En­sur­ing a lus­cious lawn

NT News - Real Estate - - Realestate - JEN­NIFER VEERHUIS

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.

TOUGH TURF

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.”

GRASS ROOTS

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.”

START­ING OUT

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.

CUT­TING EDGE

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.”

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