IN YOUR GAR­DEN

Sim­ple steps you can take to get your lawn ready for spring

QT Magazine - - GARDEN - WITH TAFE QUEENS­LAND SOUTH WEST HOR­TI­CUL­TURE TEACHER, Paul Luck

QUES­TION: HOW DO I REN­O­VATE MY TURF TO GET IT READY FOR SPRING?

An­swer: Spring turf ren­o­va­tion in­volves a se­ries of op­er­a­tions that link to­gether in se­quence and com­ple­ment one an­other. These in­clude:

♦ Mow­ing the yard and pre­par­ing sur­faces for ren­o­va­tion

♦ Scar­i­fi­ca­tion and re­moval of un­wanted de­bris

♦ Aer­a­tion, de­com­paction of soil, im­prov­ing oxy­gen and car­bon diox­ide ex­change in soil

♦ Top dress­ing, restor­ing lev­els and im­prov­ing sur­face drainage

♦ Overseed­ing, restor­ing grass pop­u­la­tions

♦ Fer­til­is­ing, pro­vid­ing nu­tri­ents for grass growth

♦ Wa­ter­ing and/or ir­ri­ga­tion Af­ter a weed and mow, scar­i­fi­ca­tion re­moves most of the dead and old grass (and is like prun­ing a hedge be­cause it stim­u­lates new growth in the plant). If you don’t want to hire a scar­i­fier, you can get sim­i­lar re­sult by ei­ther low­er­ing your mower height set­ting or use a nail rake to vig­or­ously pulling up the old growth. This old and dead grass is called thatch; it makes a great ad­di­tion to your com­post bin. The lawn will look very messy and shaggy af­ter scar­i­fi­ca­tion, but fear not it will ben­e­fit greatly and the ap­pear­ance will quickly im­prove.

Aer­a­tion is the next critical step, and you can hire cor­ing ma­chines as well if you have a large area to cover. Oth­er­wise a gar­den fork will do the job. Just don’t for­get to check for un­der­ground ser­vices! Drive the fork into the top­soil to at least 75mm and move it back and for­ward to loosen the soil. This will re­duce any com­paction and al­low greater oxy­gen flow through the soil.

Now that you have a lawn full of holes, take the next step and top-dress over the holes. This can im­prove soil qual­ity and water and fer­tiliser pen­e­tra­tion. Top-dress­ing will also ad­dress any un­even lev­els that you may have by fill­ing small de­pres­sions. The best ma­te­rial to use for top-dress­ing is a sandy loam, but make sure that you don’t in­tro­duce weeds. Washed pit sand is an ex­cel­lent al­ter­na­tive that the pro­fes­sion­als of­ten use. You can get it from your lo­cal land­scape yard.

At this point you could over-sow with grass seed to help fill in ar­eas with no lawn. Make sure that the seed will grow in our cli­mate as many boxed prod­ucts have cool cli­mate grass seeds in them.

Now it’s time to fer­tilise to give your newly pruned and dressed lawn a good feed. Slow re­lease fer­tilis­ers are a use­ful op­tion that you can get ei­ther at the lo­cal land­scape yard or hard­ware store. Spread them evenly for the best re­sults.

Fi­nally, don’t for­get to water in. Once you have com­pleted all of the prior steps, give the lawn a good drink. This will al­low the top-dress­ing to set­tle in and the fer­tiliser to get to the roots.

Fol­low these steps and your lawn should be ready for a great growing sea­son.

The best ma­te­rial to use for top-dress­ing is a sandy loam, but make sure that you don’t in­tro­duce weeds.

Dis­claimer: The com­ments pro­vided in this ar­ti­cle are gen­eral in na­ture only and are not a sub­sti­tute for pro­fes­sional ad­vice. The author ac­cepts no re­spon­si­bil­ity for any ac­tion taken by a reader in re­la­tion to this ar­ti­cle.

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