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Need help with my lawn

First time lawn owner and I have no idea what I'm doing, hoping to get some help please

We bought a house but due to bad health couldnt take care of our lawn. It had some weeds in it when we moved in July and they kept growing until now and are out of control.
In September we put weedkiller & grass feed in there which in hindsight may have been a bad idea. I first got gardening tools last week and gave it a cut and tried raking away thatch with a spring rake.


The grass/straw is so long its connected in the ground both from its root and its tip, or along the ground maybe ? I'm not sure but when trying to rake I am pulling up so much dirt I'm worried I don't know how to even start treating this. Any help appreciated!


  • Farway
    Farway Posts: 13,178 Forumite
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    It's a tad too early and the grass will not be growing just yet, any day now though

    Unless you are looking for a bowling green & hard work forever I wouldn't worry about, however it if you just want a green bit to sit on & drink tea while admiring your garden then leave it alone for now, it'll soon green up

    Once it & everything else starts growing then give it a mow once a week, not too short. By May you'll have a green bit of grass tah does the job

    Grass comes in various varieties and not knowing what your one is, it could be suitable football pitch or bowling green at opposite ends of the spectrum

    Generally just mowing will keep it going and weed free, even then some weeds are OK by me, daises & dandelions and call it bee friendly

    It really depends what you want not what the neighbours want
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  • MichaelDH
    MichaelDH Posts: 154 Forumite
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    We bought a cheap scarifer last year, which removed the thatch and allowed the lawn to breathe, which really helped improve it's condition. If you don't want to buy one you could probably hire one. I definitely think that would be a good starting point.

    Then in a few try to focus on improving the soil by aerating the soil and then lightly dressing with compost. You can buy aerators quite cheaply, or you could just a garden fork. I personally don't both with any fertilisers or anything like that, I just aerate and top dress twice a year, Spring and Autumn.

    Also, once you have the lawn in better shape try not too cut it too short or too often as this encourages shallow roots which makes the lawn very sensitive too draught in the summer months.
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  • It doesnt need to be a perfect green lawn but as you can see in the images I have big areas of dead grass and some weird thick 'mound' growths and even other weeds that ID on't know how to treat.. Do I just pull them up? I don't know how to move on from here.

    The idea of a scarifier is interesting - It's a really small lawn- Can I do the same by hand? 
  • A rake does by hand what a scarifier does - if soil is coming up just shake it off back onto the lawn and then maybe walk over to consolidate it a bit... then I would just go with what Farway suggested...
  • twopenny
    twopenny Posts: 5,488 Forumite
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    edited 16 March 2022 at 1:31PM
    I can't see much in the way of weeds. It's in a state for some reason more than lack of maintenance. I wonder how deep the soil is there?
    But rake first to get some of the long dead bits out, it's good for the arms (too small for a scarifer)
    Then jab a garden fork in repeatedly 6inchs apart to aerate the soil.
    Get a nitrogen rich lawn improver and sprinkle on as instructed on the packet. Usually before rain in spring.
    Once it starts to improve start to mow. Keep the blades an inch above the ground. A higher cut will need doing more often but it will encourage the grass to throw up more shoots.
    If the cause of the die back is shallow soil over stone - you need to cut a small piece out check and replace - then add a cheap compost, Poundland do a decent one, over to improve the soil condition. Probably a good idea once you've put the feed on anyway.

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  • I raked and scarified each spring, by hand, ****** hard work but definitely worth it.
    When i moved to this property i did away with grass though so no more a slave !
  • Thanks for input, I have some questions.

    I think the reason for it being in a state is that I foolishly put down weed killer and grass grower (all in one product) last year thinking I was doing something good, before winter came. That killed off a bunch of weed and grass grew further (it had grown all summer and not ever been cut). I didnt realise I had to cut and rake out after using the product.

    Now when I rake I keep pulling ground up and that is what worries me because a lot of the yellow/white grass has grown horizontal along the ground.. Shall I keep doing this then? I went over a big patch with scissors to cut it up to avoid pulling ground up but it hakes ages.

    Based on what is written here my plan is to
    - Rake up all the grass even if it pulls up ground
    - Stick garden fork in the ground as suggested to aerate
    - Use my weed killer + grass grower product before rain
    - Mow the grass a bit later 

    I've noticed there is a lot of small looking bugs in the griound. They look like 1-2 cm long worms, but they probably arent worms.. In quite a few of the dry patches of the lawn there is also a lot of ants- I reckon on all sides of the lawn there some ants working, probably not a good sign either.

  • twopenny
    twopenny Posts: 5,488 Forumite
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    It's nothing too much to orry about. It's typical of grass that has been neglected 
    The grubs will be chaffer grubs, a beetle that's useful in the garden if not the lawn.
    Ants the same. 
    I had some good advice when I asked and will try and link the thread tonight. Or you can rummage around in my profile. It has before and after pics.
    Nitrogen will help to make the good grass grow. Various ways to get it in that thread.

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  • twopenny
    twopenny Posts: 5,488 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Photogenic

    viral kindness .....kindness is contageous pass it on

    The only normal people you know are the ones you don’t know very well

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