|To maintain a chemical lawn you initially just need money and some spare time, later you need more money and some more spare time. |
Let's just pretend that you have spent some money to have an "instant" lawn by laying turfs. Firstly you need to water it every two days (or every day if it's hot and dry) unless it rains. You need to make sure that the turfs have rooted into the ground before the onset of winter frost or you are likely to lose parts of your lawn. Fertilising your lawn with chemicals achieves quick thick growth, but because of fast growth you have to water and cut more. Also, because the fertiliser and water is applied from the surface, the grass roots don't penetrate down as far as they normally would as everything the grass requires is near the surface. After several years this stratifies the soil which basically means that without your effort of watering in hot weather the grass quickly browns off. Another problem encountered with too much force feeding is that the worms disappear which causes compacting in the soil, again preventing the grass roots from penetrating down (no worm tunnels for the roots to follow and no minerals brought up for the grasses requirements). After 5 - 7 years of fertilising your grass the quick growth has depleted the minerals near the surface and your grass starts looking yellow then the diseases set in.
If insect grubs haven't already made home amongst the roots of your sick, mineral deficient grass then it's only because you have been throwing increasing amounts of various "recommended" additives on your lawn. By now (5-7 years later) you are probably also getting moss amongst your grass unless you put more chemicals down to try and clear the problem. Quite often broadleaved plants (weeds) establish themselves in your lawn because there is no serious competition from the grass for resources. So by now (7 years) you are stressed out, physically beaten to a point of despair, out of pocket and totally fed up with the time you have wasted to achieve nothing but a yellowing weed patch, so what do you do ?
Firstly throw away all your chemicals and fertilisers. Then aerate your lawn by pushing your fork into the ground to a depth of 4 - 6" and 1ft apart, this will allow oxygen into the soil, when you cut the grass leave the cuttings on the lawn (making sure it's not in big clumps) after a year the worms will start coming back and you will no longer have to aerate manually. In early winter (end of November) sweep the lawn, this will break up the worm casts and spread them about (giving much needed minerals to the grass). Do not rake as the worms will tug below ground some of the grass cuttings which will put organic matter into the ground and get the flora and fauna working again.
If your grass is in a really bad way with bald patches then stop cutting the grass until it has flowered and reseeded itself which takes about 6 - 10 weeks during the growing season, you can then return to your normal regime of cutting the grass. Allowing your own grass to reseed will produce stronger and fitter grass than any of the chemically pumped up seed you can buy. By the end of the second year your grass should be healthy again and all you need to do is encourage the worms by leaving the grass cuttings where they fall (you can sweep them in after a couple of days of drying out if you don't like the appearance) and rake out any excess cuttings in early spring, another good thing to do is when shrub and tree leaves fall leave them alone for a week or two before tidying them up, and again you'll find that the worms will come up and drag a lot of them into their burrows, much to
everyone's benefit, it also means less work clearing up what's left.