Fork off if you think you know about lawns

I like to know reasons why, why not, how much, when did that, how did that and so on. I think it’s my age (but I’ll stick with the fact that I like to know) and the reasons why gardeners don’t like lawns often springs to mind.

After all, a beautiful lawn, apart from being an environmental necessity, is something that can set off the most plain a garden.

So, why do many dislike lawns so much?

Do they see them as bad for the environment? Well, I suppose they could, but when a plant covers 20% of our planet, surely that proves it’s here because our environment LIKES IT?

And before I go on with a multitude of reasons, is it because many have tried the wrong advice that has been banded around (by gardeners and TV alike), failed and turned back to gardening full stop?

You see, I speak to a lot of gardeners, Very good ones at that and their knowledge of correct lawn care, stems from their very early horticultural training or what they can read in say the Lawn Expert or something.

And its then that it starts to sink in. Horticulture has simply not moved forward with lawn care at all. And this goes right to the very top.

If we have let gardeners survive with a book, which some relate to as their bible, that is approx 50 years old (and just a guide BTW), then we must stand up and apologize.

One prime example of bad advice still gets put out each year on TV by a gardener supreme (apparently) and this haunts me each time I see it.

The good old garden fork!

That’s right. Garden fork. A tool that was designed to dig over flower beds and vegetable beds. A very useful tool, if I’m honest…for that purpose.

A tool that decompacts soils when it is turned over. In fact, it allows bacteria’s and microbes to increase as well. Truly a wonderful implement.

Except for use on lawns. In fact, I often wonder who was that first person who came up with the idea that it could help lawns because it just makes holes.

When we see the fork in use on a lawn, why is it always on a poor lawn?

Have we seen it in use at football stadia over the years? Yes, either to help puddles disappear so as to get a game on or flicking back divots maybe.

Definitely not for aeration. Definitely not for maximum benefit on a domestic lawn, where, one it would take an eternity to do and two, where the benefit will not be seen, thereby making people think, why shall I bother again?

IMO, that person has a lot to answer for (if he could ever be tracked down)

You have to look at why lawns in the UK don’t improve that much (and believe me, we may be a country whose climate loves grass, but we are a nation of failed lawn carers) and you simply don’t have to look further than the soils.
After all, lawns are simply a plant growing in soils. Just like our flower beds and vegetable beds, in fact. So, let’s look at the comparisons;

A vegetable bed is often dug over yearly. A lawn is almost never dug over.
New plants are added each year into an improving soil. A lawn rarely, if ever, gets over seeded even, let alone correctly.

If plants fail in the garden, it is often replaced with plants that do. This won’t happen in a lawn as most people don’t know which grass may be surviving in their lawn.

You see, I could go on and on. Now, I’m no gardener, so I won’t comment about plants as it’s not my forte you see, but I can tell you simply.

If one of the main bits of inadequate advice is to fork a lawn in 2016, then I see one of the reasons why lawns are not trendy. Why they don’t fit into gardening media very well. Why we are giving up on a plant that is so easy to grow, we just don’t know how to grow it very well.

Anyway, I could write a book on how simple lawn care actually is, that would help all gardeners alike and well………….

Just as well no one bought me a new garden fork for xmas…..I would have had to given it to a gardener!