lawn care

All you need to know about soil wetters

What is soil wetter?

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Soil wetters or wetting agents assist in breaking down the waxy coating on soil which stops water from penetrating the soil evenly and in some cases can cause water to be pushed out of the soil root zone all together. 

Similar to dish washing liquids which take away the grease, wetting agents or soil wetters break down the waxy coating on the soil and assist the water to penetrate the soil keeping it moist for longer. The lawn is then able to absorb the water when it is applied. It also allows the soil to hold onto the water for an extended period of time or when it is required by your lawn. 

How to apply soil wetter?

Soil wetters are generally large grains of light coloured soil (often these granules stay visible in your lawn for a number of days after application - this is because they aren't the wetting agent themselves, in actual fact they are a carrier that the wetting agent is applied to). 

Once the soil wetter has been applied it is recommended to water the product in. This will activate the wetting agent and release it into the soil. (The carrier (in some cases cork) will break down naturally over the next few days). Although watering in at the time of application is recommended, it can be left for a little while as the wetting agents will not burn your lawn like a fertiliser. 

When to apply soil wetter?

It is a perfect time right now to apply your soil wetter to your lawn. Soil wetters are best applied in early spring, early summer and autumn to maintain moisture in the soil. 

For more information on your lawn or to place an order please call 9303 2627 or email sales@superiorlawns.com.au 

NPK - what does it mean and why is it so important?

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Knowing why NPK is important for your lawn will help you to understand how you are helping  your lawn when you fertilise. 

For the most part, as long as you use a good quality fertilser that is suited to your turf variety (where all the scientific work has been done) your lawn will thrive. 

Lawn fertilisers come in many varying types and blends and can be quite confusing as to which is the right option for your. Grass is like any other plant - it takes in nutrients and air through the soil and sunlight through the leaves for photosynthesis where the conversion to sugars and energy takes place. The job of lawn fertilisers is to keep this in balance and help provide the nutrients that your lawn is lacking. 

(N) Nitrogen - Nitrogen is largely responsible for the growth of leaves on the plant and is the most talked about nutrient when it comes to lawns and is usually the highest percentage of your NPK ratio. Lawns love Nitrogen, but it is important to strike a balance between strong leaf growth and strong roots capable of supporting it as well. This is where phosphorus comes in. 

(P) Phosphorus - Phosphorus is largely responsible for root growth and is actually quite a low percentage of the overall NPK ratio. Phosphorus moves slowly through the soil, and isn't used in great amounts by your lawn.

(K) Potassium - Potassium is a nutrient that helps the overall functions of the plant perform correctly. Potassium is an essential macro-nutrient used in the largest quantities by plants for vigor and growth. Potassium helps grass withstand drought and disease. IT also helps the plant to more effectively use Nitrogen. 

By Understanding how these nutrients effect the overall health of your lawn, you will be better equipped to identify deficiencies in your lawn and the tell tale signs of stress, which will help you know when it's a good time to fertilise. 

The original blog post can be found on the Lawn Solutions Australia website. 

Dry Patches in your lawn? Here's a few things it could be

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There are a number of issues that need to be addressed if your lawn is going off in summer. They can  occur individually, or as an interrelation between two or more of them. The reasons have been listed in order of priority.

  1. Reticulation
  2. Hydrophobic soils
  3. Fertlising & Mowing
  4. Beetles (pests) and fungus's
  5. Soil Compaction

 Reticulation

The first cause is a retic system that is not giving adequate coverage. Likely reasons are blocked / broken/ misaligned sprinklers, change in pressure or sprinklers that have been replaced and don’t match the system. You check retic systems by finding out how many millimetres of water are being applied during each watering time. The pressure is measured by putting aerosol caps around your system and measuring the amount of water in each. If watering twice a week you need a minimum of 30mm on each day in normal conditions. These figures will let you know how long to run each station to get the required amount of water (stations may vary depending on pressure and sprinkler type). Different types of sprinklers put out vastly different amounts of water. Contrary to public perceptions, there is no time limit to how long each station runs for, as long as you water within your allocated watering day and time. Consideration must be given to drift from prevailing winds. Once you have audited your retic system and it is working satisfactorily you can look at the non wetting properties of your soil (hydrophobia).

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 Hydrophobic Soils

Hydrophobic soils repel water and this doesn’t allow for even distribution of water. The water makes runnels, following down through easier penetration areas, over wetting some areas and completely missing others. This is a natural occurrence in our dry, waxy sandy soils. So, if your retic system  is working efficiently and you are still having problems with a dry lawn, use a spade to cut out a square of lawn 100mm deep from the stressed area. You can then compare it with an area of healthy lawn. If it is drier, you probably have hydrophobic soil (at the same time you can check for beetles and grubs). Applying a good quality wetting agent such as Bailey’s Gro Sorb, Soil Soak, Eezi-Wet  or Aqua Soak before the first heat wave and reapplying as required (we recommend 4-6 weekly in summer) will improve and even out the water penetration through your lawn.

Fertilising / Mowing

Lawn should be fertilised lightly every 6 to 8 weeks with a quality fertiliser such as Sir Walter Buffalo Fertiliser or Baileys 3.1.1 or 4.1.1. This should continue even into winter to keep your lawn green and vigorous when others have gone dormant. A tonic of iron, manganese and nitrogen sprayed on the leaf does wonders. This is available at Bunnings. It is important that your lawn is mowed at a suitable height (above 20mm and higher in shade). This helps the lawn to keep its vigour and minimises porpoising (when the runners leap over each other due to the lawn being scalped). Scalping also stresses the lawn as it doesn’t have as much surface area in the leaf to retain moisture and promote photosynthesis and it is a known fact that the length of the leaf has a direct relationship to the length of the roots (longer roots make the lawn more drought tolerant).

 Beetles (Pests) and Fungus

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Pests (black beetle etc) and funguses (virtually unheard of in Sir Walter but more prevalent in other buffalo types and very occasionally in the couch varieties) can also be the cause of problems with your lawn, however these add up to less than 1% of turf related problems. You can check for beetles by soaking an area of a metre square by holding the end of your hose 150mm  below the surface for several minutes and seeing how many float to the top. If you get 50 or more you may have a problem and can treat with a suitable pesticide and for Velvetene lawns  (ONLY APPLICABLE FOR THE VELVETENE _ DO NOT USE ON ANY OTHER LAWN VARIETY) you can apply a salt solution (1kg pool salt dissolved in 5tl water). The black beetle is not a problem  if you have less than 100 to a square metre of lawn. These little creatures generally do more good than harm as they are a natural way of aerating the soil. Do not treat for black beetle unless you have an infestation of them (100/sqm). Funguses can also be treated with a suitable garden fungicide such as Fongarid or Mancozeb plus depending on the type (be aware that you do need to read the label and make sure that it is compatible with your lawn type).

 Compacted Soil

Some lawns do become compacted. Like us they need air. Opening up the ground (de compacting / aerating) with a sturdy pitchfork (pushing it in and working it backwards and forwards) is one way in a small lawn or you can hire a corer from a garden hire company such as The Hire Guys. This will allow for air to circulate through the lawn and make it easier for water to penetrate.

 Other

Finally spills including fertiliser, chlorine, petrol or BBQ fat will damage the lawn. Other secondary problems can be excessive thatch, dog urine and builders slurry (lime and mortar washed out of concrete mixers etc during building). Also, all lawns have a flowering and seeding time. Buffalo lawns flower in late spring and can occur more prevalently in a new or stressed lawn. Any problems can be minimised (or even eliminated) by checking the above points and you should be well on the way to having the best lawn in the street.


THREE GROUND RULES TO A HEALTHY LAWN

  1. Adequate water; 30mm on each of the two days allocated for watering.

  2. Regular dusting of fertiliser

  3. Regular mowing all year round – do not remove more then 1/3 of the leaf. 

Getting rid of that pesky Onionweed

Onionweed is one of thew worst types of weeds that can take hold in your lawn or garden, It can be eradicated however with patience and a bit of delicate work. Keeping onionweed under control by preventing flowering is a must to prevent it spreading any further.

What is onionweed?

Onionweed is a sedge-type weed and is a menace in lawns and garden beds throughout Australia. It is one of the worst weeds that you can have take hold in your yard and it is also one of the most difficult to get rid of. 

Onionweed is a perennial with thin green strappy leaves growing from a mainly white bulb which gives off an onion smell when crushed. Flowers grow at the top of a long stalk and are mainly white. Seeds form in summer and autumn and are spread mostly by wind blowing the seeds into the new areas.

It has a 'slow-release' way of sprouting its bulbets, making it a weed you just have to admire for its adaption and 'survivor' skills. Onionweed's thin, waxy leaves also make it difficult for herbicides to stick to the leaves, and even if it dopes, the wax makes it difficult for the herbicide to affect the plant. 

How to start the eradication process

Eradicating onionweed starts with removing as many of the plants as possible. Do not try to pull the plant out of the ground, or shake excess dirt back off into the hole or compost. The small bulbets tend to pull away from the mother plant when pulled, which leaves more bulbs in the ground that will rapidly grow.

If possible, dig the weed-clump out of the ground with a spade or a trowel, and throw the entire clump away.

The next step to total eradication of onionweed is to treat the area with either a non-selective herbicide (like Roundup/ Glyphosate) or even boiling water. Both options will kill any plant it touches, so be wary o surrounding plants. You will need to use a paintbrush or a weed-wand to carefully target the onion weed plants and avoid your lawn in possible. 

It can help to add a surfactant or a slight amount of household detergent - about the same rate as the herbicide concentrate amount - and when added to the mix helps the herbicide to stick to the waxy leaf and penetrate to do its work. 

Keep an eye out on your lawn, and repeat the process if any new onionweeds begin to grow. If your unable to treat the area, keep the plants trimmed near the ground if possible as this will prevent the onionweed from flowering and spreading to other parts of your lawn or garden through seeds. 

Hopefully this process will allow full eradication of onionweeds from your lawn and garden.Be patient, it can be a tedious exercise, but show no mercy, and don't give up hope. It will be well worth it to be onionweed free in the long run.

Lawn care doesn't need to be difficult and simple hints from us and the team at Lawn Solutions Australia can help to keep your lawn in top condition this winter. 

based on the blog post found at http://www.lawnsolutionsaustralia.com.au/blog/onionweed-the-battle-of-the-bulbs/ 

Things to do for your Lawn now before Winter Sets In

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We have had an amazing autumn but its almost winter and we have a few tips for you to improve your lawn's appearance throughout winter. Don't attempt too many drastic actions; scarifying or topdressing at this time of year is a definite no no, but a last fertilise for the season and even a pigment treatment can work wonders for your lawn. 

During the cooler months lawn's will generally be at their most vulnerable and unable to repair or maintain good health as well as they can in the warmer seasons.

Most Australian lawns are what are known as warm-season grasses; Kikuyu and Sir Walter Buffalo lawns are a few of the most common types and fit into this category. As the name suggests 'warm-season' grasses are actively growing during these months and during the cooler months they slow down and can go dormant; shutting down or discolouring over winter.

This is a protection method that lawn grasses use to withstand freezing temperatures and frost with the grass leaves thinning and drying out and the plant's energy being stored in the lower parts of the grass stem and roots area. 

As the weather starts to cool down, so does lawn care with the grass not growing as vigorously as it did a few weeks ago in most cases. As daylight hours decrease, so does photosynthesis, so by increasing mower heights and leaving more leaf it will help increase the food supply to the grass.

Pruning is a great way to plan ahead for winter conditions, as overgrown trees and bushes may increase their shade levels and by the time we notice our lawn has started dying in certain areas, it can be too late to repair the damage.

Use this period as an opportunity to fertilise your lawn, and go for an all round or pre-winter fertiliser that contains higher levels of iron, which is essential for good lawn health throughout these cooler conditions and also gives a quick colour boost to your lawn.

It is important to address any weed issues before winter, as conditions for their survival improve, while at the same time the lawn's ability to fight against them decreases. Winter weeds such as poa (wintergrass), could potentially inhabit your lawn. Treating weeds before they spread is the best thing to do.

Patching up any bare or dry spots will help prevent issues during the cooler months, and will keep your lawn looking good - you can square up any areas with a mattock or spade and fit new turf sections straight onto your lawn. Give us a call if you need a turf roll or slab to patch up areas. 

As air and soil temperatures decrease, over watering during cooler temperatures can increase the possibility of lawn diseases or rotting of the thatch latch layer. Aerating your lawn during autumn in considered a good time to do so as the plants are busy enhancing their root zones in preparation for winter and the soil is usually a bit softer than at the height of summer. 

Use a garden fork and work to break up the soil or hire an aerator that will make quick work of the job. You will be amazed at the results - just check out any golf course and see how often they are aerating or coring to get more airspace into the soil profile.

Getting the mowing height right is probably one of the most important things now and its a good idea with the next few mows to increase the height and then you can gradually lower it over winter - not taking much leaf off but more of a tidy up. 

You will see this on many footy fields around the country as most sports turf curators start to lift the mower height at this time of the year to get a more healthy and robust cushion of turf in readiness for damaging winter sports. 

Lawn care doesn't need to be difficult and simple hints from us and the Lawn Solutions Australia team can help with products to keep your lawn in top condition this autumn. If you need any more advice or would like to purchase lawn for patch ups or for your whole backyard call us on 9303 2627 today.