What's in YOUR tool bag?

Summer’s the high season for lawns – so if yours isn’t looking its best, maybe it’s time to reassess your lawn care kit?

I keep telling people about ‘modern lawn care’ – not just my book but the whole principle of getting lawns to look great by working with them. And I truly believe we have more than enough ‘tools’ to do this – in fact probably too many! So it pays to choose the right ones, and here are just a few that you should definitely have in yours.


This is one tool that shops have in abundance! Lots of fancy names, and lots of amazing claims about what they’ll do too! So pick yours carefully. I like organic feeds like Nutrifusion which feed the soil as well as the plants. It supports the populations of microbes and tiny organisms that keep you soil healthy. And it comes in the right mixes for each season too.

Mower blades

No, you don’t need to stock up with lots of spare blades (although one or two are not a bad idea). But you DO need to keep your blade sharp and in good condition.

It’s the most neglected item in lawn care, but I liken it to shaving. If you use a blunt or nicked blade, you know what to expect! Same goes for cutting your grass. And not having a garden machinery store nearby is not a good excuse! You can easily sharpen the blade yourself (or simply keep a spare on hand at all times).

Ignore what people say about sharpening only when you see nicks or dents in the blade. It’s too late by then! Your grass will be being hacked and torn every time you mow. In fact, a sharp blade is so good for your lawn that you should really sharpen for every mow….but yes, I know, that’s a bit much! Just try to incorporate regular blade sharpening into your routine.


Sow the seeds of success! Sounds easy, but the tools you need are the right seed – and the right techniques.

At some point there’s always a problem area isn’t there – where the dog pees, the bare patch where you left the hammock all summer – and so it’s off to the garden shop. But as with fertilizer, the choice can be mind-blowing.

So, let’s make it easy. In my book I simply talk of the three common groups – bents, fescues and ryes. That’s all you need to know (after all, how many people talk of the Agrostis Tenuis or the Agrostis Castellana in their lawn?) Understand the basic differences, and you’ll be able to make the right choice.

For example, adding ryegrass to a traditional bents and fescues lawn could spell trouble. Yes, they grow well and fast, but this means that unless you’re an obsessive mower, the ryes quickly stand out and stand proud. Is that the look you’re after?

Just remember, seed is not a ‘throw-and-forget’ product. It needs the right preparation and the right conditions to succeed. Some germination aids can be really helpful – coir, for example, or wetting agents. But the key tools for good germination are food and water. Get those right and you can look forward to healthy new seedlings in that ugly bare patch very soon.

So there we are – the essential tools for nurturing your lawn and keeping it looking good. Of course there are other things – moss killer, aeration and scarifying machines, etc – but before rushing out to buy those, there’s one inexpensive tool that all lawn owners can benefit from – my book.

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