12 March 2009
backstabbing the lawn
Today Doug backstabbed the lawn. It would normally be spiked but because of a miscommunication it took this drastic turn instead. Whatever it's called the results should hopefully be the same.
Each summer the grass takes a real beating with much of the lawn vanishing out the gate stuck to one backside or another and hundreds of footsteps drum the ground rockhard. Through the winter, when it is wet, large patches get churned to mud by visitors and workgroups and I restrain myself from wielding 'Keep off the Grass' signs at all and sundry. I have no yearning for a weed-free velvet sward but without repair the patches will turn to dust by summer and a thorough backstabbing is now needed. This will ease the compacted soil letting air and water in and improving conditions for the grass to recover.
We do have a hollow-tine aerator for the job. This supposedly removes neat plugs of soil to the proper depth. It might do just this on fine topsoil but with rubble filled clay tears great divots out instead and is more bother than it's worth. Which explains why it was stored dirty and now has rock-hard mud plugs dried into it's hollow tined cleverness. After optimistically wasting time with sticks, screwdrivers and other pokery business it is now soaking in the waterbutt before finding a new home with someone else's lawn.
Doug used the the tried and trusty garden fork instead. This is pushed in all over the lawn to a depth of 4 - 6 inches and gently pushed back and forth to open the soil. It is not digging, it is just making lots of holes (turn the fork to face you - then the tines go in vertically and you are less likely to dig). Sharp sand can be brushed in to work its way down into the holes to help keep the holes open.
The worms will also get in on the act after they've recovered from the scare. By the speed they came out of the ground they must have thought the mole of all moles was on the rampage.