New spring growth . . . the birds have started singing and the smells of flowering gardens have returned to the air. It’s a great time to venture back outside and start on a few chores in your garden and take stock of how your lawn has fared over winter. A few simple steps during spring can set your lawn up for renewed vigour in the weeks ahead when you and the family can really start to enjoy the outdoors again. The following tips will help prepare your lawn for summer whilst looking good on the way there:
Chances are that like your lawn, your mower has been sitting dormant for a few months. Do yourself and your mower a favour and treat it to a little attention before pulling the starter cord repetitively ‘til you’re both out of puff. A bit of basic maintenance can go a long way here and changing fuel, oil and the spark-plug can help keep your machine running smoothly for years. If you baulk at the thought of home-mechanics then there are many mower shops around that will, for a small fee, have your mower tuned and ready to go; but get in early in the season before they get over-run with work. Sharp blades are another important piece of mower maintenance. A new set of blades, or if you’re a dab-hand with the grinder, a touch-up can do wonders; or else the mower shop again should also be able to assist with sharpening or changing your blades.
Coming out of winter there can be a few weeds that may have been able to fight their way through your lawn. Many of these are usually a result of being blown-in and some could have been lying dormant in your lawn for a while. Most single weed types can be simply removed by hand, preferably before going to seed, and other flat weeds and grasses can be mown over, with a healthy lawn able to choke-out most weed types. If you’ve got an abundance of weeds or a type that tends to hang-around it may be worth a trip to your local nursery or a call to your local lawn-care specialist for further advice on best herbicides to use.
One of the healthiest things you can do for a spring lawn is to aerate. Aeration is recommended for decreasing thatch as well as compaction. It helps increase the amount of air, water and nutrients getting to the soil, which strengthens grass roots and help create a healthier lawn. Aeration should be carried out annually in high traffic areas and hard lawns or those with poorer soil can benefit enormously from aeration. Aeration properly done however, can be hard work on some soil types. A garden fork is best for this kind of work and sometimes better is the lawn contractor who can carry out a full aeration service with specialist equipment.
“Light” being the operative word here. It’s a great time to give your lawn a kick-start into summer but don’t get carried away. You want to be rid of those weeds first before feeding them as well and overfeeding at this time of year may not produce desired results with the warmth and light intensity not quite there yet for your lawn to perform to its best. A light dusting of either organic or inorganic fertiliser at the specified label rate will give your lawn the boost it needs. The warmer days and nights are the major trigger now for growth your lawn has been looking for. It’s a good idea to get a few mows-in first then assess the weed and lawn-growth situation and then further address fertiliser needs.
This time of the year requires minimal additional top-up watering other than natural rainfall, dependent on your soil and location. It’s a great time of year to start training your lawn to be less-dependent on being frequently-watered; so easy does it. You can look at increasing water application if it’s dry over coming weeks, but a minimalist approach to watering will often be rewarded with a healthier lawn, with stronger, deeper roots heading towards the extremes of summer. Lawn care doesn’t have to be a daunting task and with a lot of new technologies on the market it’s becoming easier all the time. Talk to your local Lawn Solutions Australia turfgrower or Lawn Solutions Centre about ColourGuard lawn paint, or even Oxafert – a pre-emergent fertiliser blend to keep weeds at bay, as well as their home-lawn blended fertilisers and new turf types that they now have available.