With so much to do in the garden as we head into spring one can easily be distracted by the flowers and we love that. But the basis of a happy garden is a perfect lawn, this month our blog focusus on getting the lawn right.
A green lawn is the one thing everybody loves. Most lawns in our local area are Kikuyu with evergreen lawns such as Shade-Over and All Seasons Evergreen as options for small spaces and problem areas. LM Grass as a runner lawn in semi-shade is an indigenous alternative which establishes fast and is water wise.
Spring treatment for Kikuyu and LM Grass:
• Scarify to remove the dead mat. This can be done with a rotary lawnmower set low. Rake with a metal rake or hand broom to remove any long shoots and mow again. By removing the dead mat you will find that the lawn is generally healthier and easier to mow through the coming summer.
• Aerate with a spiked roller or garden fork especially in compacted high traffic areas.
• Top dress with Lawn Dressing and rake level. This will help the condition of the soil under the lawn and help with moisture retention in early summer. One bag of Lawn Dressing will cover around 4m2.
• If you have uneven lawn or holes you are trying to get filled first use topsoil or river sand to get the level right and then dress with lawn dressing over it. If you are raising lawn over 4 or five centimetres be aware that the lawn underneath might not come through and will have to re-grow from the sides.
• Well irrigated lawns are fertilised with Vitaliser 7:1:3 Lawn & Leaf fertiliser, repeated every six to eight weeks. Alternatively feed with Organic BioGanic Lawns every four to six weeks. Organic fertiliser is slow release and can be used safely with any irrigation methods.
• Lawns that are watered less regularly can be watered with the slow release fertiliser 3:2:1 SR until the rainy season starts then we recommend changing to a quick release fertiliser Vitaliser 7:1:3 Lawn & Leaf.
Planting and filling in bare patches:
The most economical way to establish a new lawn or to patch an existing lawn is to plant it from seed. Dig the area over lightly, not too deeply as this will only encourage dormant weeds to germinate. Add bone meal to the area and rake level. This will encourage strong root growth as the seed germinates. Sow at the recommended rate and as evenly as possible raking the area again to lightly cover the seed. You should still be able to see some of the seed afterwards. Lawn seed needs light to germinate so don’t bury them too deeply.
Use a gentle sprinkler to water the area daily, making sure that you do not let it dry out as the seed germinates and becomes established. Feed with Vitaliser 7:1:3 fertiliser six weeks after planting. Depending on the variety, a new lawn should be lightly mowed for the first time about six to eight weeks after germination.
Choose the right Lawn:
Different lawns need different sun requirements and have different growth habits. Kikuyu, Princess for sun and LM Grass for semi-shade are runner grasses that will spread and also grow back over areas that have been damaged. Shade-Over and All Seasons Evergreen are tufted grasses that blend in with other lawns to grow in patches that don’t get as much sun or are in total shade.
Treatments in spring to rejuvenate after the winter and to get them looking the best for the coming summer also vary. Evergreen lawns such as Shade-Over and All Seasons Evergreen must not be cut too short only just tipped and then fertilised. They also do not need Lawn dressing as they are evergreen and can die back if the tufts are covered.
Die-back often occurs in areas where the lawn does not have the correct growing conditions most commonly too much shade. Plant a more suitable lawn such as Shade-Over to cover bare patches. Lawn caterpillar is prevalent during summer and is identified when lawn dies or yellows in irregular patches. Similar damage occurs in summer when mole crickets are the culprits. It is easily rectified with an application of Efekto Plant Protector.
Weeds can be a constant problem if not sorted out early in the season. Broad leafed weeds are the biggest problem particularly the clover types and the wonder lawn, all brought in by birds. Hormoban is the best broadleaf weed killer. That means it will kill all plants that do not have blade leaves ie: lawn.
Starting early in spring apply to the first batch of weeds before they spread and compound your problem. The lawn needs to stay dry for at least five hours after you spray so best is to do it early in the morning before you water in the afternoon.