A lush, green lawn is very appealing – it draws everyone outdoors, keeps the outside of your home cool, and increases your street cred, too. For a lawn to look good almost all year round, it does require a little TLC. To make it easy, we’ve broken it down into season-by-season care.
The heat is on! To help protect your lawn from the stresses of summer, now is the time to water well and deeply. Ensure every drop of water is used by applying a soil wetter early in the season. This helps break up any waxy coating on the soil surface and enables water to better penetrate the soil profile, allowing it to go where it’s needed most – the roots.
In periods of extreme heat or extended periods of dry weather, you may need to water the lawn 2-3 times a week. Water early in the morning to help reduce water loss due to evaporation. Watering with diluted seaweed once a fortnight will also help strengthen the root system and help it better recover from heat-related stress.
Reduce mowing frequency but if needed, mow high. Avoid cutting off more than one-third of the leaf blade as it can cause unnecessary stress – there is less surface area; therefore, less moisture in the leaves.
Keep an eye out for lawn armyworm and treat at first sight with a suitable insecticide. These pests can chew through the lawn in a matter of days, so it pays to be vigilant.
The air is cool, and the soil is warm, it’s the perfect time to restore the effects of summer. If the lawn was heavily used, aerating and de-compacting will go a long way. Use a garden fork to drive 10-15cm holes into the lawn, spaced 10-15cm apart. If you aerated in spring, you may not need to fully cover the lawn.
Feed with a complete lawn fertiliser. Look for one that contains slow release, organic nutrients to help feed and nourish the soil too. Feed early in the season and again in May, to help prepare your lawn for winter.
If the lawn was damaged by pests over spring or summer, rake to remove the dead patches. Feed couch, kikuyu and buffalo lawns to encourage new growth into the bare areas, or repair by sowing lawn seed.
Lawn growth will have slowed – except for cool season varieties – and weeds will have started to set in. Control broadleaf weeds like bindii, clover, plantain, and thistles with a selective broadleaf herbicide. Ensure it’s suitable for your lawn type.
If the lawn is affected by frost, don’t walk over it. Instead, give it a light watering before the sun rises and this will help melt the frost quicker.
Browning is inevitable in winter, especially in cold areas, but ensuring you give it a good feed in late autumn will help the lawn recover faster come spring.
It’s starting to warm up; that means, it’s time for all the big jobs, including dethatching, aerating, weeding, feeding and mowing.
Use a metal rake to remove the build up of thatch or dead grass in the lawn. This thick, spongy layer prevents water, air and nutrients from efficiently penetrating the soil. Follow up with a garden fork to aerate the entire lawn.
Control any weeds that have taken hold during winter. It’s best to do this before you feed, otherwise, you will just be wasting nutrients on weeds! Treat them with a selective broadleaf herbicide that’s suitable for your lawn type. Once weeds are under control, give the lawn a feed with an organic lawn fertiliser. You can feed again in mid-late spring with an inorganic fertiliser, to really promote fast, lush, leafy growth.
Curl grubs are becoming active, so watch out for brown patches in your lawn. If spotted, treat with a suitable insecticide.
Check out our guide on how to repair lawn bald spots.
Photo Credit: Cath Muscat and Getty Images