Turf Maintenance

Turf maintenance

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Turf maintenance is essential for healthy grass and a visually appealing landscape, whether it’s for lawns, athletic fields, or golf courses. Our lawns withstand a lot, and with some time and care, we can ensure a happy and healthy lawn.

Fertilising

Lawn Solutions Lawn Rescue 2 litres

Fertilising is an important aspect of lawn care as over time, grass depletes the soil of essential nutrients that are needed for healthy and strong growth, improved lawn colour, weed reduction, and improved resilience. In addition, healthy lawns can act as carbon sinks, absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Additionally, they help prevent soil erosion and support the local ecosystem.

Lawn Solutions recommend feeding your lawn mid-spring, as it breaks dormancy, around Australia Day, and again in autumn, around Easter.

Lawn fertiliser is available as granules or spray.

Mowing

Lawn mowing

Turf can be mowed once it has established a root system into the soil, which typically takes 2-4 weeks and the grass has grown at least one-third taller than its recommended mowing height. To check if the turf is becoming established, carefully lift a corner of the roll, if there is resistance, the roots have taken into the soil.

Regular mowing promotes a healthier lawn. When grass is cut at the recommended height, it encourages denser growth and prevents weeds from gaining a foothold. Mowing also stimulates the grass to grow more robustly and ensures that sunlight is distributed evenly across the lawn, promoting consistent growth and colour.

When left on the lawn, lawn clippings can act as a natural fertiliser, returning essential nutrients back into the soil.

Watering

Newly laid turf will require watering up to 4 times a day for four weeks to allow it to establish. Once established, turf should be watered as needed.

The best time to water your turf is morning, to allow the water to seep into the soil before the heat of the sun evaporates it and also ensures that the grass blades have time to dry out as wet foliage can promote fungal diseases.

A long, deep water 2-3 times a week is better than more frequent watering. Sprinklers or soaker hoses allow for more even distribution of water over hand hosing. Watering in the morning ensures that the grass blades have time to dry out during the day.

Lawn grubs

Lawn grubs (also known as armyworms or sod webworms) are a common nuisance for homeowners and turf professionals. The term lawn grubs generally refers to the larvae of certain moths or beetles. Common lawn grubs in Australia include the following:

  • African black beetle larvae (Heteronychus arator): Creamy C-shaped grubs with a light brown head that feed on the roots of the grass. Adult beetles have hard-shelled black bodies, which can also cause damage by feeding on the grass.
  • Argentine stem weevil larvae (Listronotus bonariensis): Small, milky-white larvae with a brown head that burrow into grass stems and crowns, especially affecting Kikuyu and Couch grass varieties.
  • Sod webworm/lawn armyworm (Crambus species): The larvae stage of the crambid snout moth, a small brown moth.  Larvae have a grey body with small dark spots on the body and a brown head and create web-lined burrows in the soil surface and come out at night to feed on grass.
  • Cutworm (Agrotis ipsilon): The caterpillar stage of nocturnal flying moths which feed on grass at the base, cutting it off, hence the name.
Symptoms of lawn grub infestations:
  • Irregular brown patches in the lawn.
  • Grass easily pulls away from the soil due to damaged or eaten roots.
  • Increased activity of birds, possums, or bandicoots, which might be feeding on the grubs.
  • Spongy feel underfoot
Control and management:
  • Detection: A simple method is the drench test. Mix a solution of water with some detergent and pour it over a patch of lawn. If grubs are present, they’ll come to the surface.
  • Biological control: Introduce beneficial nematodes (e.g., Steinernema carpocapsae), which enter grubs’ bodies and release a bacteria that kills them.
  • Chemical control: Insecticides available in Australia, such as those containing bifenthrin or chlorantraniliprole, can be effective against lawn grubs. Always read the label and follow the application guidelines.
  • Cultural practices: Maintaining good lawn health, ensuring appropriate watering, and avoiding excessive use of nitrogen-rich fertilisers can reduce the attractiveness of your lawn to egg-laying adult beetles or moths.

Regular monitoring, especially during the peak times of the year when grubs are most active, can help in early detection and management. If you’re unsure about the specific pest or treatment, consider seeking advice from local nurseries, turf specialists, or agricultural extension services in Australia.

Weeds

Dandelion

Lawn weeds can be persistent nuisances that compete with desired grass species for resources, detract from the appearance of a lawn, and can sometimes be challenging to control. Weeds are broken up into broadleaf and grassy weeds.

Broadleaf weeds:
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): Recognised by its bright yellow flowers and rosette of jagged leaves. It has a deep taproot.
  • Clover (Trifolium spp.): Trifolate (three-part) leaves and often produces small, white to pink flowers.
  • Plantain (Plantago spp.): Broadleaf or buckhorn varieties are common, with rosettes of broad or slender leaves, respectively.
  • Chickweed (Stellaria media): A low-growing weed with small, white flowers and paired leaves.
  • Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea): Also known as creeping Charlie, it spreads quickly with square stems and round, scalloped leaves.
  • Buttercup (Ranunculus spp.): Bright yellow flowers and various leaf structures depending on the species.
  • Wild Violet (Viola spp.): Heart-shaped leaves and purple, blue, or white flowers.
Grassy weeds:
  • Crabgrass (Digitaria spp.): An annual weed that spreads rapidly in warm weather, forming a low mat.
  • Quackgrass (Elymus repens): A perennial grassy weed with long, pointed leaves and a spreading rhizome.
  • Nutsedge (Cyperus spp.): Also known as nutgrass, it’s sedge, not grass, with a triangular stem and yellow or purple flowers.
  • Goosegrass (Eleusine indica): Often mistaken for crabgrass, but has a more silver, flattened look at the base.
  • Onion weed (Nothoscordum spp.) A bulbous perennial, garlic-scented, with star-shaped white flowers.

Thatching

Thatching involves the removal of a layer of organic debris known as thatch that can accumulate between the green grass blades and the soil surface. Thatch is a dense, mat-like layer made up of grass clippings, roots, stems, and other organic materials. While a thin layer of thatch can be beneficial, providing insulation and protecting the lawn from temperature extremes and foot traffic, an excessive layer can create several problems:

  • Reduced water and nutrient penetration: A thick layer of thatch can prevent water, nutrients, and air from reaching the grass roots.
  • Pest and disease habitat: It can become a breeding ground for pests and a habitat for lawn diseases.
  • Rooting in thatch: Grass may start to grow its roots in the thatch rather than the soil. This can make the lawn more susceptible to drought and stress conditions.
  • Impaired pesticide efficacy: Thatch can bind up some fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides, making them less effective.

To manage and reduce thatch, lawn owners use a process called “dethatching” or “lawn scarifying.” This involves using specialised equipment, such as a dethatching rake or machine, to mechanically remove the excess thatch layer. It’s an essential practice to maintain the health and appearance of a lawn, but it should be done judiciously to avoid damaging the grass. Typically, cool-season grasses in the spring and warm-season grasses in late spring to early summer are the best times to dethatch.

Test soil pH

Soil pH is the acidity or alkalinity of soil and is an important indicator of soil health. The pH of soil impacts the availability of nutrient uptake and the activity of soil microorganisms. Most turf prefers a pH range between 6.5-7. pH testing tools are a cheap and effective way to check soil pH levels, the most common are ponged pH readers or pH test strips.

Incorporating lime can increase the soil’s pH (shifting it towards alkalinity) while integrating sulfur or peat moss can decrease it. There are also commercial solutions available for pH adjustments.

Aeration

Aeration is an essential lawn care practice that involves creating small holes in the soil to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots more efficiently. This helps the roots grow deeply and produce a stronger, more vigorous lawn.

Why aerate?
  • Soil compaction: Over time, soil can become compacted, especially in high-traffic areas. Compacted soil has reduced air spaces, which makes it harder for roots to expand and for water and nutrients to penetrate. Aeration alleviates this compaction, enabling roots to grow more extensively.
  • Enhanced nutrient uptake: By improving the soil structure and reducing compaction, aeration enhances the lawn’s ability to take up essential nutrients, promoting healthier growth.
How to aerate:
  • Spike aeration: This method uses a tool or machine with solid tines to poke holes into the ground. It’s less effective than core aeration, especially for more compacted soils but can be useful for lightly compacted areas.
  • Core (or Plug) aeration: This method removes small cores or plugs of soil and thatch from the lawn. Machines designed for this purpose extract cores about 2-6 inches apart and 2-4 inches deep. The removed cores are typically left on the lawn’s surface to break down naturally.
Best practices:
  • Timing: Aerate cool-season grasses in the early spring or fall when they’re actively growing. For warm-season grasses, late spring and early summer are ideal.
  • Watering: We recommend you water the lawn a day or two before aeration to soften the soil. This ensures more effective core removal.
  • Post-aeration care: After aerating, it’s an excellent time to overseed, fertilise, or top-dress. The open channels allow these treatments to penetrate deeper, maximising their benefits.
  • Frequency: For lawns growing in clay soils or those receiving heavy use, annual aeration might be beneficial. Otherwise, aerating every 2-3 years should suffice for most lawns.
  • Leave the cores: Allow the extracted soil cores to remain on the lawn after aeration. They will break down with rain and mowing, returning valuable soil microorganisms to the thatch layer.

Aerating a lawn is a straightforward process but does require some effort, especially for larger areas. Homeowners can rent aerators from local garden centres or hire professionals to perform the service. Regardless of the method chosen, regular aeration contributes significantly to the long-term health

ColourGuard Plus liquid fertiliser and grass pigment

ColourGuard Plus

Colourguard Plus is a lawn pigment designed to enhance or restore the green appearance of lawns that have become discoloured, brown, or dormant. Colourants give lawns an attractive green appearance, especially during periods when grass naturally turns brown, such as during droughts or winter dormancy.

Lawn pigments also help to protect lawns from harmful UV rays, acting like sunscreen.

Check out our extensive range of turf and lawn care products.

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