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.