The grass is always greener……….
We are officially into the first month of spring, when there is plenty to start doing in the garden. Lawns are a good place to start, getting them nice and lush and weed free for the summer months when we will be spending a fair bit of time on them. Some lawns can be as smooth as a bowling green, neatly kept, with not a weed in sight. Others are made up of all sorts, daisies, dandelions, Mercury Bay weed, Onehunga weed, and a wide selection of grasses that rapidly grow to different heights. If you have the time and inclination a nice weed free lawn can certainly make your property look fantastic.
The secret of a good lawn is maintenance. For an existing lawn with weeds, an annual spray with something like Turfix or Weed N Feed does the trick. You can also go around with a sharp knife or a ‘daisy weeder’ and manually cut the weeds out, quite satisfying to do. I’ve done this a few times over the years and it quickly makes a big difference to your lawn. If you haven’t already done it, now is also a good time to apply Sulphate of Iron - for moss control. It turns the moss black and kills it, and then gives the surrounding grass a boost of iron, turning it a nice dark green colour. Of course, if you do have a moss problem its usually caused by poor drainage, damp conditions or lack of light, you often find moss growing under trees or in the shady corner of the garden. It can also be caused by low soil fertility, compacted soil or an acid soil/low ph. Fixing these problems will help your lawn grow stronger and compete with the moss.
In a lot of our Northland gardens we have clay soil. With these heavier soils it helps to spread Garden lime once a year, usually about now, and then two or three weeks later apply your lawn fertiliser. I know a lot of us don’t bother, but this annual application of lawn fertiliser is always appreciated (by the grass).
One of the biggest problems in a lot of our Northland lawns is Onehunga weed - The bain of most kid’s existence! Now is the perfect time of year to be spraying to get rid of Onehunga weed. Spray Prickle weed killer (or similar) in late September/october when most of the prickle plants have germinated but before they flower and set seed (the next batch of prickles we don’t want) A 2nd spray in Autumn will reduce the prickle seedlings for next year. Please follow the directions on the bottle, applying the correct amount of spray for the area, in warm conditions when it has been recently mown, and no rain is expected within 24hrs.
So now that the days are getting longer, and hopefully the lawns are getting dryer, we can spend a lot more time out in the garden, and running around on those perfectly manicured lawns.