RES­CUE YOUR DODGY LAWN

NOW THAT THE RAIN IS UPON US, YOUR GRASS AND PLANTS MAY NEED A LIT­TLE BIT OF EX­TRA CARE

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Garden -

If you are a few ki­los heav­ier af­ter a Christ­mas and new year binge, imag­ine how a few trees around the place feel af­ter a hit of big reg­u­lar rain. Af­ter hav­ing di­vested them­selves of ev­ery un­nec­es­sary leaf be­fore Christ­mas to deal with their own wa­ter con­ser­va­tion pro­gram, the glut of rain and hu­mid­ity has added a few ki­los to just about ev­ery tree and canopies are again shady and full.

In de­spair, I was just about to call for a chain­saw a few weeks ago to put a few trees out of their mis­ery as they dropped their leaves to “just tick­ing over mode”. But now, whoosh!

Like the brown crisp and crunchy corn­flake lawns at the same time, these too have been like some­one has switched from black and white to colour.

This at least ver­i­fies the in­for­ma­tion that you can for­get about a brown lawn.

Hav­ing said that, of­ten the lawn is dam­aged and has bald or thin­ning patches that need re­pair. Top dress­ing at least is a good idea. Get­ting hold of some mill mud would be ter­rific as a thin rak­ing over the top of the lawn – no more than 1cm will give some or­ganic mat­ter back to the top of the pro­file. Check your raw ma­te­ri­als sup­plier. A light sandy loam will also do the trick. Oth­ers may need a good fork­ing to aer­ate the soil. As the weight of rain and wa­ter, ve­hi­cles or pedes­tri­ans slowly com­pact the lawn’s soil, the com­paction in­hibits spa­ces for oxy­gen, which is also es­sen­tial. A gar­den fork on the end of a boot poked into the soil ev­ery 300mm and to about 100mm deep will also help.

Of­ten a fine skim of clean river sand over the top will also help with boggy lawns.

Other gar­den fea­tures such as beds will prob­a­bly need some more mulch or, in some cases, less. Too much mulch is never enough, as they say, but as it gets thicker it of­ten has dry spots within and wa­ter ac­tu­ally runs off.

Some mulches work bet­ter than oth­ers. In fact, lightly turn­ing the mulch with a fork is also use­ful for aer­a­tion and worm food.

If you don’t have a gar­den bed take a look at your pots. The soil in these of­ten “slumps” and com­pacts on it­self or has worms which are not en­cour­aged, as they col­lapse the tex­ture to a mud and bog the plant down.

A re­pot­ting of some favourite spec­i­mens would work with more or­ganic mat­ter (chicken, cow, pig etc) as an ad­di­tion.

Then it’s back to the ban­quet that is life. Happy New Year.

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