A regular maintenance regime carried out through the seasons creates a strong, healthy lawn that looks good all year long. Lawns have different needs depending on the lawn type, where it’s grown – local climatic conditions and temperatures − and how it’s being used.
For some gardeners a well-kept lawn that vies for the title of best lawn in the street is the goal. For others the lawn is just a place where kids and pets play and the family gathers. Understanding a little about what your lawn is doing each season can help direct your lawn maintenance regime throughout the year regardless of how your lawn is used.
- Weeds Warm season lawn varieties are dormant during winter allowing weeds to take off and compete for space. Weeds will also invade cool season lawn grasses. Removing weeds in early spring helps give the lawn room to grow as the spring warmth returns. Broadleaf weeds such as dandelions, capeweed and thistles are common in lawns and can be easily removed with a spade or weeding tool. After rain is a great time to do this as the soil is moist and weeds and their roots are easy to pull out. For a larger lawn area look at using an organic herbicide such as EarthCare Organic WeedKiller. Spot spray the weeds in the early morning on a day when rain is not forecast for at least the next 24-36 hours and there is no wind. Keep children and pets away while spraying and avoid contact with the lawn grass.
- Aeration Lawns may have become compacted over winter. Aerating lawns in early spring allows oxygen, water and nutrients into the soil. When the lawn’s roots get enough of these elements they grow deep, the grass blades grow and the lawn becomes more resilient. To aerate small lawn areas, use a fork thrusting it deep within the soil and moving it gently backwards and forwards. Go up and down the lawn or across it spacing holes about 10-15cm apart. For larger areas, hire an aerator from the local equipment hire business. Mechanical aerators can be hired for an afternoon, a day or a weekend.Once the soil is aerated, spread Seasol Lawn Top Dress Mix over the lawn. This mix is designed to help stressed lawns recover, allows dead patches to recover and saves water. It is safe on all lawn types including buffalo.
- Lawn repair During early spring lawns may look bare and forlorn due to winter conditions, especially cold temperatures and frost. To help the lawn revive ahead of spring, rake up leaves and remove any debris such as fallen branches and twigs, along with rocks and stones. For smaller areas where there is little or no healthy growth, repair the lawn either by over sowing with lawn seed once the weather and soil temperatures warm up or, for warm season lawns, by using rooted pieces from elsewhere to cover the space. The lawn edges are a good source of runners to help repair lawns. Check horticulture experts at hardware and garden centres for local advice. For larger or new areas of lawn, there are two choices: lawn seed, which is cheap but takes time to grow and establish; or lawn turf, which is more expensive than seed but gives an instant effect. Before sowing seed or laying turf, prepare the soil by applying Seasol Lawn + Soil Booster and Seasol Lawn Top Dress Mix. This will help improve the soil structure, moisture and nutrient uptake.Once seed is sown or turf laid, water it in with Seasol Lawn + Turf Starter, which is a health treatment and root booster with all the benefits of a higher concentration of Seasol plus liquid compost, which helps improve lawn seed germination and reduce transplant shock on newly laid lawn turf.
Soil is the key to establishing a good lawn and the health of the soil dictates the health of the lawn. If you don’t have the luxury of starting from scratch or have inherited a lawn in dire need of love, a top dressing of lawn compost such as Seasol Lawn Top Dress Mix applied throughout the warm months improves the soil and its waterholding capacity, which in turn saves water. Applying Seasol Liquid Compost hose-on, a no dig option, also helps revitalise soil as it helps improve the soil structure, increasing microbial and worm activity as well as moisture and nutrient retention.
Weeds continue to grow through summer so keep an eye on them and remove them before they flower and seed. Remove them by hand in the cool of the day, either early in the morning or in the evening to avoid the heat of the day.
Thatch is a layer of dead organic matter that settles in and around the base of lawn. When it becomes thick it prevents water and fertiliser from soaking into the soil where the roots are growing. To remove thatch, mow your lawn so it is closely cropped then rake the lawn vigorously using a metal rake. You can also hire specialist de-thatching equipment.
Aerating the soil also allows air, water and nutrients to filter down to the grass roots. In most cases a garden fork will do the job or get your hands on some lawn aeration equipment for big areas. Top dress the lawn with a thin layer of highly organic compost mixture such as Seasol Lawn Top Dress Mix to replenish nutrients and fill the holes opened by the aeration process.
Autumn is also the time to set the lawn up for the winter ahead by over sowing with a cool season lawn seed mix of grasses that grow through winter to help the lawn stay green as temperatures fall. You can also use seed or rooted runners to repair bare patches that have formed over summer. Before repairing the lawn apply Seasol Lawn + Soil Booster to the bare soil and dig in slightly to improve soil health, water and nutrient uptake. After resowing or planting runners, apply Seasol Lawn & Turf Starter to the lawn. This aids seed germination and helps reduce transplant shock, aiding lawn establishment.
Winter is all about improving soil health, so apply Seasol Lawn + Soil Booster over the lawn to help to improve soil structure and increase worm and microbial activity. It also helps to improve soil moisture and plant nutrient uptake. Apply 100 grams per square metre of lawn via hand or lawn spreader and water it in thoroughly after application.