During the rush of Christmas it can be hard to find the time to give your lawn the love it needs. The average lawn may be just surviving a hot summer. High temperatures, backyard parties and outdoor games can all have ill effects on a lawn.
However, with your kids now back at school, you may have a bit more breathing space. Your lawn could probably do with some breathing space too, literally. Over the party period your lawn may have developed some compacted areas from a vehicle, caravan, an inflatable pool, or simply from foot traffic. If that’s the case, it may be time to aerate your lawn to help it get more oxygen and water. You may now also have some dry spots or weeds to get on top of.
If your lawn hasn’t been too badly affected by the festive fun you may just need to aerate, apply a wetting agent, fertilise and give your lawn some time to recover. These simple actions combined with returning to regular mowing will get your lawn looking fantastic in no time.
To determine if you need to aerate, grab a screwdriver and try to push it into any suspected compacted high-traffic areas. If you can’t easily push it in 10 to 15 centimetres, then a good aeration will do wonders for your lawn’s recovery.
Visitors’ cars and caravans may have also left ruts in your lawn, which can also be fixed by aerating the affected areas to reduce soil compaction. Aerating your lawn will help when the grass begins to repair itself by allowing more nutrients and oxygen available to the recovering lawn. Also, lightly top-dress these areas with a sandy soil, making sure you don’t smother the leaf (only top-dress during your lawn’s active growing period. Note though, if the ruts are especially deep, you should top-dress the area, then lay fresh turf over the top of the ruts.
One of the best ways to reduce weeds is to have a healthy lawn so it chokes them out. The recommended strategy is to clean up any weeds before they go to seed and create problems for you later. Look at the basics before you turn to the spray bottle – check your soil, aerate, and top-dress if necessary; mow regularly and fertilise. If weeds are still an issue, either pull them by hand or try a selective herbicide that’s safe for your lawn.
If you need some further information on control of summer weeds check out this post.
If your lawn has dry spots, then lack of water or poor soil and drainage could be the problem. Apply a wetting agent over your entire lawn as a quick fix. Water the affected area well with a hose, then water the entire lawn. Be mindful of any water restrictions in your area when you do this.
Next, applying an NPK fertiliser will encourage your lawn’s growth. A deep watering will break down the fertiliser and give your lawn the best chance to thrive.
Don’t despair if you find you have thinning grass or bare patches after packing away furniture or equipment, such as an inflatable pool. There are a couple of great options to revive your tired lawn.
Keep in mind though there’s another option if your lawn is easily damaged from wear. If you want to minimise the effects of heavy foot traffic, and therefore repair work, you may want to look at replacing it with turf that can tolerate high wear, like TifTuf.
If your lawn was in bad shape before the holidays and is looking beyond repair (or you think it might be too difficult), now is a great time to look at installing a new lawn. Many turf suppliers offer a full conversion service where they come in and complete ground preparation, supply and installation. Many councils also have exemptions in place for new lawns.
The best advice regarding watering is to water deeply and less frequently. This leads to deeper root growth, which means your lawn will have moisture available for longer. The best time to water is in the morning. Ensure you follow any water restrictions that may apply in your area.
Another suggestion for lawn care following summer holidays is to consider applying a grass pigment. A natural, organic-based pigment like ColourGuard will instantly green up your lawn!
Your lawn may have seen some serious use over the summer break and led to bare spots, dry areas, weeds and compaction. Some common, easy lawn care practices, such as aerating, applying a wetting agent, fertilising, deep watering and regular mowing, can help you to reclaim a beautiful lawn.