As featured in SA Gardens Spring issue, 2023
There is nothing more cemented into the classic Australian way of life than the iconic, lush green lawn. It is the centre of our best seasons as we kick a football, sizzle sausages, and enjoy balmy evenings in the backyard. But, if after a chilly winter your lawn isn’t looking prepared, there are a few things you can do to bring it back to life this spring.
Most lawn varieties in South Australia are warm season lawns such as kikuyu, couch and buffalo. Warm season lawns have the ability to self-repair by stolons and/or rhizomes which means even if you think your lawn is beyond repair, there could still be an opportunity to have a thriving lawn once again.
Firstly, don’t act too early; you need to wait until temperatures are consistently on the rise and your lawn has started actively growing again. In the meantime, you can get prepared by cleaning up leaves and debris off your lawn, pulling or treating weeds and checking if your mower blades need sharpening.
Once the sun is shining and you’re feeling motivated to get into the garden, the time has come to address some common problems that your lawn might have suffered from over the cooler months such as thatch build up, weed infiltrations, and nutrient depletion. To really give your lawn a fresh start this spring, we recommend aerating, fertilising and if needed, dethatching too.
Aerating is the perforation of the soil profile to give space for oxygen, water, and nutrients to access your lawns roots. Aeration is important to help break up compacted soils, assist drainage and to aid in absorption so your lawn can really make the most of your spring fertilise and watering schedule.
You can easily aerate your home lawn with a garden fork or aerating sandals, there are even specialised aerating machines available for hire if you have a larger area to cover. Simply create holes in your ground around 8-10cm apart and make sure to avoid any irrigation pipes.
After aerating, there is a clear route from the surface of your lawn to the roots below, which makes this the ideal time for your spring fertilise. Through winter, your lawn has used up all its valuable nutrient stores and is in desperate need of a top up to encourage fast growth and repair. A good quality slow-release granular fertiliser will give your lawn a steady rate of the essential nutrients your lawn needs to thrive over the next few months.
If your lawn has seen its fair share of winters, the thatch levels may have developed to a damaging level. Thatch is the build up of dead organic matter, excessive roots and stems that have developed within the profile of your grass. It can raise the levels of your lawn and make it feel spongey to walk on. Not only is thatch aesthetically displeasing, but an unhealthy level of thatch blocks air and nutrients reaching the roots of your lawn which negatively affects its overall health.
Dethatching your lawn can give it a fresh start, so it can perform its best for the rest of the season. The easiest way to perform a dethatch is to mow low. Drop the height of your mower right down, so that it will cut into the thatch layer. For couch and kikuyu varieties, you can mow right down to the dirt and your lawn will regenerate from a below ground root system. However, if you have a buffalo lawn, just take the dethatch a little lighter and ensure you leave some leaf on top for regrowth.
After a dethatch, your lawn isn’t going to look great but with regular mowing and watering, fresh growth will emerge, and your lawn will be as good as new in no time!
During winter your lawn probably didn’t require very much water at all, but now the weather is warming up, you need to start treating your lawn to a drink. Longer, deeper watering will encourage strong root development and an overall happier and healthier lawn.
Installing a new lawn
If you’re in a time crunch or just want to start over, the warm weather and spring showers makes this time of year perfect for laying a new lawn.
Choose a variety that is perfectly suited to your area, usage, and lifestyle to avoid further issues in the long run.
Contact us if you need any help and be sure to enjoy a lovely fuss-free lawn this spring.