A natural looking & lush green lawn often defines a beautiful house. It’s a sense of pride for homeowners but many spend endless amounts of money and countless precious hours with poor results. Lawn Care is not rocket science and with the correct guidance and advice you can turn the yard into a masterpiece, or at the very least something to be proud of and enjoyed by the whole family
Start by gathering some important information. By doing this you are building a framework which will allow progression towards establishing a clear plan of attack. Take a few moments to perform a 10 point Lawn Assessment. Follow these steps:
1/ Establish Your Lawn Type
This is where your assessment begins. It’s an important first step because it will determine the type of products that can be safely applied for the best results.
Often there are two broad categories- warm season grasses and cool season grasses. Within those categories there are dozens of varieties but we will briefly list some of the more popular ones below:
Warm Season Grasses: Buffalo, Zoysia, Blue & Green Couch, Kikuyu
Cool season Grasses: Fescue, Bent Grass, Perennial Ryegrass, Bluegrass
You can always arrange for a Lawn Care professional to reduce uncertainty.
2/ Are You Using the Correct Mowing Techniques?
What is the correct height to mow your lawn and how often should it be done? Although there are several answers to this, it really comes down to lawn type and climatic conditions.
Mowing lawns too low can subject them to heat stress and increase the chances for weed invasion. If you mow too high or not regularly enough then the problem of thatch or scalping can occur. You can also use a weed eater which can cut all the weeds with little effort. Check out some top quality weed eaters of 2020 here.
Remember this general rule of thumb: “Never cut more than 1/3 of the lawns’ height” except when you are scarifying or renovating. It is important to increase mowing frequency during rapid growth times during Spring & Summer.
3/ Check Lawn Colour and Nutrient Status
Lawns have similar feeding requirements to most other plants in your garden. A regular fertilizing program is essential to keep your grass healthy and strong throughout the entire year.
Determining the nutrient status is not difficult and is usually measured by colour. A yellow or brown looking lawn could be displaying signs of nutrient deficiency.
This can be fixed by adding fertilser which is readily available for purchase, however the myriad of choices can be confusing to most. Ultimatley you need to choice between a granular or liquid fertilizer.
Regardless of your choice, the importance of frequency cannot be understated. An ideal Lawn Care Program of 6 fertiliser treatments spread evenly throughout the year should produce the best results.
4/ What is the Weed Infestation Level?
Weeds are the enemy of every lawn. Their life cycle is such that some owners struggle to ever get on top of them. The main reason is that each weed has the potential to spread dozens of seeds that can remain viable in the soil for many years.
It is therefore more accurate to use the term weed control rather than weed eradication. In most domestic situations, hand weeding is not the best solution- at least not with heavily infested lawns. More often than not, weed spraying may be necessary, but what are the safest and best products to use.
You only have to visit your local supplier to find the choice of products is endless and it is vital to get the correct advice right from the start. Using the wrong weed spray or incorrect application can produce extremely damaging results.
5/ Soil Type and Condition
Soil composition can vary from very sandy to heavy clay. The condition of a soil is determined by several factors including fertilising techniques, climate conditions and traffic. There are some important factors to take into account when caring for your soil.
Heavier soils will greatly benefit from aeration or coring. This allows the lawn to access more oxygen to improve root growth. In addition it will help drainage and fertilizer penetration.
On the other hand, a sandy soil will benefit by the addition of soil wetters. Especially in hydrophobic soils, wetters can improve water holding and water penetration capacity. The addition of organic matter in the form of humus will assist in greater nutrient retention.
A regular fertilizing program is recommended. Please contact us if you require assistance in formulating a custom program to suit your needs
6/ Insect Pest Analysis
Lawn grubs and insects can be a real problem and have the potential to kill a lawn. Correct control procedures will reduce or eliminate the damage before it even begins but it’s important to firstly identify the culprits.
Here is a list of the most common threats: Sod Webworm, Armyworm, Black Beetle, Mites, Scarab Grub, Bill Bugs, Couch Fly, Argentine Stem Weevil & Cockchafer
Various products are commercially available to control these pests but it is imperative that they are used correctly and safely.
7/ Disease Level
Lawn disease is quite common and is not isolated to just golf courses and bowling greens. The damage can be extensive if left untreated. Correct disease identification is the first step and here we have listed some of the most common lawn diseases:
- – Brown Patch
- – Fusarium
- – Rust
- – Culvaria
- – Dollar spot
- – Mildew
- – SDS
Fungicides are available commercially to treat lawn diseases quickly and effectively. Unfortunately they are often expensive and require several follow up treatments.
8/ Shade Percentage
Don’t be fooled by false claims stating that there is such a thing as a “shade resistant” lawn. While it is true that some are more shade tolerant than others, most will thrive with 5-6 hours of direct sunlight.
Generally speaking, the broader leaf varieties such as buffaloes can tolerate shaded areas. Thinner leaf varieties such as couches will thrive in full maximum sun.
Often it is possible to improve over shaded areas quickly and cheaply. Trimming back hedges and branches will often let in more sun. Aerating the soil can help and sometimes planting a shade tolerant lawn in the most affected areas can offer an effective solution.
9/ Watering Schedule
The days of leaving sprinklers running for hours at a time are long gone for most of us. Councils are really becoming vigilant on water usage and frown upon water waste.
Watering lawns should be encouraged and you can still produce terrific results with minimal cost. Lawns are important to both Councils and the residents in their region.
The fact is, watering in the morning is the best time. This is when your lawn is able to best absorb water. Watering at night can be inefficient because lawns are more dormant.
10/ Overall Condition
It’s time to step back now and look at the bigger picture. Does your lawn look green and healthy. If the answer is yes then keep up the good work, you have obviously done a terrific job.
If not, you may need to take some action to seek improvement. Most times lawn problems can be solved fairly quickly if the correct methods are applied.