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HOW TO REDUCE WEEDS IN YOUR FLOWER BEDS. MAKE THE MOST OF MULCH AND SEE HOW IT CAN HELP!

HOW TO REDUCE WEEDS IN YOUR FLOWER BEDS. MAKE THE MOST OF MULCH AND SEE HOW IT CAN HELP!

How to reduce weeds in your flower beds – make the most of mulch and see how it can help!

When you’ve spent time and made the effort to create attractive beds and borders, the last thing you want is for them to end up overrun with weeds!

That’s plain annoying!

So what can you do? Make the most of mulch and see how it can help!

Adding a thick layer of mulch is a brilliant way to suppress weeds in beds and borders.

It stops the daylight from reaching the ground to allow the weeds to grow.

It might sound odd, but while mulch will suppress weeds, it will actually help your other plants to grow!

It does this by acting as a thermal layer in hot and cold weather and protecting the plant roots.

You can make your own mulch from your compost heap if you have one, or you can buy specially-produced bark chips.

When should you lay mulch?

The best time to lay mulch is when the ground is moist.

If your beds and borders are already established, add the mulch in late Winter or early Spring before the weeds start to grow.

If they’ve already started growing it will be harder to stop them!

Is there anything else you can do?

If you’re planting up a new border it’s a good idea to lay a permeable weed membrane before you add the mulch.

Lay the membrane, cut holes for your plants and pop them in and then spread the mulch on top of the membrane.

 

You will, unfortunately, still need to weed every now and then. But it won’t be anywhere near as often as if you don’t use a mulch layer!

Take a look at our selection of Bark Chippings and Fine Border Bark here:

https://www.oakleyturf.com/product-category/bark/

 

Happy Gardening!

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HORTICULTURAL DREAMS. YOU CAN SEE YOUR NEW GARDEN IN YOUR HEAD – NOW PLAN, DESIGN AND CREATE IT! RELEASE YOUR INNER TITCHMARSH!

horticultural dreams. plan, design and create your dream garden

 

Horticultural dreams – plan design and create your dream garden.

You can see your new garden in your head. Now release your inner Alan Titchmarsh!

 

Do you find that a new year is like spring in that it gives you the enthusiasm to start a new project?

 

If your New Year’s Resolution for next year will be to sort out your garden then I hope this months’ blog will help you.

 

If you’re stuck for inspiration, let us give you some ideas!

 

You don’t have to be a professional to design your garden and give it a fabulous makeover!

 

You may not be using your garden much at the moment, but it’s a great time to plan ahead for what you can do out there next year.

 

And by planning now, you’ll be ready to go when the weather warms up. So there’ll be no excuses for not doing it!

Plan ahead

Start by thinking about and writing down what you’d like in your garden.

  • Plant types (flowering, evergreen etc)
  • Plant species
  • Which colours
  • Fragrances

Maybe there’s a particular spot in your garden that always seems messy that you’d like to smarten up.

Or you might want to add a seating or barbecue area.

Top Tips:

  1. Ferns are a great plant for shady spots as they like the darker, damper conditions.
  2. Aggregates are a top all-rounder for adding interest through texture and colour. You can use them to create a rockery, on pathways, to brighten up borders, the list goes on…
  3. Creating a play area for the kids with soft and safe surfaces is a really good idea. They have somewhere of their own to play and your lawn stays in one piece!

 

Drawn out

Next, sketch a plan of how you’d like your garden to look, what you’d like where etc.

You can use a vision board to do this too – use pictures from magazines to show what you like.

This can be really helpful. You might have ideas in your head of what you want. But magazines and books are sure to give you fresh ideas that you hadn’t thought of!

There are lots of free garden design apps you could use too.

List it

So you know what you want to do in your new-look garden. Now make a list of everything you’ll need – materials, plants, seeds, compost, turf, aggregates etc.

If you’re planning a large-scale, longer-term, project make separate lists for different areas. That way, you can break up the project into smaller tasks.

This will help make it less overwhelming and will also help you to budget for each task and area.

You might be able to get all you need from your local garden centre. But if not, it might be helpful to add to your list where you’ll buy different items from. Which companies, shops or websites. This will make it easier and quicker when you come to buy everything.

 

I hope this helps you plan your dream garden!

 

Don’t forget to check out our website for more ideas and advice.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up-to-date with our latest news, hints and tips!

Happy Gardening!

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Give your soil a helping hand this autumn and winter by adding a soil improver of manure.

Give your soil a helping hand this autumn and winter. Care for it by adding a soil improver of manure.

 

As we see the leaves on trees turning to the lovely reds and oranges of autumn, we know we’re well into this season.

It’s a great time of year to wrap up warm, go for a walk in the country and watch the seasons change.

Not to mention crunching through the fallen leaves and collecting pine cones and conkers!

 

It’s also a great time to treat your garden to a protective layer of manure.

Give your soil a helping hand this autumn and winter by adding a soil improver of manure.

 

A good thick layer will ensure your soil retains its goodness and nutrients.

  • Manure is a brilliant, natural way of adding nutrients and structure to your soil.
  • It’s the oldest and most effective soil fertiliser and conditioner known to man!
  • It’s also full of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The three main chemicals that plants need for growth.

 

And the great news is, you don’t have to do anything other than spread it on top of your soil!

The worms will do the hard work for you by breaking it down and getting all that goodness into the soil.

In spring you’ll just need to turn over your soil and you’re ready to get planting!

 

We supply bulk bags of horse and farmyard manures:

Our Horse Manure comes from racehorses fed on a controlled diet. It’s pre-turned and shredded so is easy to use and spread.

We source our Farmyard Manure from our own cows and it’s rotted down for at least 12 months.

 

The quality and benefits speak for themselves. Many of our customers return each year for repeat orders to keep their soil in tip-top condition.

If you’re not sure how much you need to order you can use our handy Bag Calculator on our website!

Happy Gardening!

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Prepare your garden for winter!

How to prepare your garden for winter

Prepare your garden for winter!

 

The days are getting shorter and the weather’s getting colder…

As we dig out our winter woollies it’s a sign that some parts of the garden need a bit of extra warmth too!

So it’s time to think about preparing your garden for the winter.

 

Here are our top tips for getting your garden (and house!) winter-ready:

Tend to plants

Before the frost hits, dead-head plants that have finished flowering and prune shrubs.

If you use supports for any of your plants check to see if they need any repairs. If so, do this now before the weather turns.

Put winter warmers on delicate plants!

Not everyone has a greenhouse or space indoors to put delicate plants over the winter.

Protect them with cloches, frost fleece or bubble wrap.

In the greenhouse

Want to grow salads etc over winter? Give them a helping hand to stay warm by fixing a layer of bubble wrap to the interior of your greenhouse.

Get digging

As long as the ground isn’t waterlogged or frosty, dig clay soil beds to improve the soil quality over winter.

You can leave digging sandy soil until spring.

Cover up

If you’re not growing veg over the winter, cover your vegetable patch with weed control fabric, plastic sheet or flat cardboard boxes. This will help to protect the soil and stop it from losing valuable nutrients.

Improve your soil

Dig in to, or spread on top of, your beds a good layer of soil improver such as compost or manure.

Plan ahead

Even as late as November, you can still plant winter-flowering bulbs for colour in January.

Tidy borders, beds and trim hedges

Weed your beds and borders and give hedges a trim to tidy them up before winter.

Safety first

Tidy paths, patios and paving. Remove moss or anything that can become slippery in the frost or snow.

It’s a good idea to keep a bag of Rock Salt to spread on these areas too.

Winter colour

Make sure you’ve still got something to enjoy in the garden over winter. Add evergreen shrubs and winter-flowering plants.

Wash and wax

Check sheds, fences, decking and outdoor furniture for damage and repair if necessary.

It’s a good idea to treat wooden structures and furniture regularly with oil, wax or varnish to protect them from the cold wet weather.

If you have metal or plastic furniture, give it a good wash now to make sure it’s clean to use next spring and summer.

Keep it clean

Clean water butts, gutters and downpipes.

Check gutters and drains aren’t clogged with leaves and debris. Clear them if they are to prevent overflow when the rain comes.

Feed your garden visitors

Food is scarce at this time of year for birds, hedgehogs and lots of other garden visitors.

Put out fat balls, seeds and nuts for birds.

Keep water fresh and check it daily to make sure it’s not frozen.

Cut a small hole at the bottom of a fence to allow hedgehogs in and either buy or make a house for them.

Look to the future

Now is a great time to plan your garden for next year. Sketch a plan of your garden to show what you’d like in it and where.

Then make a list of all the things you’ll need so you’re ready to go next year.

And last but not least – don’t forget the lawn!

Winter can be tough on lawns so give yours a head start.

Scarify your lawn to remove any moss and thatch so the growth isn’t stunted.

Aerate with a garden fork or aerating tool to get air and water deep into the roots.

If you’re going to add a top dressing you can do that now too.

Happy Gardening!

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How to repair your damaged lawn after the hot summer weather.

Repair lawn after hot weather

How to repair your damaged lawn after the hot summer weather.

 

Over the summer, your lawn can really suffer.

The weather is hotter and we use our gardens much more than the rest of the year.

So it’s inevitable that your grass will show the signs come autumn!

It may be brown, thin and patchy and generally not looking as good as you want it to!

 

But don’t despair…

It may not be as bad as it looks!

The good news is that BROWN grass doesn’t necessarily mean DEAD grass!

Brown grass will revive itself after a good rainfall.

So you might have to play the waiting game until it rains to see what you’re dealing with!

If after a good watering your grass has repaired itself, you can give it a helping hand for next year:

  • Keep your mower blades on a high setting over the winter and into spring.
  • Apply a lawn feed in the autumn to aid recovery.
  • Aerate your lawn to avoid compaction and allow the rain in. (Make sure you use spikes and not hollow tines for this.)

What can you do if it doesn’t recover naturally?

If after a few weeks and some rainfall your grass isn’t showing signs of repairing itself, don’t worry. You can give it a gentle nudge by over-seeding and adding lawn dressing!

  • Scarify if necessary – gently remove any thatch and/or moss with a rake
  • Remove any weeds
  • Rake your lawn to break up the surface
  • Scatter grass seed and rake over to ensure an even spread and get the seed into the soil
  • If you are also adding lawn dressing, brush a layer over your lawn
  • Water where you have seeded, sit back and wait for your new grass!

The seed should start to grow in 7-10 days – simple!

What about patches?

Where the grass is dead in patches, you can remove it and add new seed.

  • Scrape away the dead grass using a small trowel
  • Rake the soil to loosen it
  • Add a layer of grass seed (also add seed to the surrounding grass to blend together the old and new) and water.

You should see new grass growing within a week.

And if it’s beyond repair?!

If there’s nothing you can do to revive your grass, the time may have come to invest in a new lawn!

The idea of laying new turf may fill you with dread but it’s quite a simple job.

Take a look at our blog on How To Prepare For Laying Turf for our top tips and advice.

 

We have a handy turf calculator on our website so you know how much turf you need to order.

And our wide range of turf types means we have something to suit all needs.

Our Hard Wearing Garden Turf can withstand dry conditions so is perfect for dry summers!

Take a look here to see which would be right for you and your garden.

 

Good luck, and as ever, if you need any help or advice just get in touch!

Happy Gardening!

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What are the benefits of gardening? Why is it so good for us?

What are the benefits of gardening? Why is it so good for us?

What are the benefits of gardening on our physical and mental health? Why is it so good for us?

 

You can really reset your mind and body in the garden!

Being out in the fresh air is SO good for our physical and mental health!

Especially if the sun is shining!

Workout outdoors!

Gardening is great for your physical health!

And as it releases feel-good chemicals it’s great for your mental health too.

It also gets the blood pumping and gives you a full-body workout.

Did you know, you can burn up to 300 calories by gardening for around 30 minutes?!

And the best part is, it doesn’t even feel like exercise!

Relax and reset your mind!

Even if you’re not doing any gardening, grab a cuppa and a slice of cake, and enjoy it in the garden surrounded by nature!

Kick off your shoes!

Walking barefoot on grass, especially early in the morning, is grounding. This means it connects the body’s electrical frequencies to the Earth’s.

It also has many other health benefits, such as:

  • Helps prevent insomnia
  • Improves mental wellbeing
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Regulates heartbeat
  • Improves eyesight

Plus, it’s FUN! There’s something so refreshing about walking barefoot. Whether it’s around your garden or on a sandy beach!

A few minutes walk around your garden really helps you to reset and appreciate what you have around you.

Listen to the birds, watch the butterflies and admire the flowers!

No garden? No problem!

You don’t have to miss out if you don’t have a garden.

Go for a walk in the countryside!

There are so many fantastic places to visit.

Whether it’s a country estate garden, a nature reserve or a country or river walk close to your home!

Explore somewhere new or revisit a favourite place you haven’t been to for a while.

While you’re there, stop for a moment to take in all the sights, sounds and smells of nature!

And most of all, enjoy it!

 

So what are you waiting for?

Get OUT there and take it all IN!

 

Afternoon Tea

Did you know, 13th – 20th August is National Afternoon Tea Week?

What better place for afternoon tea than in the sunshine in your garden?!

Make some cakes, sandwiches (don’t forget to cut the crusts off!) and of course, a pot of your favourite tea.

Then enjoy it all in your favourite spot in your garden!

Happy Gardening!

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How to care for your lawn in hot weather ☀️

How to care for your lawn in hot weather

 

How to care for your lawn in hot weather. ☀️

Now that summer is officially here, the hot sun can start to take its toll on your lawn.

Summer is generally when they get the most use and come under the most stress.

What happens to grass in hot weather?

Grass loses water through its leaves which keeps it cool and fresh to the touch. Hence why dogs lay on the grass to cool themselves on a hot day!

When the weather is really hot the soil dries out. The grass can’t replace the lost water and nutrients through its roots.

This is when it starts to turn brown, dry and patchy.

So what can you do to care for your lawn?

It’s not just watering that can help your lawn in the heat of summer.

There are other things you can do too. Here are our tips:

 

Let it grow!

Let the grass grow a bit longer than usual by raising the height of your mower blades. The longer grass will provide shade for the soil to stop it drying out.

The best time to cut grass is early-mid morning or late afternoon.

If you’re only cutting a small amount off the top of your grass you can leave the box off your mower. Leave the cuttings on the grass and they will act as a mulch for the soil.

**Be careful not to let the clippings build up on the grass too much as it can cause damage.**

 

Keep it tidy!

Clear away toys, paddling pools etc when you’re not using them.

Move garden furniture to different spots a couple of times a week.

This allows transpiration (when the grass loses water through its leaves).

 

Give it some TLC!

If you want to give your lawn some extra nourishment you can apply a summer lawn treatment.

 

Keep off the grass!

If you’ve got a patio or decking area, try to use them instead of the lawn as much as possible.

 

Only water if you NEED to!

Well-established lawns (over a year old) can survive hot weather without watering.

The grass will naturally repair itself after rainfall.

If you have a younger lawn or newly-laid turf it’s a good idea to keep it watered as the roots are still establishing.

Water in the early morning or late evening.

If you can, try to use water from your water butt rather than from the house tap.

If you are going to use a hosepipe, make sure there isn’t a ban in your area first!

 

Hope this helps!

 

Don’t forget to take a look at our other blogs for more advice!

Happy Gardening!

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June Gardening Jobs

June Gardening Jobs

 

What’s on the list of gardening jobs for June?

 

June is a great month for sun-lovers with the 21st being the longest day of the year!

This means more sunlight to help our gardens grow!

 

So while the sun is shining it’s the perfect time for being out in the garden.

 

You can get a few jobs ticked off your list, then sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labours!

 

So, what are your Gardening Jobs for June?

 

Here are our 10 Top Tips:

  • If you grow your own fruit and veg, you can pick strawberries, early potatoes, lettuce and other salads now. There’s nothing like a barbecue with a home-grown salad on the side!
  • Plant your favourite summer flowers in beds, borders and pots
  • After roses have flowered, deadhead them to encourage new growth and flowers
  • Take care of tomato plants – give them a feed and pinch out side-shoots
  • Stay on top of watering – it’s a tough time for grass, plants and flowers that don’t like the heat! Just make sure there’s not a hosepipe ban in your area!
  • Divide spring bulbs. Dig up the bulbs, divide them and re-plant for even more blooms!
  • Keep planting salad seeds every couple of weeks to enjoy them for as long as possible!
  • Pull up weeds regularly to keep your garden tidy and avoid self-seeding
  • Add more colour with hanging baskets on your house, fences or summer house
  • Cut your grass weekly and treat your lawn to a feed if it needs it

 

And, as a bonus tip – make sure you spend as much time as possible enjoying your garden!

 

If you’re planning a garden makeover, check out our range of turf and aggregates.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with news and advice!

Happy Gardening!

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Can you lay new turf when the weather and ground are wet?

Can you lay turf when the weather and ground are wet?

 

Can you lay new turf when the weather and ground are wet?

The weather in May can be quite unpredictable!

If you’re planning to invest in a new lawn you might be holding off until the weather is likely to be drier.

The good news is, you don’t necessarily have to wait!

How much does the weather affect when you lay new turf? 

In winter the soil may be too frozen or wet for the turf to root and establish.

In summer there’s the risk of the weather being too hot and the soil too dry. The turf can dry out and become damaged, especially if there’s a hosepipe ban to prevent watering.

And in the height of both these seasons, the ground may be too hard to dig and rake to prepare it!

It’s helpful to lay turf when there’s some rainfall as this helps the roots establish and saves you from having to water it yourself.

So when is best? Can you lay turf when the weather is wet?

As a general rule, you can lay new turf all year round if the ground conditions are suitable.

There are possible pros and cons to laying turf in each season!

It’s generally considered that between autumn and late winter is the best time.

 

It’s fine to lay your new turf on a slightly rainy day. (Although it might not be much fun!).

Weather Warning!

BUT! If it’s raining heavily or has been for a few days, we would recommend you wait until the soil has drained.

This will prevent damaging the turf.

 

It’s certainly better for the turf to lay it on a wet day than in the middle of a heatwave!

And it means you don’t need to water it as much!

If new turf (or established grass come to that!) is allowed to dry out it’s likely to suffer and develop dry, brown and/or bald patches.

Not what you want to see on what was going to be your lovely new lawn!

 

So while there’s no ‘law’ about when is best, a mild day is best for the turf.

And it will be much more enjoyable for you!

What do you need to do first?

As with most things, preparation is key!

Make sure you’ve prepared your soil well for the best results!

Check out our blog on how to prepare for laying turf for some top tips!

Check the weather forecast prior to ordering your turf to see if it’s set to be too hot or wet to lay it.

If the weather’s hot, make sure there isn’t a hosepipe ban in your area as you’ll need to water your new lawn regularly!

 

If you’re unsure, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to help!

Happy Gardening!

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How can knowing the pH level of your soil help with your gardening?

How can knowing the pH level of your soil help with your gardening?

 

How can knowing the pH level of your soil help with your gardening?

It might not be something you’ve ever thought about!

Or at least not since testing with litmus paper in Science lessons!

 

But if you like your grass to look fresh and green it’s a handy thing to know and keep track of!

 

As a quick reminder:

pH 1 = acid

pH 7 = neutral

pH 14 = alkaline

Why do you need to know this?

When it comes to having healthy grass, the ideal soil pH level is between 5.5 and 7-8, with around 6.5 being preferable.

Grasses such as our Family Garden Turf prefer the lower level of around 5.5.

This grass is a combination of the finest bents, fescues and durable dwarf rye.

 

While our Ornamental Garden Turf would prefer a pH of around 6.5.

This grass contains fine fescues, bents and smooth stalked meadow grass.

As our turf is locally grown, it’s suitable for local soil types.

 

A neutral pH level is ideal for nutrients too.

Grass loses nutrients from lots of use and when we mow it.

So it’s a good idea to apply Lawn Dressing regularly to top up the nutrients and keep the grass in good condition.

 

Unlike grasses, plants like pH levels from one end of the scale to the other!

Some do well in acidic soil and others prefer alkaline.

You may have different plants that have similar coloured blooms i.e. purples and pinks. This can be caused by the pH level of your soil.

How do you test the pH level?

You can buy pH testers and find the level yourself, or you can have a soil analysis carried out.

If the pH level falls on either side of the ideal, you may want to adjust it to keep your grass as healthy as possible.

So how do you adjust the pH level?

If you need to adjust the pH level drastically, it’s best to call in professionals.

They will carry out soil analysis and give you expert advice.

 

But for smaller adjustments, it’s easy to do yourself.

 

Adding sulphur (Ferrous Sulphate) will add more acidity to the soil (lowering the pH level).

Adding limestone will give the soil more alkaline (raising the pH level).

 

Right, who’s off to buy a pH tester?!

 

Happy Gardening!