1.Both aeration and scarification are important if you want a thick, green and luscious lawn. Aeration creates a pathway for air and water to travel freely into the soil and down to the grass roots. “If you haven’t got a good root system at this time of year, when it comes to the full growing season the grass isn’t going to be at its full potential,” Steve says. Top dressing after aeration with a sandy top dressing mix improves drainage over the long term and helps fix any uneven dips. “If you want stripes you don’t want any low spots, especially if you’re using a cylinder mower,” Steve confirms. Scarifying prevents thatch from building up below the grass plant which stops vital air, oxygen and nutrients getting to the grass roots. This thatch reduction process helps air flow, minimises any problems with fungal diseases and helps stop the grass developing that ‘spongy’ feeling when walked on. 2. A stripy lawn needs to be kept free from weeds. Temperatures are warming up now as we head towards the end of April. It is important to apply any moss or weed-killing treatments as necessary. Scarifying itself can help reduce weeds aswell as verticutting them out and lifting those weeds that are lying flat. Over-seeding with new grass seed is another key spring job to build up the density of the turf and fill in any bare patches created by weed removal. “Just be careful if you’re treating weeds because if you put seed down at the same time the seed won’t take. Treat the weeds first, then go over the lawn with fresh seed a week or two later,” advises Steve. 3. It is important to keep your cutting height pretty high during your first few cuts of the year to avoid shaving the lawn too short this early in the season. Nights can still be pretty cold during April. We are also having a lot of dry weather lately so a longer grass plant will help taken in more water. Reduce the height of the grass by no more than a third each time you mow, and remember that well-defined stripes are actually easier to achieve if the lawn is kept slightly longer as there is a bigger surface area for light to reflect off. “When you create stripes, you’re using the rear roller on the mower to bend the grass over in one direction. As the mower and roller go away from the sun, a light stripe is created, then when you change direction and come back towards the sun the shadow of the grass blades bending the other way creates the dark stripe,” Steve says. “If you have longer grass you’ll be getting a longer fold. Around 30-35mm is a good mowing height for stripes, if you start going any lower than that, you start to lose the definition.” 4. For stripes it’s all about the mower itself,” says Steve. “You want a mower with a rear roller as that’s what will create the stripes.” Using a cylinder mower will give you better results too, as these cut the grass with a cleaner, finer cut, the blades working like those of scissors as opposed to the more machete-like action of a rotary mower“With a cylinder mower, you’re getting a straight cut which helps with the striping effect and you’re rolling the blades of grass in one direction,” Steve explains. “You can get stripes with a rotary mower but a cylinder mower does give a better cut if you’re really keen on stripes, and each blade of grass has a faster recovery time. If you can imagine a rotary blade slashing the grass, each blade is bruised and loses a lot of moisture as a result of it. With a cylinder mower it’s like you’re cutting the grass with a pair of scissors and you hardly lose any moisture.” 5. The more you go over the same pattern, the stronger the stripes will be.Don’t forget that slightly longer grass is better for creating a stripy lawn. Mow the lawn to a height of 30-35mm and the grass blades will fold over effectively to create a brilliantly defined stripe. Keep the blades of your mower really sharp as well. You can even create stripy patterns with a brush, the blades of grass into different directions. “I’ve known people who that and you do get a similar effect,” Steve says. Don't forget to enter our 2019 ALLETT CREATIVE STRIPES competition! Find out more here!