We only ever consider what we see above ground – usually a perfectly trimmed lawn, with neat and tidy stripes. But what goes on under the surface, and how does it affect your lawn above ground?
It’s all about the structure
Soil structure is something rarely considered when thinking about your lawn. Increasingly, farmers are understanding the importance of a good soil structure for optimum cropping results, and the same concepts can definitely be applied to a domestic scale. Healthy soil = healthy grass.
Structure refers to what your soil is composed of, and how compacted it is. A perfect soil type is loamy, this soft clay like structure will hold its shape, drain well and generally is very workable to prepare a good seedbed. Compaction can affect your lawn too, a heavily trafficked area will generally not have such a good soil structure.
What can you do to improve structure? In agriculture, farmers often use what’s known as a green manure. This is a crop which is grown just to lightly cultivate back into the soil, adding organic matter. As this decays, nutrients are put back into the soil, and the soil becomes more fertile. Whilst this is quite impractical in a garden, by using a more diverse seed mixture, you can build up a more complex root structure, with different species having different root profiles. You might even consider a wildflower mix for optimum soil health.
You can top dress your lawn periodically too. This helps add organic matter to the soil, in turn maintaining fertility.
What about fertility?
It’s difficult to build soil fertility without using fertiliser input. There are many organic fertilisers available, which help increase vital nutrients, like Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potassium.
Alternatively, you can look at using a lawn seed mixture with wild white clover, like our Clover Lawn. This leguminous plant actually builds nitrogen in the soil.
So next time you’re out in the garden enjoying a sunny afternoon, take a moment to think about what’s going on underneath you, and how you can keep your soil healthy and your lawn green!