Ensuring a luscious lawn
QI get lawn envy every time I walk down my street. How do I select a great lawn for my yard and how do I maintain it? They say the grass is always greener on the other side, but with a bit of planning and effort, that doesn’t have to be the case at all. Having a beautiful green lawn is achievable, but you do need to put in some groundwork.
And with spring an ideal time to be planting grass, now is the time to decide on which one to use.
Horticulturalist and Victa ambassador Adam Woodhams (inset) says it’s important to select an appropriate grass for your area.
“The real secret to a good lawn when you’re starting from scratch is in the groundwork before you put the turf down and selecting the right variety, not just for your particular climate and location but for your uses as well,” he says.
For homeowners with children and pets, Adam suggests buying a lawn that can handle wear and tear.
“If you are going to have any really vigorous activity taking place on the lawn, you need lawns that are generally described as self-repairing,” he says.
“They’re very good at repatching themselves.
“There are two types of lawns that are the best at selfrepairing.
“There are the ones that are very vigorous growers, which obviously means more maintenance and time on the mower, and the ones that have a tendency to be horizontal rather than vertical growers.”
Adam says preparation is key when it comes to turf.
“Turf tends to have its roots very much in the top five centimetres of soil,” he says.
“Most turf grasses aren’t deeply rooted and that’s why a lot of them respond badly to dry conditions, because their roots are sitting close to the surface and they quickly get scorched.
“In clay situations I recommend people lay a quality soil down and then put turf on top of that which gives the grass something decent to grow into.”
He says sandy soil can be easier to grow grass on.
“It’s very easy for the lawn to get its roots down in and the underlying soil doesn’t become depressed over time,” he says.
“It does tend to lose water very quickly but if it stays dry for too long it can became water repellent.”
If you’re starting out, Adam generally recommends laying down a quality turf mix soil.
“There are lawn establishment fertiliser blends that are designed for spreading underneath turf and they help the root get started,” he says.
“Spread those and then water it in with one of the seaweed solutions that come in hose-on packs because that will stimulate the microbial activity in the soil which then helps to release lots of nutrients and it forms good associations with the grass and the grass establishes faster. The biggest thing when you’re getting new turf down is to ensure you’re applying the right amount of water for the conditions. You don’t want it wet and you don’t want it to dry out so it is very much a juggling act for the first two to three weeks.”
Adam says using a slowrelease fertiliser with an in-built soil wetting component a couple of times a year can help grass establish really strong roots which can help it survive adverse conditions.
Adam says there’s no need to mow the lawn at all when it’s becoming established.
“You don’t need to do any mowing generally for the first three to four weeks,” he says.
“The giveaway is you’ll start to see definite growth in the lawn itself. Give it a light haircut for its first few mows and let it settle in properly.”