Spring is the time when you should fertilise your lawn. This will help speed up new growth and help to establish strong roots for the hotter summer months. In order to have the best lawn, you need to have the best soil. Depending where you live, and the soil you have will play a very big part here. There is no quick fix for all soil types, so you’ll need to apply a treatment which is specific to the profile. If you have a clay base, then despite having put in new soil when you laid your lawn, the underlying clay will, over time, work its way up through the soil profile and into the topsoil through a process called bioturbation. Therefore, you’ll need to periodically aerate and apply a clay breaker such as gypsum, otherwise your soil will compact and lack the oxygen the roots of your lawn require for respiration. If, on the other hand, your soil is quite sandy, then you’ll need to ensure that your soil has the ability to hold onto moisture. This can be corrected with regular applications of a soil wetting agent, which works to coat the sand grains and enables them to cling to moisture and nutrients.
Checking your soil pH is also important regardless of your soil type, as incorrect pH causes your lawn to miss out on important nutrients and leads to overall poor performance. So be sure to test your soil with a basic soil pH testing kit or soil probe, the optimum level is 6.5. If your pH is higher you can use Sulphate of Ammonia to lower it. If it’s lower, a 50:50 mix of lime and dolomite lime will help to raise it, whilst adding Calcium and Magnesium which are often leached from acidic soils.
Learn more about soil pH here.
Now it would be remiss to not think about the bacteria in the soil and give them a little treat as well. Your soil is full of nitrogen-fixing bacteria such as mycorrhiza and rhizobia, and these guys work hard to turn the nitrogen from the atmosphere and fertilisers into a usable form of nitrate for your lawn. During winter these guys go on strike, however once the soil temperature rises, they are ready to get to work. There’s nothing they love more than a boost of carbohydrate, so apply a soil conditioner which contains seaweed extract, and these guys will repay you ten-fold! Products such as Seasol will do the trick. So now that you have your soil in top shape, you can now work to get some nutrients into your lawn to boost its colour and vitality, and to promote strong healthy roots.
Aerating your soil is one of the most overlooked parts of your annual lawn care routine and is one of the most important for long term lawn health. Aeration helps increase the amount of air, water and nutrients getting to the soil, which strengthens grass roots and helps create a healthier lawn. Using aeration sandals or a garden fork are easy ways to undertake this yourself prior to fertilising.
Learn more about aerating here.
If you live in a cooler climate, you might need to use a liquid fertiliser first of all, as your soil temperature may not be quite warm enough for the bacteria to work its magic for a soil borne reaction using a granular fertiliser. As liquid fertilisers are ingested through the leaves of your grass rather than the roots, you’ll only need to have a bit of growth occurring for the liquid fertilisers will give an instant boost. Once the warmer weather really kicks in, and you’re starting to toss the blanket off the bed at night, you can feed your lawn with a good granular NPK fertiliser such as the Lawn Solutions Australia Premium Fertiliser. Containing macronutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium, plus micronutrients like Iron, it will work to feed your lawn and enable it to carry out all of the necessary functions needed for optimum growth, strength and performance.
Learn more about spring fertilising here.
If you are experiencing any “sponginess” in your lawn, this is due to a build up of thatch. To alleviate this, give your lawn a good haircut right back to the runners. You may need to mow it a couple of times to achieve this. Once this is done, fertilise and water it well, to promote speedy regrowth.
Learn more about dethatching here.
It is also a good time to top dress your lawn if you wish to reduce any unevenness in the ground surface. Mow and fertilise your lawn first and then top dress with coarse river sand, remembering not to cover the entire leaf tip to allow the grass to grow through. Once you have your lawn growing at its peak, it will be ready to take on the summer heat.
Don’t forget that spring is also a good time to get your watering regime in order to drought-proof your lawn too. A deep soaking once a week will train your root system to grow deeper into the soil, so when those 40 degree scorchers come along, your lawn will be prepared to take them head-on!