gemma’ is a floribunda rose that should be your first choice for cutting. ‘Gemma’ produces five to nine moderately scented flowers per cluster. The blooms are a cool, luxurious pink colour that really stands out in any bed or border.
If you’ve not got round to sowing seeds don’t worry, you can buy them as sweet pea plants from us. We’ve been growing sweet peas for a century, so you know you are growing plants which have been expertly and carefully produced. We have a great choice and the most difficult thing about growing them is choosing which variety you like!
Here’s an easy to follow guide to planting your sweet pea plants:
Sweet peas will need the support of canes or trellis and can also be grown through shrubs or other climbers. They’ll be happy in any good, well-drained soil which has plenty of organic matter incorporated but prefer an open, sunny position with some shelter from cold drying winds.
- Plant as soon as possible after delivery, but if conditions are not suitable, store them for a day or two in a light airy place. Keep in an upright position and do not allow them to dry out. Water again prior to planting.
- Plant 2 or 3 inches away from the support and allow 8 -12 inches between plants.
- Plant so that the soil level is the same as it was in the plug. Fill in the hole with soil and firm gently to make sure there are no air-pockets.
- Keep plants well watered especially during hot weather.
Realistically March is the last month you can plant dormant perennials before the warmer weather arrives. If you’ve ordered them already get them straight in when they arrive so that they can establish as much as possible. Do this by digging a hole that’s large enough to fit the entire root mass without any roots being broken, bent or emerging from the surface. It also needs to be deep enough to cover the roots with around half an inch of soil. Use any appropriate fertiliser to give the planting hole a boost.
Some bare roots will have shoots appearing on them already, but others may not. For those that don’t have shoots, they can be planted any way up and covered with around half an inch of soil. For those that do have shoots, make sure that they are facing upwards when planting and when covering the roots with soil be careful to not break them off. Firm down the planted area gently with your hands and mark the planted area with a cane or label so that you know where they are. Give them a good soak and then just wait for the action!
Whether you’re creating a new lawn or re-seeding an existing one, it’s important to know your grass. No two lawns are the same or rather the soil and site which they are situated; some gardens are shaded, some are in full sun. It’s also important to think about what your lawn is going to be used for. Is it for playing on, walking on or just to admire? All these variables count towards what you want from your grass.
Lawns don’t consist of just one type of grass and in fact a mix can contain several different species, all with their own advantages. Perennial rye grass is a commonly used species which is fast to germinate and quick to establish. It’s good for a dense lawn and has particularly good tolerance to wear and tear so is great for lawns which see a lot of action.
Fescues come in all shapes and sizes but essentially have the same characteristics. They’re useful because they can be grown on a wide range of soil types from sandy, gravelly, peaty, dry or damp soils. Chewings Fescue and Creeping Red Fescue are very common turf grass varieties which have good disease and drought resistance and form a dense carpet.
Browntop Bent and Smooth Stalked Meadow Grass are the final common lawn grass species. Browntop Bent is very much a luxury grass and creates a lovely lush finish. It’s also tolerant of frequent mowing. Smooth Stalked Meadow Grass is ideal for a shady situation so if your lawn doesn’t see much sun then choose a mix which is high in this seed. The Shady Surestart Lawn Seedhas been specifically formulated for use in shady areas around buildings, trees and bushes. It thrives in shady conditions and has good drought tolerance once established.
If you’re still unsure about which seed is best for your lawn, a multi-purpose lawn seed might be best. Gro-Sure Multi-Purpose Lawn Seed is perfect if you want to create a new lawn, over-seed worn grass or fill in bare patches. It will start to produce a great looking lawn in just 10 days.
If you want a lawn without the wait, the Surestart: Fast Acting Lawn Seedis what you need. It makes it quicker and easier to create a lush, green lawn, using a blend of quick growing, hard wearing varieties. Its rapid establishment also makes it ideal for over-seeding worn grass or filling bare patches. The grass will start to appear from 4-6 days onwards under optimal conditions when the soil is moist so there really is no hanging about.
Unless you have a “KEEP OFF THE GRASS” sign, chances are that your lawn will need repairing at some point. There could be patches appearing randomly or it might look a little yellow and sickly. There are a few things that you can do to help, for instance aeration and scarification but there are also some great products that will help revive your tiered looking lawn.
Even Flo Patch Fix Lawn Seedwill fill in patches and areas of worn out lawns. The unique Even-Flo ball design ensures an easy and even application. It incorporates a unique patching formula and spreader ball technology as well as grass seed, feed, seeding soil blend and pet urine neutraliser; the grass seed is pet urine resistant too so perfect if you have dogs and cats.
Aftercut Lawn Thickener Feed & Seedis also great for filling sparse areas with new grass but also conditions existing growth. Aftercut Lawn Thickenerincludes lawn feed and added grass seed allowing it to both feed and seed your lawn at the same time giving a thicker, more lush appearance to your garden.
(Best Buy) Even Flo 3 Day Green Lawn Feedis the quickest way to get a great looking lawn. It feeds and conditions for a greener, stronger, healthier lawn without the risk of scorching. You will notice visibly greener, healthier results after only 3 days. It also helps to suppress weeds and moss and creates a thicker, harder wearing lawn with regular applications so is perfect if your lawn experiences a lot of foot fall.
Lawn Sandhas a variety of essential uses and helps root health in almost all applications of lawn treatment. Lawns demand improved drainage over and above the normal. Add lawn sand to your lawn as a top dressing and it will encourage faster and better roots to form. Compacted lawns become waterlogged and this leads to root damage. By aerating the lawn and brushing Lawn Sand into the resulting holes, you can improve the drainage of the lawn and enhance the root health of the individual grass plants.
Even the professionals will suffer from lawn weeds and pest at some point. In other words they’re inevitable. It’s best to be prepared with an arsenal of weed and pest killers so when they appear you can instantly fight back.
Resolva Lawn Weed killer.For killing weeds in your lawn you need a selective weed killer. This type of weed killer will target broadleaf weeds.Resolva lawn weed killer is exactly this, a selective weed killer that targets weeds such as clover, daisy and dandelions. It effectively kills them off without harming the grass and is suitable for application with a watering can or, for best results, a specially designed sprayer. Quite simply it kills the weeds but not the grass!
Ant Killer. Ants might be small but there power in numbers. Their nest, that they often build in lawns, will push up soil creating mounds. When a lawn mower runs over the top of these ant hills they can damage the blades as well as make an unsightly patch on your grass. Nippon Ant Killer eliminates this nuisance pest fast and effectively. These soluble sachets can be watered over the nest. It’s quick, simple and effective!
(Best Buy) Nemasys Leatherjacket killer. Leather jackets are the larval stage of the crane fly or daddy-long-legs. They are about 2.5cm (1" long), greyish black in colour, legless and with no distinct head. In August you might see clouds of daddy-long-legs emerging from lawns in the early morning and this is a sure sign of leather jacket infestation. Starlings peck at the grass in an attempt to eat the grubs. Wildlife, such as foxes and badgers, can also create a lot of damage as they dig up your lawn in search of grubs for food. Grass growth slows and yellow patches appear as the leatherjackets get munching the root. As a result grass is easily pulled up, with little or no root growth.
Nemasys Leatherjacket killer is a biological control using nematodes which seek out the leatherjackets and attack the pest by entering natural body openings. Once inside, they release bacteria that stop the pest from feeding, quickly killing them. But they do not stop there. The nematodes reproduce inside the dead pest and release a new generation of nematodes, which disperse and search for further prey.
Lawn Feed, Weed & Moss Killer. Moss, like weeds, also cause unsightly patches in your lawn. Aftercut All in One Lawn Feed, Weed & Moss Killer is a multi-action lawn treatment which feeds and conditions your lawn and also kills weeds and moss. If your lawn has a weed and moss problems and looks a little worse for wear then this all in one treatment is the one for you. Be aware that moss in your lawn could be a sign of water logging or poor drainage, so if this a consistent problem think about improving drainage.
Lawn Disease Control. Lawn diseases, such as fusarium patch and red thread, like weeds are a real pain. More than anything they show that the hygiene of your lawn is poor but they also make it look a lot less appealing. The Lawn Disease Controlcontrols most common lawn diseasesand can be used all year round. The soluble sachets make it really easy to apply.
If you have a lawn chances are you’ll have a mower. However for a really top notch lawn it’s worth investing in a few more essential tools that will turn it into something truly luxurious. Here’s our top five essential tools.
Drop Lawn Spreader. Achieving a lush green lawn means that you’ll need to feed it but this can be a time consuming task. This drop lawn spreader applies lawn treatment evenly and is lightweight, easy to use and assemble. Simply fill the spreader bucket with granular formula and walk it up and down the garden as if mowing. It's completely manually operated with a dispensing propeller underneath which spins as it's pushed along, providing an application rate of 35g/m².
Lawn Rake & Garden Tidy Bag. Leaves, moss and other thatch in your lawns really take away from of an even green expanse. They can also reduce the overall heath of your turf grass. The lawn rake keeps your lawn healthy by increasing air circulation around the surface of the soil and also removes and debris. The metal-tines are perfect for removing moss and dead grass from your lawn. Doing so allows space for new grass to grow, improving the quality and appearance of your lawn over the following season. The lightweight garden clearance bag, which is supplied with the rake, is a perfect companion, holding 138ltrs of lawn debris.
Hi-Rise Tripod Sprinkler. Lawns, like any garden plant, need irrigation, especially when new or in the height of summer during periods of prolonged drought. This hi-rise tripod sprinkler is perfect when you need to irrigate a large area. It’s also made from rust resistant aluminium and is adjustable, extending from 54cm to 85cm. The solid brass 3 arm sprinkler will cover up to 5m/16ft in diameter, depending on the water pressure and the brass quick connect fitting on the tripod is compatible with other fittings as well. This sprinkler will work at low pressure from 20psi producing ultimate performance at 50psi or above.
(Best Buy) Edging Iron Kent and Stowe. Edging instantly neatens up your lawn, even if the rest of it is a little untidy. Sharp edges around your beds and borders really stand out and is a quick fix if you are lacking time. This Kent & Stowe Edging Iron is made from the highest quality Ash and stainless steel. It’s durable so it’ll last for years and it’s lightweight and easy on the hands.
Our new 2015 catalogue is on the way, keep an eye out for it landing on your doorstep imminently. If you would like a sneaky peek, then visit our website to see our exciting new products and money-saving special offers!
Year of the Sunflower
This year is the year of the sunflower. In recent years, the sunflower has fallen out of popularity and so we’re trying to promote the use of this great plant to home gardeners. To help your fellow gardeners get growing sunflowers we’d like to see your photos on our facebook page as well as any tips that you can share about how to grow the biggest, boldest and best blooms!
A reminder of our rich heritage...
Whilst searching through some old catalogues last month we came across something really wonderful. A sweet pea supplement from 1924 that we almost forgot we had! It’s also annotated by our founder Mr W J Unwin, so we think it’s a bit special and needs to be shared with the public. With that in mind we’ve donated it to the garden museum who already have a few Unwins items dating from 1953-2003. They were thrilled that we’ve donated and it’s great to know that our history will be preserved with them.