Lawn care in Brisbane at this time of year is critical while we wait for some rain. Hot off the press from an expert, who also happens to be my brother, on how to keep your lawn alive and well.
Paul the lawnmower man here with some handy lawn tips. I get asked a lot about lawn conditioning at this time of year. Now, because there are so many grass and soil types it can get a bit confusing but I hope these basic tips will see some improvement especially during the peak growing season.
Rainwater – no matter how much tap water you use on your lawn there is nothing your grass likes more than natural rainwater so between the storms or periods of rain give the lawn a regular sprinkling in the evening just to keep the roots moist – when it does rain the rainwater will soak in and do its job.
Top dressing – If you laid your own turf the chances are you know exactly what’s under your grass. Around Brisbane many of our houses were built on clay and shale which over time will slowly break down however, it’s going to take a long time but you can help by top dressing and distributing a good layer of gypsum (clay breaker). I prefer to gypsum first and after watering this in give the grass an even layer of top soil and rake in to expose the tops of the grass. You only need about 3-4 cm. You want a sandy based soil which will be easy to work with and some organic matter which will feed the lawn as well. This must be watered in so as not to dry out and form a crust.
Fertilizers – there are so many to choose from…! A quick release fertilizer (Super Green etc) will give your lawn a quick boost and within a few days you will see a lush green colour – (again depending on the amount of watering or rain). Don’t be fooled though as this is a quick fix that will last only a week or so as it contains lime and phosphates that the soil and grass will love temporarily (rather like having two big Mac’s and then feeling hungry later in the day as you’re not getting the protein and nutrients your body really needs!) An organic slow release fertilizer will release its goodies over time giving more even and consistent results. Some of the slow release fertilizers can be a bit smelly – apologies to the neighbours etc. Depending on how much organic material is contained. My suggestion is ‘if it’s on the nose – use your hose’ water in as much as you can. PLEASE insure you keep all garden fertilizers and chemicals out of children’s reach.
Lawn grubs – So, you’ve taken some tips and you’ve finally got that lush green look returning to your lawn. You’re not the only one who’s going to take a fancy to your pride and joy… With this growing season comes the lawns worst enemy lawn grubs and the greener and sweeter your lawn the more they will attack. You can help by not leaving outside lights on around the house at night time. Lawn grubs start as a flying insect that nests up under your guttering or eves or anywhere under your outdoor patio. Easily identifiable you will notice a light brown fury patch no bigger than a five cent piece. You can wipe them off the paint work or guttering which is advisable as when the time is right the larvae from these patches will drop to the ground and find their way to the lawn and very quickly turn into lawn grub. Overnight your lawn can devoured leaving small to large brown patches – like dead grass. Don’t panic! Lawn grub killer can be applied by spray or granules and does a great job. If you have pets though please ensure they are indoors until the spray has dried or I prefer to use the granules and water in.
Finally – If you have pets (especially dogs) you will no doubt have some urine burn – brown patches appearing. Often the first wee that a dog does in the morning will contain more acidity. If you follow your dog around with a hose you can reduce the effect – OK there is another way. I’ve been using a dog biscuit that contains Yoghurt which Pepper (my King Charles Cavalier) loves. The natural ingredient in yoghurt actually alters the PH of the urine to reduce the lawn burn and it works! Check out ‘Sentinel Yoghurt Plus’ at your local supermarket.
Paul the Lawnmower Man (Brisbane) go to www.lawnmowerman.net.au for a free compost bin give-away with six cuts from an expert.
Please note: The lawnmower man accepts no responsibility for the advice offered on this website. You are advised to exercise your own due diligence before making any decisions on what is wrong or right for your application.