Pest Side Story, a Scarifying Tale.

Yes I know. It’s a woeful pun and cynically designed to make you have a look at this so I can talk about weed control. So sue me.

It’s April, and amongst the other things there are to do (and there are a lot of them) I want to talk about pest control, and I’m not talking about the little boys in blazers and shorts that climb over your hedge, shin up your trees and pinch your apples, as  you know very well they have escaped from an old Enid Blyton story and they don’t exist any more. Nor am I talking about squirrels… grrrr. Or even the suddenly very prevalent urban foxes (still think its a good band name) whose preferred diet these days seems to be Chinese take-away remains and an old pair of pants I threw out last week. There is no accounting for taste but they can’t possibly taste as good as fresh hen, which I always believed was the fox’s favourite…oh well.

No. I’m talking about the fact that the growing season is upon us and if you haven’t, like me, had your head down working over the last few days you’ll have noticed that the sun’s been shining, the grass has been sprouting everywhere like artisan coffee shops in a gentrified area and so, of course the weeds too are shooting up like a 50s cowboy movie.

And by weeds, of course, I mean those things you don’t want in your garden as opposed to those you do, like moss and other detritus that builds up in your lawn. For me those are the worst type of weeds as you don’t always notice them unless you look. Even if they look innocuous and look like flowers it’s good to be able to recognise a weed when you see one

A Weed. Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts
A Weed With a Flower
 ( “Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts”)

So what’s to do. OK. Weeds on the path? Definitely one for the old Line Trimmer. Well I have already whipped out my old petrol version, checked the line and the engine, got it going and removed some offending spiky green chaps pushing up through my path. If you are just getting yours out and it is a petrol model, first, hopefully, you emptied the tank at the end of last season and cleaned it all up. If not, you may have issues with starting and operating. Check your line is feeding cleanly and make sure your fuel cap is clean – get any dust off it so it can’t contaminate the fuel.

Now if you have rockeries or small borders, weeding is more likely to be an ‘up close and personal’ affair. You will probably need  hand tools, specially designed for small gardens, borders and rockeries. There is a great little range available;e from WOLF-Garten.

When it comes to the lawn, You can rake lawns very gently with a with a spring-tine rake to drag out moss and other organic debris. Or you could invest in a powered rake, which will probably remove a lot more and with considerably less effort. April is a good month to be doing this and sets up your lawn for a better season.

It’s also coming up to time to think about scarifying. This does not mean frightening the grass but cutting into it with specially designed blades… which – call me old fashioned – I would actually find quite frightening!

Actually it is rather like raking but a little deeper and potentially more effective, a scarifier cuts right down and can prune the grass as well as opening up the soil to create healthier, greener grass. Some scarifiers will come with an aerating option so you get two functions in one. There’s a nice little piece on scarifiers, here by my old mate Dick, that includes a good selection. Do take a look.

So that’s it from me for now. I have no doubt Holly will be bothering you next week with some frippery filled missive full of flippant folderols but until next time from me … enjoy your garden.     Drew Hardy




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