Seasonal Lawn Care

Lawn Care Tips for December


Hydrate with Early Morning Watering 

Turf can survive 5 to 8 weeks of dry conditions without substantial thinning or death. However, poor soils, traffic, excess heat, low mowing and/or scalping and improper fertility (too much nitrogen fertiliser in spring, not enough in autumn) reduces the survival of turf during drought. 

Mow as often as needed and at the upper end of the optimum range of mowing heights for the particular species. 

Water deeply and infrequently, keeping the surface of the soil as dry as possible. Water thoroughly to wet the soil to the depth of the root zone and then don’t water again until areas of the turf turn a slight bluish-gray. Not only will this tend to encourage deeper rooting, it will also conserve water to help to make more water available later. 

Water early in the morning (between 4 and 9 am) and avoid watering during the heat of the day because much of the water is lost to evaporation. Consider aggressive aeration (coring) to reduce soil compaction and improve rooting.

Seasonal Lawn Care

Lawn Care Tips for November


Fertilise Late Spring to Protect from the Summer Heat

Keep an eye on grass colour. It is still a little premature to apply fertiliser on all but the weakest lawns. 

When couch and kikuyu go a little yellow, probably towards the end of November, will be the optimum time to apply fertiliser so that the grass can survive the hotter weather in December and January. 

Be guided by the volume of clippings coming off each lawn. When they diminish will be the time to fertilise and also to raise the cutting height.

Many grasses that were literally growing out of their skins last month with a bit of rain and sunny days, have used up all their energy and depleted the food reserves stored in their roots, and are now thin and stringy. 

Definitely fertilise these as soon as you can, but make sure that they are being irrigated. The few light rains that we might expect between now and Christmas are not sufficient to keep the grass growing

Seasonal Lawn Care

Lawn Care Tips for October


High Traffic Lawn? Time to Aerate

Once the initial burst of spring growth has settled down, then summer active lawns can be scarified to reduce thatch. Irrigate immediately afterwards and fertilise a week later.

This month is ideal to plant couch and kikuyu sod, stolons or seed, or to repair thin patches in a lawn.

High-traffic lawns are subject to soil compaction which restricts required gas exchange in the root zone, reduces water infiltration and percolation, and decreases water holding capacity of the soil. 

Hollow tine core aeration is recommended to alleviate the compaction problem and should be performed while there are several weeks of good growing conditions remaining before summer. Leave the pulled plugs on the turf surface until they are dry and can easily be broken up by raking or dragging a piece of chain link fence over them. The soil from the plugs will help thatch decomposition by providing an environment for plant tissue-degrading microorganisms.

Dandelions are in full bloom. Dandelions are best controlled in the autumn with herbicides with spring treatments being second. If treating for dandelions this spring, control is best achieved after the dandelions have bloomed. Herbicide applications early in spring before bloom are not as effective. 

Maintaining a dense turf through proper fertilisation, and mowing at the proper height of cut can reduce dandelion populations over time. Thin, low-density turf mowed at a low height encourages large dandelion populations.

Seasonal Lawn Care

Lawn Care Tips for September


Warmer Spring Weather Deserves a Drink

Overcome thatch by one very low mowing of couch in spring or early summer. Raise the mowing height to 50mm for tall fescue lawns (Arid, Droughtbreaker, etc). Tall fescue turf grasses may be showing signs of water stress if the weather has been warm. Tall fescues are winter-active grasses that will continue to grow through summer if they have adequate moisture. Lack of water at this time of the year will set the grass back so that it will not be able to withstand the heat of summer..

Watering: Remember that a good soaking of water every few days is more useful than frequent light sprinkling. Avoid watering the foliage late in the day; leaves remain wet for hours during the night, increasing the possibility of germination of fungal spores.

Dry patches in turf are often caused by water repellence. The grains in sandy loams sometimes become water repellent by being coated with organic residues from some plant materials. Decomposition of the thatch produced by turf growth can produce hydrophobic materials that accumulate in the thatch and upper part of the root zone.

The best way of overcoming water repellence and dry patch is by the use of agricultural wetting agents. It has been found that three light applications, spread through the dry season, give better results than one large application early in the season.

Black beetle can be a significant problem each summer. Lawns with a history of damage are more likely to be re-infested year after year. Bird activity on a lawn provides a really useful indication that beetle may be present. Magpies plunge their beak deeply into the soil to reach the beetle larvae. Blackbirds and starlings use their feet to scratch away the turf and forage for grubs. If you suspect a ‘hot spot’ grab a handful of turf and pull. If the sod pulls loose from the underlying soil with little effort it is likely the grubs have eaten the roots.

Weed control: September to November is the best time to treat lawns with selective herbicides, when the leaves are young and growing fast, and the weeds have not yet flowered. Selective herbicides contain plant growth depressants which are taken up by the leaves, not the roots. They upset the growth pattern, causing the plant to die.

A weed with minute lavender-blue flowers growing in lawns at this time of the year is probably creeping speedwell, Veronica persica. It is another of those annual weeds that forms a dense mat that crowds out the desirable turfgrasses at that critical time when new growth is emerging after winter dormancy.

Turf renovation practices such as coring or scarifying will place heavy demands on the energy demands of turf. It is prudent to delay these operations until new growth will use the current products of photosynthesis rather than stored food reserves. Renovation should only be done when the grass is actively growing. For couchgrass and kikuyu emerging from winter dormancy, the initial burst of green leaf growth is produced from food reserves stored in late autumn. As the leaf area of each single plant grows, then sugars and starches manufactured by photosynthesis gradually become sufficient to support new season’s growth. This is then the time to renovate, usually around October.

Various fungal diseases will become evident as the days become warmer and humidity is high. Powdery mildew is a common fungal disease that attacks many plant species. It appears as though a white powder has been sprinkled on the leaves and spreads rapidly if left untreated. Treatment is often improved by using a different fungicide. Chat to us about getting your lawn in AAA condition.

Seasonal Lawn Care

Lawn Care Tips for August


Nitrogen can Make or Break your Lawn

Early spring temperature fluctuations can cause sporadic turfgrass growth. Proper mowing is critical to the maintenance of a high quality lawn. If rapid turfgrass growth occurs, infrequent mowing will result in scalping of the turf. The frequency of mowing should be timed to remove no more than 1/3rd the leaf tissue. A week of 18o days and mild nights and the couch grass wakes up from winter dormancy.

Around 2 to 3 weeks after almond blossom appears is about the time that kikuyu emerges from dormancy. Assess the volume of clippings removed each cut. If it is significantly more than your previous cut then you should increase mowing frequency immediately.

Dog urine & faeces
Urine damage from dogs occurs occasionally in some home lawns. Often these spots are quite apparent in the spring. Homeowners often complain that the spots never recover and remain barren.

Dog urine and faeces can often be a frustrating problem related to lawn care. Small amounts may produce a green up or fertiliser effect while larger amounts often result in lawn burn or dead patches. While most burn spots will recover with time and regrowth, dead areas can be large enough in some cases to require reseeding or sodding. For homeowners who are also dog lovers, this can present a dilemma, particularly when one family member prefers the dog and another prefers a well-manicured lawn. An understanding of the interaction between dogs and the lawn can keep the yard (and family) at peace, not in pieces.

The fundamental problem with the presence of urine or faeces on the lawn is related to the nitrogen content and concentration of these waste products. Urine is a problem for lawns because it is applied all at once as a liquid fertiliser.

The primary concern in addressing urine damage to lawns is minimising the nitrogen concentration added to the lawn at any single time. The addition of any of dietary supplements has enough potential to cause harm, with limited to no known benefit for the lawn, and are not recommended. When owners have reported successes, as is sometimes the case on internet forums, liquids likely improved the situation because the urine concentration after treatment was diluted.

The most consistent solution to dog spots on lawns is to provide multiple fresh water drinking points around the garden to encourage the dog to drink more often. Watering the spot after urinations will accomplish the dilution with no ill affects on the dog. A fertiliser effect rather than burn was noted when the site was watered at any time up to 8 hours after urination. Routine watering of the grass in early mornings may not be sufficient to prevent all urine burns.

What fertiliser do we use?
Not all fertilisers are the same, and to steal a phrase from Castrol… Some fertilisers aren’t fertilisers. Ask us about it!

Pests and diseases
As the temperature rises above 16 degrees aphids become active, feeding on new plant growth. The most effective control is weed control – aphids breed on many species of thistle and other preferred weeds, then transfer to the young shoots of ornamentals. If spraying is considered necessary, a systemic insecticide that enters the plant sap stream is most suitable.

Seasonal Lawn Care

Lawn Care Tips for July


Healthy Lawn is the Best Weed Defence

Lawns: Now that the soil is as saturated as it probably will be this winter, apply gypsum to improve the texture of most soils. Gypsum has the action of causing clay particles to aggregate and form bigger lumps, increasing void space in the soil and improving drainage. Gypsum will assist to overcome the tendency of many garden ‘loams’ to water-log readily and become hard setting when dry.

Kikuyu lawns will green up with a very light application of water soluble nitrogen – 1 to 2 grams of nitrogen per square metre, plus an equal amount of Potassium is plenty at this time of the year. Couch is fully dormant so there is little point in fertilising it now as it is unable to absorb the nutrient. Respect the fact that it needs a period of dormancy.

Lawn Weeds Are Often Signals: If weeds are growing in your lawn, this may indicate a problem. In order to grow and compete with weeds, lawns require light, water, nutrients, air and proper temperature. If even one of these basic needs is missing, the quality of your lawn may rapidly decline and weeds may prevail.

Each weed in your lawn produces many viable seeds. You help weeds out with close mowing. Extended drought and high or low temperature extremes injure lawns, too.

The best defense against troublesome weeds is a healthy, dense and actively growing lawn. You create this type of lawn by mowing often at the right height, fertilising and liming according to soil test results and core aerating to reduce soil compaction. You can increase the amount of light reaching your lawn under tall, isolated trees by pruning limbs below 3 metres. Air movement across the surface of your lawn may improve by thinning, transplanting or eliminating selected shrubs growing nearby.

Increasing attention is being paid to autumn fertilising of warm season turfgrasses. The aim is not to extend grass growth further into winter, but to provide adequate nutrition that will enable the turfgrass to emerge from dormancy with a vigorous spring green-up that retains root dominance. We want new feeder roots even more than we want lush shoots. Old ideas of bringing grasses out of dormancy with massive doses of nitrogen in spring are being superceded by judicious applications of potassium nitrate in autumn.

In a domestic lawn, hybrid couch grasses are especially prone to thatching when mown at the customary two week schedule. The hybrid couches were really designed for high maintenance golf greens where daily mowing is considered normal. Thatch development is a natural consequence of grass growth. In nature it is an ecological adaptation that allows for nutrient recycling and the retention of moisture in the root zone.

If your lawn feels spongy to walk on, or if mowing leaves yellow “scalped” patches, AAA can provide affordable dethatching, also known as scarifying.

Seasonal Lawn Care

Lawn Care Tips for June


Beat the Winter Weeds & Frost

Cool seasons turfs should be mowed until shoot growth ceases. This provides a uniform looking turf going into the winter months. Letting the grass “go” into the winter can cause matting, and long matting turf is more susceptible to fungal diseases during the winter months.

Turf grasses can be the biggest weed of all when they invade garden beds, flourishing around young trees and sapping their energy. While glyphosate is highly effective in the warmer weather, weed control during the colder months, when some weedy plants are near dormancy, does not work so quickly. By adding a small amount of a complimentary chemical to glyphosate, we can ensure a more effective eradication of these plants.

Do not fertilise warm season grasses (couch, kikuyu) in winter when the grass is dormant. There is barely any sap flow in the grass, which is unable to absorb the fertiliser. Raise the mowing height to retain more green leaf on the grass. This increases the photosynthesizing area of the turf leaf, compensating for fewer hours of sunlight that reach the plants. It will not overcome the effect of colder weather that forces the summer active grasses into dormancy (couch and kikuyu grow most rapidly in soil temperatures between 23 and 32 degrees celsius). 

The effect of frost on the grass in the early morning can be alleviated by running the sprinklers for one or two minutes every morning. The irrigation water is warmer than the frost, and this does help to maintain the soil temperature a little higher, and so keep the lawn green for longer through the winter months.

Fescue turf grasses are in active growth now. Rotary mowing height should be at least 4 to 5 cm and they respond well to frequent, light applications of Potassium nitrate fertiliser. Never apply phosphorus (that’s the “P” on the analysis label) as fescue is quite intolerant to even small doses of phosphorus.

Seasonal Lawn Care

Lawn Care Tips for May


Find Sunlight through the Autumn Leaves

Remove deciduous leaves that have fallen onto lawns. They block sunlight from the grass at a time when the number of daylight hours are reducing, preventing the turf chlorophyll factory from producing sugars via photosynthesis.

Soursobs have commenced growing and are quite susceptible to herbicide sprays now. Best results will be obtained by using metsulfuron, but as this is difficult to obtain in small quantities for the home gardener, and the amount of chemical needed to cover 100 square meters is a minute (0.05 of a gram!), we recommend asking us to apply this for you. The bonus is that metsulfuron will also eradicate other broadleaf weeds that are present in your lawn.

Deadnettle and chickweed are two winter annual weeds that continue to thrive in lawns. Deadnettle is an upright plant that produces a characteristic small purple flower. Chickweed is a low-growing weed that forms a dense mat. The leaves are bright green with somewhat woolly leaves and a white flower. These weeds are quite obvious this time of year in thin areas of the lawn.

Seasonal Lawn Care

Lawn Care Tips for April


Preparation for the cooler weather

Autumn is the time to prepare your lawn for the cooler months ahead, when growth slows. Here’s how:

Rake the Leaves

A build up of fallen leaves on the ground can damage your lawn. Be sure to either rake them up, or if it’s just a few, mow with a catcher. Leaves left to decompose on the lawn can starve it of sunlight and increase the risk of disease.


Autumn is fertilising time. Fertilising will give your lawn the boost it needs to keep it healthy through winter. It will also help prevent weeds from taking hold while your lawn’s growth rate slows.

A slow-release, granular fertiliser applied early to mid-autumn will gently feed your lawn and give you the best results. Check the forecast and fertilise just before rain is predicted, otherwise a light water after fertilising will help protect the lawn against leaf burn.

Attack the Weeds & Grubs

Broad leaf weeds and lawn grubs can take hold in autumn. If you notice any of these appearing, take control of them before they become established.

A general broad leaf weed killer that’s safe for your lawn variety will take care of most broad leaf weeds, however if you’re unsure, it’s best to chat with us.

Birds on your lawn, or bare patches can often mean lawn grubs. If you think you have them, it’s also best to speak to our friendly team for the best advice on how to treat them for your lawn.

Lift Your Mower Height

Raise the height of your mower a couple of notches. Mowing your lawn a little longer in autumn helps it absorb more sunlight and protects it from the cooler weather.


De-thatching removes older grass and mulch build-up from the under-layers of your lawn and encourages new and thick growth.

To de-thatch, rigorously rake your lawn with a metal rake or thatching rake to remove the thatch. To de-thatch with a mower, lower your mower height one notch and mow the grass. Repeat this 2-3 times, each time lowering the mower height by another notch.

White curl grubs: Active in early winter and feeding on lawns have been identified as pasture cockchafers. Populations build up under similar conditions that favour African Black Beetle, but larvae (curl grubs) are active from late autumn through to September. It is the timing of their life cycle that differs.

Beetle larvae continue to be active if late autumn weather is warm. Signs of larvae activity are characterised by magpies pecking at the lawn after the grubs, and small tufts or clumps of dead turf lying loose on the lawn. These almost give the appearance that someone has done some hand-weeding. Get down on your hands and knees and gently lift any patched of yellowing or dying turf. If the grass lifts away from the soil then this is certain evidence that larvae are present.

Moss may have commenced to grow on damp shaded areas of lawn. Moss is usually due to three factors.

  1. Poor drainage – either the soil is compacted, poorly constructed, or clay-rich and soggy; and
  2. the soil pH is too high. Most turf grasses require soil pH to be between 5.5 and 6.5, slightly on the acid side of neutral.
  3. the mossy area is heavily shaded.

Iron sulphate gives good control of moss and algae and will lower soil pH. AAA can apply an iron rich fertiliser to combat this problem.

Moss will quickly return unless poor soil drainage and overwatering are remedied. Sow shade tolerant turf grasses such as Poa trivialis and creeping red fescue. Mow the grass a little higher to increase turf density and prevent it from thinning out and becoming susceptible to weed and moss invasion. A common feature of mossy lawns is an accumulation of thatch which chokes the turf grass. This will need to be raked out or scarified. Another reason for mossy lawns is underfeeding.

Weed control: Winter active weeds are commencing to germinate now. The objective of weed control is to eradicate the weed as soon as possible after it appears, and before it produces flowers and seeds. Weed control should be aimed at eliminating and avoiding conditions that contribute to weed establishment and growth. Control should not rely on one method only, but should involve a combination of methods that will discourage weeds while encouraging desired plants.

Regular mowing will prevent tall growing weeds in lawns from flowering and seeding and gradually deplete food reserves in perennial weeds. Mowing will also encourage spreading and thickening of lawn grasses, preventing germination of annual weed seeds. Unfortunately, mowing may also encourage the growth of prostrate weeds which are below mowing height, eg. common cotula (Cotula australis), dandelion, creeping oxalis (Oxalis corniculata). Some of these flower very close to the ground, therefore hand weeding or herbicide control need to be used in conjunction with mowing.

Wintergrass (Poa annua) is a small winter-growing annual grass forming a tussock up to 10cm tall. It first appears about May, with the onset of colder weather and fewer hours of sunlight, and continues to germinate throughout winter and early spring. Seed heads develop in mid-winter and continue into spring.

Seasonal Lawn Care

Lawn Care Tips for March


Fertilising turf

If there’s one time of year when you get more benefit from fertilising your lawn than any other, it’s autumn. 

That’s because autumn is when Mother Nature works with you instead of against you. For example, days are getting shorter and nights cooler. Dews are heavier, and the pattern of rainfall starts to be more favourable to the needs of grass. 

As a result, grass plants start to increase their natural production of rhizomes. A single grass plant can send out many rhizomes, resulting in many new plants… all knit together to form thick green turf.

Although the length of day and the weather trigger the growth process, how many rhizomes are produced (and therefore how thick the lawn will be) depends on the nutrients that are available to the grass roots. There is no reason why summer active lawns should deteriorate over winter months. The growth rate slows down, but with a controlled fertilising program lawns can stay green and healthy over most of winter.

The objective is to keep lawns active and this can be achieved by stimulating the grass. Start with a very light application in late summer, and a slightly heavier application in early autumn. Follow this with light applications every 5-6 weeks through winter.

The thicker and healthier the lawn is in winter, the better chance you have to control the annual weed problem. If fertilising this month, keep nitrogen and phosphorus applications to the minimum needed for the main summer-active turf grasses. This will reduce vigorous growth in annual weeds.

To intensify the green colour without increasing vigour, apply a soluble iron fertiliser such as sulphate of iron but be sure to water it in.

Couchgrass stops growing when temperatures fall below 15ºC and will initiate dormancy when temperatures drop below 10ºC for an extended period. Dormancy can last from a few weeks to several months depending on conditions. How you manage couch in autumn will determine its ability to tolerate cold-temperature stress and survive through winter.

In early autumn, as growth slows prior to the onset of dormancy, the plants convert soluble sugars to starch. They then store these starches in stolons, rhizomes and roots to serve as food reserves to ensure winter survival. Autumn management of any turfgrass should incorporate practices that increase food reserves and thereby increase stress tolerance.

Dry patches in turf are often caused by water repellence. The grains in sandy loams sometimes become water repellent by being coated with organic residues from some plant materials. Decomposition of the thatch produced by turf growth can produce hydrophobic materials that accumulate in the thatch and upper part of the root zone.

After each application, irrigate at a low rate, about 5-10mm per hour, so that the water can penetrate deeply into the affected area.

Dry spots in a lawn will be very evident by this time of the year. Before you race out and buy a beetle spray, look at some of the reasons why the dry patches may have developed.

The primary problem is thatching, that is the lawn grows above itself and the taller growth shades the lower leaves which die. The decaying vegetation creates a water repellent barrier between the surface and the root system, preventing water from penetrating the soil and the lawn dies of thirst.

AAA can scarify your lawn to reduce the thatch build-up and produce a healthier lawn.