The best way to a lush, green home lawn is through regular lawn maintenance. Although most homes have at least a small patch of lawn, it can be one of the most difficult landscape features to maintain.
Before you go ahead and try to get your lawn in better condition, it is important to identify the causes that have resulted in your lawn not being at its best. Common causes for a poor-quality lawn include:
- Inappropriate cultural practices, including improper mowing height or frequency, or excessive or insufficient fertilisation, irrigation, and pest control regimes;
- Undesirable physical soil conditions like compaction, severe soil layering, or poor drainage;
- Drought, heat, or cold stresses;
- Excessive thatch accumulation;
- Use of species or cultivars that are not adapted to the site;
- Chemical soil conditions such as acidity, alkalinity, or salinity;
- Severe damage by diseases, insects, nematodes, or the toxic effect of chemicals, or
- General neglect, abuse, or overuse.
Often, a number of these factors can impact on your lawn. Therefore, assessing your lawn using a range of analytical and diagnostic tools exploring chemical soil analysis, irrigation water suitability and pest and disease identification becomes essential in understanding the appropriate remedial action to ensure your lawn has the best chance of performing well.
LawnPride offer a range of analytical and diagnostic tools to help you identify any issues you might have. Contact our support team at email@example.com where we can help guide you towards solving the problems you are experiencing and answer your questions you have.
Use the Right Tools
The right tools are critical in maintaining an attractive lawn. As a mower is probably one of the most expensive garden tools you will ever own, buy the best you can afford and take good care of it. A lawn mower is a true investment; when shopping for a new one - do your homework. The most important maintenance for do for your lawn, is to keep your lawn mower blades sharp.
An edger is also an important power tool to have in your shed. In the Australian home garden a line trimmer is the most versatile tool, however lawn edgers are popular for those wanting a professional finish.
A small push spreader or hand-held spreader is a must for distributing the right amount of fertiliser across your lawn. For small lawn areas a hand spreader is more than adequate, but for larger lawn areas a quality push spreader will be most suitable.
An important activity to perform regularly in your lawn care program is mowing. Mowing gives you an opportunity to inspect and keep track of any emerging problems. Staying on top of lawn maintenance is far easier than fixing problems once your lawn has them. Pay constant attention to your grass, check frequently, and follow these standard basics of lawn care.
If you have a lawn, you must mow. It is the most regular form of lawn maintenance you will do and the most important. Proper mowing techniques will keep your lawn healthy and vibrant, which in turn will keep larger problems and pests away.
Key Mowing Tips:
- Avoid the heat of the day while mowing - best in the morning or evening.
- Mow to the height recommended by your specific grass type.
- Alternate mowing patterns to ensure even growth patterns.
- Never cut more than 1/3 of the length of the grass blade at any one time.
Watering your Lawn
Second to mowing in lawn maintenance is how you water. Lawns tend to be water guzzlers and should never completely dry out. Once you have begun to see the standard colour changes associated with low water conditions, your lawn is already in a state of trouble. You can avoid this by watering before your lawn is becomes affected.
From your experiences with your lawn, develop your own seasonal watering regime. Also remember the regular use of a quality wetting agent will reduce water use by up to 25% by helping to store the applied water where the lawn’s roots can utilise it.
Your schedule will be different throughout the various seasons and your particular climate zone. Your schedule will also need to be adjusted based on rainfall, heat, and wind. Rainy days are days your lawn receives water naturally, but hotter and windier days will mean your lawn might need extra water.
The best time to water is early morning before the warmest part of the day. Water your lawn to the depths of your grass' roots. The amount of time and water this will take will depend on your soil type and grass species. For the most effective watering, you should perform a trial test to determine the perfect length of time for your specific lawn conditions.
Weeds are simply a part of any lawn and will always be a constant battle. The healthier your grass is, the easier the fight against weeds will be. Following a good lawn maintenance schedule will ensure your lawn's natural defence against most pests and weeds. The use of a pre-emergent herbicide is popular way to prevent weeds from germinating. Once weeds are present hand removal or the use of a suitable post emergent herbicide are the most popular ways to combat weeds.
It should be noted that some weeds, such as Nutgrass should not be hand pulled as this causes dormant underground tubers to repopulate your lawn with more weeds than you started with.
More information on weed control is available in our Lawn weeds guide
Lawn grasses obtain thirteen of sixteen essential nutrients from the soil via the root system. Therefore, the nutrient status of the soil is critical in ensuring that the appropriate level of nutrient is available to ensure the lawn has optimal growing conditions. A lawn growing in a well-balanced soil will outperform undesirable weed species and will be more capable of tolerating the stresses experienced during the lawn season. More information on soil balance and soil amendments can be found in our Guide to Soil Amendment and Nutrition Management
Fertiliser is a necessary ingredient for a truly healthy lawn. You will need to fertilise your lawn regularly, but the schedule will depend on your individual climate zone. LawnPride Programs highlight the right time and the right fertiliser for grass type and season.
- Use a professional controlled release fertiliser that includes the right trace elements for your lawn.
- When applying granular fertiliser use a dedicated fertiliser spreader to ensure an even and uniform application.
- Always follow the instructions on the package - exactly.
More information on fertilising is available in our Guide to soil amendment and nutrition management
Occasionally other maintenance activities such aerating, and dethatching should be completed. Details on how to renovate your lawn can be found in our Guide to Lawn Renovation
Pest and Disease control
With the challenge of multiple diseases affecting the lawn, the treatment will often have to be adjusted to counter all disease issues. Accurate disease identification is essential when managing plant protection issues, as is an understanding of the disease and how environmental, cultural factors affect their occurrence. Once the disease has been identified, control programs can be developed to limit future problems to make management of the pest less complex.
When pest or disease control is needed, have an experienced person help to;
- identify the pest problem,
- select the chemical recommended to control the pest,
- be sure the lawn will tolerate the chemical, and
- apply the chemical according to label recommendations.
More information is available in our Guide to Pest and Disease Management
Other important maintenance
Aeration is particularly important with heavier clay soils. Always fertilize after aerating to ensure a quick reestablishment of your lawn.
Some lawns never have problems with thatch, while others need to be thatched regularly. You will know it is time to thatch your lawn when the grass feels spongy when walked on. Test it by pulling back the grass blades. If you don't see dirt, you may need to remove the thatch layer. Too much thatch has also been linked to insect problems. So, if you are fighting pests in your lawn, you will want to stay on top of the thatch. More on the dethatching process can be found in our Identifying, managing and removing thatch Blog.
Lawn pests and diseases can usually be managed with insecticides, fungicides, and good cultural practices such as appropriate mowing, watering, and fertilising. However, once disease pressure builds with one disease, often other diseases take advantage of the weaken state of the lawn, and become a problem.
Lawn Care Programs
As you can see, getting the best out of your lawn requires a few important steps that once followed, give you great results. To ensure you get the best from your lawn, LawnPride have developed a range of Lawn Care Programs for the popular turf varieties commonly used for Aussie lawns.
You can also contact our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org where we can answer your questions and help you to have the best lawn in the street!