tips

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. 

Top Tips from a Turf Grower

When in comes to growing turf, it’s just like growing any plant really; a good soil-bed, water, light, nutrients and a bit of maintenance are all required to keep it in good condition. 
— http://www.lawnsolutionsaustralia.com.au
Harvesting at our Farm in Regans Ford

Harvesting at our Farm in Regans Ford

So with this in mind, consider a similar appraoch to your new lawn for best long term results;

  • Successful establishment of all lawn types relies on proper soil preparation. Without preparing your soil properly, your lawn can suffer from poor soil drainage, compaction, pH or fertility problems that could have otherwise been prevented.
  • Removing weeds and debris is important when preparing your soil. One of the best methods for eliminating weeds is using an environmentally friendly herbicide, such as a non residual glypohosate herbicide like Roundup.
  • Keep drainage and the grade of your lawn area in mind as it should slope enough to allow surface water to drain away from your house yet be gradual enough to allow for easy maintenance and outdoor activities.
  • Where steep slopes exist (over 40%) or grades change drastically, consider installing retaining walls or other surface plantings in these areas as mowing and other maintenance may become difficult after you've finished.
  • It is recommended to strip the top layer of your soil by around 150mm and this will ensure the removal of any debris, clay or poor growing medium.
  • Beware of areas where mortar or brickies sand were stored as they can cause high pH issues in your soil, its the last thing you want to happen after getting your turf established.
  • When setting up levels, establish and stake or mark out subgrade and topsoil levels, keeping to requirements for any drainage, irrigation and shape work. 

Luckily the team at Lawn Solutions Australia have an extensive selection of sepcifications for lawn establishment and preparing your soil. Click here to find out more.

 

 

 

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.