Helping to make the grass much greener

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Tips on how to choose the best lawn seeds - plus, find out what else needs doing in the garden this week.

After a summer of being dried out by heat and trampled on by outdoor activities, your lawn may be looking a bit tired. If you want to restore any bare patches, or are even thinking of sowing a completely new lawn, early autumn is a good time to do it.

But how do you choose the type of seed for the job from the array of different grass seeds on the market?

Help is at hand from Which? Gardening, the Consumers’ Association magazine, who have just revealed the results of its test on 36 lawn seed mixes and repair kits, assessing both germination and appearance of the grass and coverage of each plot at monthly intervals.

Best overall lawn seed mix is Asda Multipurpose (£3 for 500g), which the survey says will give you a great looking lawn. In the trial, it established quickly, gave a dense, finer-leaded turf, was among the best in terms of coverage and appearance and recovered well after wear-and-tear tests.

The next highest scorer was Mr Fothergill’s Better Lawn (£5.99 for 500g, available from garden centres), which looked good throughout the autumn and following spring, recovered quickly after the wear-and-tear tests and had produced a dense sward by the end of the trial.

For those just repairing their lawn, the researchers recommend Miracle-Gro Patch Magic (£9.99 for 1kg, Tesco), which worked exceptionally well in the trial and established quickly. The plastic shaker contains coir and fertiliser with very little grass seed. The coir shows where you’ve scattered it and indicates where it needs watering. The grass is fine-leaved and green, but didn’t cope as well with wear-and-tear as other recommended lawn seeds.

Other recommended lawn-seed mixes include Wilko Multipurpose with ryegrass (£6 for 750g, Wilkinson), which produced tough grass with a good density throughout the trial, and Verve quick Start (£3.98 for 500g, B&Q).

If you are sowing a new lawn, you’ll need to dig over the area thoroughly to allow free drainage, removing stones and weeds as you go, then incorporate organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure.

On heavy clay incorporate sharp grit and organic soil conditioner. On light soils just incorporate the organic matter.