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WHAT CAN YOU DO IN THE GARDEN OVER WINTER?

 

It’s that time of year when gardening isn’t really on people’s to-do lists!

It’s easy to forget about it when you’re spending more time indoors than usual!

 

But there’s still plenty you can be doing in the garden now.

 

It’s great for you and your garden to get out there, even if it’s only for a short time each week!

You can keep your garden tidy and your lawn in good condition ready for the summer, and keep yourself active and healthy!

 

It’s great for the mind too – a scientifically-proven way to stay happy!

  • The Mycobacterium vaccae inhaled when gardening increases serotonin and norepinephrine levels, making us feel happy
  • Sunshine increases our all-important Vitamin D levels
  • The colour green is linked to good health and nature

 

Ok, even if you don’t fancy gardening, it’s still great to get outside for some fresh air! So wrap up warm and get out for a nice walk to Beat the Winter Blues!

 

Here are our top tips for winter gardening!

Lawn Care

You may not be out in the garden or using your lawn much at the moment, but you can still take care of it so it’s in the best possible condition come the spring.

  • Treat your lawn mower to a service and have the blades sharpened. This will keep your mower in good condition and your grass too! Blunt blades won’t cut the grass properly and will leave it bruised and cause it to turn brown or yellow
  • “If it’s still growing, keep mowing!”. Grass will still grow if the temperature is above 5 degrees, so you may still need to cut your grass over the winter. Try to let it dry out as much as possible first though, and keep the blades on a raised setting
  • If there has been a heavy frost or your grass is waterlogged try to stay off it as much as possible. Overuse of a wet lawn can cause a lot of damage
  • Remove fallen leaves and twigs from your lawn. If left on the lawn they can create brown patches and can even spread lawn disease

Get ready for spring and summer!

If this is the year you’re going to give your garden the makeover you’ve been promising, what better time to start than now?!

Doing as much as you can in the garden now will mean that you can relax and enjoy it much more when the warm weather arrives!

  • Now is a great time to plan your garden for the year ahead. You can sketch a plan of what you’d like where and order any seeds, plants or aggregates needed
  • Zones can be created using aggregates and play surfaces, such as:
      • Play areas for the kids or pets, using play bark and sand (for soft-landings!)
      • Feature and low-maintenance areas, using pebbles and stone or slate chippings
  • Repair and paint fences and sheds. Clean the greenhouse, plant pots and equipment ready to use
  • If the ground isn’t frozen, roses can be planted outdoors, as well as some fruit bushes and fruit trees
  • It’s the perfect time to start growing flowering plants from seed indoors, as well as spring and summer veg such as cress, salad leaves and spring onions
  • Prune, tidy and shape bushes, shrubs, grasses and trees

General jobs

  • Harvest winter veg
  • Keep paths and patios safe for use by removing moss and slime that can be slippery. It’s a good idea to keep a stock of rock salt in case you need it on your path, patio or driveway
  • If there has been a heavy snowfall, carefully remove it from hedges and greenhouses etc to avoid damage being caused
  • Weed borders and beds
  • Remember to keep bird feeders and water baths topped up and clean
  • If you have wet and muddy gateways or unmade paths, laying a good layer of bark chippings helps to absorb the water and make them easier and safer to walk on

 

Happy Gardening!

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How to prepare for Laying Turf

So you have made the decision to lay new turf!  The real secret to making sure you have the best lawn is to get the preparation done properly!

 

It can be tempting to skip this step but trust us getting in the preparation will ensure you don’t end up with a lawn that doesn’t look as good as it should.

 

Before you are ready to create a new lawn male sure you allow yourself enough time to do the preparation work in advance.  Once you have your turf delivered it needs to be laid as soon as possible! Leaving it on the pallet could kill it!

 

So this is what you need to do!

 

1 – Check the weather as far in advance so you can plan the time to do the prep work! You may not want to do it if it is bad weather and likewise if it is too hot you may struggle!

 

2 – Depending on how big the lawn needs to be, give yourself some days and a bit more time to do the following tasks and then estimate when you are likely to need your turf.  Don’t order it too early or too late!

 

3 – Assemble your tools!  You will need:

  • Shovel 
  • Fork
  • Garden Rake 
  • Maybe a mechanical turf cutter or rotavator if you have a large area to turf.

 

4 – Clear the Area!  You need to remove all plants, weeds and debris like stones, rocks, roots, twigs.  Every bit of plant material.  You need to make it as bare as you can.  Dig it up with a garden spade to remove all the surface.  You can put all the old turf in the compost somewhere.

 

5 – Rotovate  – Once you have removed the top. You need to dig and rotovate the soil.  Turn it over to remove any bricks, stones, or debris.  You need to remove any stones that are bigger than 4cm and dig about 15 cm/6 inches (or deeper).  If you are planning to add more topsoil or soil improvers add in at this stage so you get it evenly spread and incorporated.

 

6 – Rake and Level – Once the area is prepared you need to make it nice and level.

 

7 – Firm It Up – At this stage the soil may be a bit too loose for laying the turf.  Turf needs a firm base (not rock solid).  It needs to be strong enough to support the weight of the turf and not sink, but not so solid the roots cannot grow.  This is where you learn to do the “gardeners shuffle”  You also need to make sure that you allow any depth for the grass to be level with a path or paving, giving approximately 20mm lower than the desired height will be just about right.  

 

8 – Rake and Level again – You may find that you have a few lumps and bumps after you have firmed the ground. 

 

9 – Shuffle again! Break up the last of the clumps and firm

10 – Lay your turf!

 

Alan Titchmarsh demonstrates all of this really well (including the gardeners shuffle) in this video:

 

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How to edge a Lawn

Do you ever find that you mow your lawn but it just doesn’t seem to look that smart?

 

Those bits that grow up and the mower won’t get near it and the strimmer keeps breaking when you try?

 

If you take some time to defining the edges of the law it will:

🌟 make mowing easier 

🌟 Help to separate borders from the lawn

🌟create a smart appearance. 

 

Here is our Quick Transform Your Lawn Guide to get your edging right!

 

It’s easy to transform a lawn simply by taking some time to tidy the edges properly

Do this once a year and your lawn will look so much better.

 

Tools you will need are:

 

Lawn edging shears! (Long handled are best)

Half Moon Edging Iron or Garden Spade.

 

Step 1 – Map out where you will edge

Use a plank of wood to help you stay in a straight line.  If you want it to be curvy, lay the hose on where you want to go.  

 

Step 2  – Start to cut the edge

Take the Half Moon Iron and cut.  Keep it straight at 90 degrees to the lawn so you get a crisp edge, go down as far as the footplate as a guide to keep it all the same depth 4-6 inches.  This will cut through any roots that are trying to spread and help to keep your borders free from stray grass.

 

Step 3  – Maintain

If you are edging for a garden border, a layer of fine border bark on your beds will make it look clean and tidy.  If you need something more permanent you can look into edging that is plastic or metal to separate lawn and garden beds. 

 

Ideally, address the edges every time you mow with shears and strimmer and repeat with the half-moon iron or shovel at least once a year.

 

Do this as not only a great way to make your lawn look neater and tidy. It will add value to your property and garden fast and free.

 

Providing the root barrier will save lots of time weeding your beds and it will pay off. (not to mention it’s a great workout!)

 

 Let us know how you get on.

 

If you need more support get in touch. If you are looking to edge with bark or decorative chips have a look at the ranger we provide throughout Essex and Suffolk.

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Kieran’s Garden Tips for April

Garden tips for April

April means spring has sprung officially and we can make sure our gardens are ready to be enjoyed in the summer, so here are Kieran’s top garden tips for April

So what can you do now?

  • Order some summer bedding and hanging plants online!
  • Check your planters aren’t drying out! As it warms up the soil moisture will quickly change so keep an eye on these.
  • Lift and Divide any Perennial Plants, This will create new plants for your garden. (perennial plants are plants that live for 2 or more years)
  • Feed Trees and Shrubs.
  • Check and tie back any tree ties or tie any climbing roses.
  • Deadhead the daffodils and tulips

FOR THE LAWN

  • Now is a great time to sow lawn seed if you have patchy areas.  Just remember to keep the soil moist while it germinates.
  • Lay new turf.  It’s a great time to make the lawn greener, do remember to water it and keep it moist until it is established. If you lay in April you should expect your lawn to be good in 2-3 weeks
  • Apply a lawn dressing or fertiliser – see our lawn dressing here
  • Mow your lawn!  But remember not to cut too short
  • Aerate the compacted areas with a garden fork

Happy Gardening!  

We hope you enjoyed our garden tips for April.

If you are wondering should you lay turf or buy seed have a look at this blog post

We share lots of tips on our Facebook page!

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Should I Turf My Lawn or Buy Seed?

Should I buy turf or seed?

If your lawn isn’t looking great (or non-existant) you may ask yourself, “should I buy turf or seed?”

If you are faced with the choice between buying grass seed or turf here are the key things you need to know:

COSTS


Grass seed is cheaper than turf

TIME

Turf will be an instant lawn look and ready to use in 3-6 weeks, whereas seed will take around 6-12 months to mature.

HASSLE

With seed you need to protect against birds who may eat it and cats who will use it as a lavatory. You also need to wait for seed to germinate and it can be uneven and slower at times of the year.  Also you need to choose the right seed mix for you. It may also germinate weeds!

Seed needs to be sown evenly (not the easiest of jobs )

Turf is perishable.  You need to ideally lay it as quickly as possible.  It requires some muscle and effort to lay (but is a great work out)!

PLUS POINTS

Seed can be stored easily until the weather is right.  It’s very easy to sow, you don’t need to put too much effort into it and you don’t get as dirty!

Turf is easy to lay and your lawn will look great quickly and be usable in a few weeks.  You are not at risk from birds eating it or cats digging at the soil. You don’t have to choose the seed mix, we have done that already.

 

So what is your decision?  Should you buy turf or seed?

We hope this helps you and if we can help with your turf needs do have a look at the online calculator to see how much turf you need or call the office we are based near Harwich Essex, and deliver all over Essex and Suffolk.

Are you on social media?  Follow us on Instagram and Facebook

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Improve your soil with Manure

Now is a great time to add manure to your garden. You can layer it on nice and thick and cover the soil. This acts as a great protective layer to your soil making sure none of the goodness is lost. Left over the winter the worms will do most of the work for you and come the spring you can simply turn the soil over and its ready to plant. as the years go by it is great to see so many of our customers returning to us for Manure to repeat this process. We think manure is a great way to add structure and nutrition to your soil in the most natural way. What ever jobs you are doing in the garden this Autumn, remember the number one rule…have fun!

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Schools out for the Summer!

It’s been a great first half of the year at Oakley Turf Farm. With new family members and product lines, it’s a really exciting period for our family-run company.

To celebrate this success we want to thank and reward our community. Simply subscribe to our newsletter and you will receive a discount code. Leave your email here if you want to be part of it and we look forward to hearing from you.


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New product line launched today

Whether you need turf for your family garden, something more tolerable or maybe a more professional purpose, then our new range of garden turf will have an option that suits you.

The new products, Family Garden Turf, Ornamental Garden Turf and Hard Wearing Garden Turf offer you a range that means that no matter what you are looking for in your turf, we’ve got you covered.

Take a look around on our website https://old.oakleyturf.com/product-category/turf/ or call Kieran and the team to find out more.

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Kieran’s Garden Advice – March

It has been a pretty cold and wet start to the month but warm weather is hopefully just around the corner. If you haven’t managed to get your mower serviced yet, get this booked in at your local Toolhire shop ASAP. As soon as the weather warms up your grass will start to grow.

  • First Cut. When mowing your lawn for the first time this year it is important to adjust your mower to a high setting so that you just “top” the grass. You should never cut more than 1/3 of the total length of the grass. The trick is to start high and then reduce this as we move further into Spring.
  •  Don’t rush in. March may be the official start to spring but Winter can have a sting in the tail. There may be a few frosts yet to come and temperatures may not warm up straight away. If this is the case then hold back. Mowing too much in cold weather can cause a lawn to yellow.

I hope you find this advice helpful and stay tuned for more monthly lawn care tips.

Kieran Phelan

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Kieran’s Garden Advice – February

Much of what you can do in February will depend on the type of winter weather we are experiencing. If there is 3 feet of snow on the ground then concentrate on keeping warm and working on your snowman building. On the other hand if it turns out to be a relatively dry and mild month there are jobs that can be done.

  • Aerating. As we covered in January, too much use of a lawn through the winter such as walking backwards and forwards, kids playing, pets wandering about all help to compact the soil. This will then prevent rain water from draining properly and can seriously stunt the lawns growth. The simplest thing you can do do is to spike or aerate the ground. This will improve drainage and prevent wet muddy areas forming. Try using a hollow tine aerator to remove thin plugs of soil. Or you can spike the grpund with a garden fork down about 15cm/6″ deep. After spiking a few square metres, brush a dressing of sharp sand into the holes and spread a top dressing to help the grass root in the spring. Remember to use only sharp sand and never builder’s sand for this. This should only be done if weather conditions are mild and dry. Some years it may worth waiting till March.
  • Scarifying. If conditions are mild and dry now is a good time to scarify your lawn. There are plenty of tools you can hire or buy for this but a nice soft rake can work just as well. Remove any moss or thatch that has built up and allow your lawn to breathe. You may not see the benefit of this straight away but come spring your lawn will thrive.

I hope you find this advice helpful and stay tuned for more monthly lawn care tips.

Kieran Phelan