Keeping the grass growing green

The South Lawn at Upton House being rested and watered in Autumn 2018

Grass paths give such a pleasant look to the garden terraces, but they do take a lot of looking after. Here’s how we do it…

Reseeding and turfing the narrow areas

It’s the thresholds to path junctions that are particularly sensitive, as these get the most ware. We often have to replace the turf in these areas. The roots on new turf need to establish in the ground below and become firm otherwise the turf will die. It takes 4-5 week for the grass to become strong enough to stand up to the pressure of the many feet of visitors to the gardens. It has its first cut once it has established in the first three to four weeks.

We support other pathways which are getting thin by over-seeding, especially in popular areas such as the herbaceous border in the Spring and Autumn.

Regular checks and rotation

To help ensure there is grass on the paths through the seasons we operate a four week rotation system to allow the grass to be aerated and treated to rest and recover. We spike the grass sward with a aeration machine and remove the build-up of dead grass with a scarifying machine, which reduces compaction and allows the grass to thicken up.  The area is then top dressed with a soil and sand mix which is brushed in to improve the soil condition and aids a healthy sward of grass. 

During the growing season we check the paths weekly for signs of wear and carry out additional work if required. We rest the grass in the garden areas before the border comes into flower and after the border has finished flowering. This ensures the paths around the beds can take the foot fall when the border is at its best and maintained before the following season.

And of course, it’s all weather-dependant!

More than one man goes to mow

When mowing the impressive expanse of grass on the south lawn we use a 36” cylinder mower.  It’s Alan’s job every week to mow the grass on the main lawn.  As a gardener here for over 40 years, he is well practiced to ensure we have the perfect strips all year round.

The driveway is mown by Richard and takes about 4 hours to mow the long stripes on the formal areas whilst other team members will use a ride on mower to mow the perimeters, allowing the Pine Trees to stand out and keeping the traditional mowing pattern alive as in the 1930s.

The grass paths in the lower garden are mown with both cylinder mowers and rotary pedestrian mowers and are mown on a weekly basis depending on the growing pattern.

All in all the team spend over 32 hours a week mowing the grass areas, before any other maintenance work takes place.