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Spring is a wonderful bounteous season when everything in the garden is eager to grow. Soil is becoming warmer, the nights are losing their chill, and the earth is bursting with energy. It is the time of the year to harness Mother Nature’s energy to help rejuvenate your lawn and prepare it for the approaching summer. Now is the time of the year to re-evaluate your lawn and make changes so that it will compliment and not dominate the home garden landscape.
Reduce the size of the lawn by reclaiming areas for herb and vegetable plots, and water efficient native plant feature gardens. Remove the lawn from narrow areas at the side of the house and other places where there is too much shade for strong healthy turf. Prepare the newly proportioned lawn for summer with the following renovation program.
Mow to a height of 20mm and remove the clipping.
Replace nutrients leached from the root zone by winter rains by evenly spreading an organic based granulated fertiliser that contains the correct balance of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium plus a blend of rock dusts, zeolite and humates at the rate of 50g per square metres.
Increase the organic content of sandy soil and stimulate microbial activity by top dressing with a product containing 95% fully matured compost plus 5% Zeolite volcanic rock crystals at the rate of 30 litres per 10 square metres. Rub the compost well into the turf with the back of a rake or lawn-levelling tool. In organic soils or where the lawn has developed a layer of thatch between the surface of the turf and soil, top dress with Zeolite, Bentonite Clay, Spongolite or a combination of all three amendments at the rate of 300g per square metre. In situations where the surface of the lawn has shallow depressions and high spots that prevent mowing at a uniform height, they should be top dressed with lawn dressing sand at the rate of 10mm per square metre. Use a wheelbarrow to transport the material and dump about one third of each load one to one and a half metres apart. Spread the material with a shovel or the back of a rake, allow the wind and sun to dry it, and then rub the material into the turf so that the blades of the grass poke through.
Buffalo and Zoysia lawns are best maintained at a height of 20-25mm, and Couch; Kikuyu, Velvetene and Queensland Blue should be kept at a height of 10 to 15mm. No more than one third of the foliage should ever be removed when the lawns are mowed, so they need to be cut whenever necessary to maintain the specified heights.Sharp correctly set cylinder and rotary mowers are essential to prevent tearing the blades of grass that encourage penetration by insect pest and fungal disease spores.
Clippings are mostly water, decompose rapidly, re-cycle nutrients that stimulate microbial activity and increase the organic content of the soil. Modern hand push reel mowers that are wider than most rotary and domestic motor driven mowers, and cut all types of lawns superbly and are easy to operate in confined spaces are now available. These mowers are heavy enough to cut through the grass and not ride over it, yet light enough to lift up steps and into difficult to reach areas of the garden and are a welcome back-to-the future addition to the range of domestic lawn mowers.
When the root zones of al types of warm season grasses have been improved in accordance with my recommendations, they will in most cases be adequately watered under existing Water Corporation Regulations. It is a good idea to have watering systems audited by ‘Water Wise’ accredited irrigation specialists and to have done what ever is needed to ensure that they work reliably and efficiently.
This environmentally responsible integrated lawn care program for the period September to December if implemented will maintain strong healthy sustainable lawns and will enable lawn lovers to be their own greenkeeper. If preferred non-routine tasks such as the supply and spreading of Compost and lawn dressing sand can be done by specialised lawn care service providers.A good lawn compliments the landscape, enhances the character of the house, provides a safe resilient playing surface for children, and transforms a dwelling into a home. Its benefits to the homeowner far exceed any cost and the contribution that suburban lawns make to the environment is incalculable.
by Nick Bell
Advanced Dip: Horticulture –Turf Lawn and Turf Specialist.
Remember - If you are after our special Lawn Top Dress Mix, compost, or any of the minerals Nick has mentioned here (Zeolite, Bentonite, Spongolite, Rock Dust - etc), come and see us, as we have all of these - and more in stock.
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