A healthy, well-maintained lawn is a real pleasure and a source of pride, adding value to your property by providing an attractive setting for your house, trees, shrubs and flowering plants. So it is worth putting a little time and effort in keeping your lawn in good healthy condition by following the simple steps outlined in this MitrePlan.
Step 1: Regular feeding
The most important factor in achieving a lush, green lawn is to give it a regular feed. This is because lawn grasses have shallow roots, and quickly deplete the soil of nutrients. So a systematic fertilising program is essential to improve the vigour, density and the appearance of your lawn. This will also help to reduce weeds. For what to feed, when to feed and how to feed your lawn, see our Mitreplan.
Step 2: Aeration
Aeration simply means punching holes into the soil surface to improve water, air and fertiliser penetration down to the grass roots to stimulate growth. Use a hollow tined lawn aerator to remove small cores of soil or jab the tines of a garden fork into the soil as far as they will go. Moving the fork back and forth a couple of times. For truly large lawn areas, a power aerator can be hired to save you a great deal of time and effort.
Step 3: Watering
Frequency depends on the type of lawn grass, soil type and weather conditions. Cool season grasses require more watering than tougher drought tolerant grasses such as couch and other summer grasses, especially during hot weather. Heavier soils also hold moisture well and a reasonably heavy soaking once a week in summer should be all that’s needed. However, sandy or lighter soils may require watering every two days during summer months. Generally, a deep uniform soaking at intervals is better than frequent light sprinklings which can cause grasses to become soft and sappy and make them prone to disease. Light sprinklings also encourage surface roots that become badly stressed during hot weather.
Step 4: Mowing
Established lawns should be mown frequently and consistently. Remove only 1/3 of the height of the grass at any cut. Generally, aim for a height of about 2cm during spring and autumn and 3cm during summer. Cutting too short causes shallow root formation which then encourages weeds.
Step 5: Weed control
Weeds shouldn't be a problem in a vigorous growing, well drained and maintained lawn. They can only gain a foothold where the grass is too thin or weak to suppress them. So if they do become a problem, look first at your maintenance practices.Broad leaf weeds in lawns are easily controlled with a selective weed killer like Broad Leaf Lawn Weeder or better still Lawn Weed and Feed which controls the weeds as well as fertilises your lawns. When other grasses like Paspalum and Winter Grass invades your lawns then you will need to use a spot spray of weed killers like Roundup or Zero. These will kill parts of the lawn as well so you will need to top dress and over-sow the bare patch.
Step 6: Pest control
There aren't many lawn pests but they can cause considerable damage in some regions of Australia. The adult Black Beetle burrows in the soil, while its white Curl Grub feeds on the roots and causes the grass to grow yellow and die, mainly in spring and autumn. During summer, Field and Mole Crickets can spoil the lawn surface with their tunnelling and burrowing, and may even eat the grass. Both beetles and crickets can be treated with Chlorban or Lawn Beetle Killer. But be sure to follow the rate instructions and safety precautions printed on the label.