The grass is al­ways greener……….

Whangarei Report - - WHAT’S ON - BY DEB­BIE OLDFIELD

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.

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