Lawn Frequently Asked Questions
All lawns need some maintenance and mowing to keep them healthy and looking good. A healthy lawn requires less maintenance, as a strong lawn makes it harder for weeds to become established and is more able to resist diseases.
Can occur in your lawn, a silvering or turning bluey colour before starting to die off. This is caused by lack of water. Increase the water to this area and apply a wetting agent to encourage regrowth.
Can also cause your lawn to thin and die off. If shaded by trees/plants, prune back to let in more sunlight. Always leave the leaf length longer in shade areas and over the whole lawn in Autumn & Winter, this will provide more leaf area to capture the sunlight.
Can also cause bare patches. To check for cut/army/sod worm, mole crickets or black beetle use the Detergent Drench Test. Detergent Drench Test- pour a bucket of water with a tablespoon of dish washing detergent in it, over 1sqm of the lawn area and flood it with the hose for a few minutes. The best time is late in the day, watch for 10 minutes to see what comes to the surface. If more than 10 hairless caterpillar come out of the lawn (colour range black to grey, green or brown), or more than 25 black beetle per square metre you may need to treat the area.
DISEASES can cause discoloured, black or bare patches.
In the right conditions many types of fungus can affect lawns. Fungal disease usually occurs under humid conditions, when the grass is under stress, but they rarely require treatment.
Appears as small round spots, generally a few at first, which then seemingly multiply to ten, twenty or even more in a matter of a few weeks. The spots are small - about the size of a golf ball up to a basketball - and can overlap. Dollar Spot is most likely to grow on turf which is low in nitrogen or not well fertilized. When Dollar Spot turf begins to rebound and grow back, it is a uniform growth.
Will turn healthy grass looking dead and sickly virtually overnight, causing the lawn to turn brown, wilt and dry up. The marks are notably larger than Dollar Spot and generally will occur less frequently. Brown Patch has a tendency to grow in turf which is high in nitrogen or over fertilized. Brown Patch has a tendency to grow back from the middle of the spot out leaving a round ring just before it rebounds completely.
To prevent fungal disease;
- Irrigation should be done early in the morning to avoid moisture staying on the lawn all night.
- PH must be in balance for any fungicide treatments to work
- Lawn clippings left on the Lawn can increases the likelihood of disease on your lawn.
- Avoid scalping and excess nitrogen during humid conditions
Female dog's urine seems to cause more damage to lawns than males. Try cutting down the dog's dry food, replacing with fresh meat & bones.
Try to redirect the traffic to allow the turf time to grow back, or lay down some stepping stones and reinstall turf around them.
All lawns need nutrients to perform at their best. When the colour starts to fade, it may be time to add more nutrients to your lawn, check first to see if the lawn is receiving enough water.
- Over feeding your lawn can promote disease and thatch problems and increases mowing frequency.
- Apply fertilisers to dry lawn and water in immediately after apply with at least 15mm of irrigation.
- New lawns need extra fertiliser to establish a strong root system. Fertilise 4-6 weeks after installation and then every 3 months for the first.
- Once your lawn is established, apply a good quality fertiliser, the most important time to fertilise is in Spring & Autumn.
If your lawn is not improving after fertilising, and you have checked that water is getting to the roots, you may need to test the PH of your soil, to low or high PH inhibits a plants up take of nutrients, ideal PH range is 5.5 to 7.5. Soil testing kits are available from most hardware stores.
Lawn invading Garden Beds
Install a barrier between lawn & garden, treated pine, limestone blocks etc. Or cut the edges of the lawn with sharp spade or edger to prevent lawn escaping. Carefully spray or paint on Roundup to any lawn runners in the garden, this will kill the runner all the way down to the roots, pulling up runners usually leaves pieces in the garden that reshoot. Sir Walter & Velvetene are less invasive than Plateau or Wintergreen.
Messy Mud heaps on the lawn
Usually a sign that worms are active in your soil, good news for your lawn; they are the good guys and help to keep your lawn healthy.
Can be a problem in winter, usually a sign of poor drainage/too much shade or incorrect soil ph. Try aerating the area with a garden fork to improve drainage. To kill the moss make up a solution of 2 Tablespoons of sulphate of iron in ½ bucket of water and pour over moss, repeat in 7-10 days.
Mower - What type is best?
A reel mower cuts the leaf cleanly leaving a nice green cut lawn. A rotary mower slashes at the leaf and can leave torn edges that do not look as green, keeping the blades sharp will improve the look of your cut lawn.
All lawns need regular mowing to keep them in good condition; mowing helps strengthen the root sysem and creating a more vigorous lawn. Healthy lawns require less maintenance as they suppress weed growth.
Mow your new lawn approximately 14 days after installation, initial mowing should just remove the tips.
Avoid removing more than 1/3 of the leaf at any mowing.
Mowing height will depend on personal preference and climatic conditions. Raising mowing height prior to cooler weather and in shade areas, allows more leaf area to be exposed to the sun, keeping your lawn healthier and greener through winter.
As a guide for established lawns, mow as per table:
||8 - 12mm
||10 - 14days
||15 - 18mm
||3 - 5 weeks
||15 - 20mm
||10 - 14days
||25 - 40mm
||3 - 5 weeks
||10 - 12mm
||10 - 14days
||15 - 18mm
||3 - 5 weeks
Mushrooms in your lawn are a sign of healthy soil, just mow over them to remove them.
Soil PH Levels (Acid or Alkaline?)
Soil pH range from 1 to14, 1 is the most acid and 14 is the most alkaline, 7 is neutral. Ideal soil PH for lawns is 5.5 to 7.5. If the soil pH is too low or high the lawns ability to take in nutrients will be reduced, the lawn may start to go yellow with thinner growth and no matter how much fertiliser you apply it will not improve. Velvetene will tolerate soil ph from 4-10; Sir Walter will tolerate soil ph from 4.6 to 8.1; Plateau & Wintergreen will tolerate soil ph from 5.5 to 8. Soil testing kits are available from most hardware stores. If the soil is too acid, below ph 5.5, dust the lawn with agricultural lime and water in well. If the soil is too alkaline, above pH 7.5, use powdered sulphur or sulphate of ammonia dissolved in water, water in well. Small amounts, one month apart works better than one big dose.
Top dressing is only necessary to correct any unevenness in the lawn surface. Late Spring/early Summer is the best time, fill in any holes/valleys with Lawn Mix, so the turf is still visible, through the soil. (Max 10mm thick) Too much topsoil will smother the grass. Use the back of a rake or broom to brush the topsoil into the holes, and leave an even surface.
Watering & Irrigation
All Superior lawns turf is considered drought tolerant, requiring low quantities of water either from irrigation or rain.
A newly established lawn requires more water than an established lawn. For your lawns first summer you may need to water 2 or 3 times per week in the peak of Summer, hand water if necessary.
Once established 2 deep watering per week in summer and once a week in winter are usually sufficient, depending on weather conditions and your soil type.
Over-watering is wasteful and unnecessary. Don't spoil your lawn. Water it deeply and for long periods rather than giving it frequent light sprinkles. This will encourage the roots to go deeper for the water and make it more drought tolerant.
The ideal time to water is early morning, when wind and evaporation are at their lowest. Watering in the evening may promote fungal problems.
Hot, dry & windy conditions will affect the amount and frequency of watering required. Areas near buildings and concrete paths may need extra water as the reflected heat dries the turf more rapidly.
A lawn without enough water will soon go into stress, the leaves start to wilt or turn a silvery blue colour, before “dying off”.
Check your irrigation system regularly to ensure an even coverage. Place straight sided containers randomly on your lawn and turn on the irrigation. If the containers catch water evenly your lawn is receiving an even coverage, if not you may have to add or move sprinklers.
Test the efficiency and depth of your watering by inserting a knife blade or similar into the soil about 12 hours after the reticulation has been on, if blade comes up dry, you may need to increase your watering and/or apply a wetting agent.
A healthy lawn will suppress most weeds. Remove odd weeds regularly with an old knife, cutting off below ground level. Try not to let any weeds seed in your lawn; this adds another several years of weed seeds to your lawn. Most broadleaf weeds can be sprayed with Amgrow Weed Control, suitable for all lawn varieties apply as per directions.
To remove other grass varieties in your lawn either remove with an old knife, cutting of below ground level for non runner varieties or paint on to the leaves a strong glysophate, like Roundup. Be careful not to get any on your lawn.
Wintergrass - A tufty grass that grows in winter.
Try to keep your lawn healthy, as wintergrass usually appears in Spring in bare patches. The best way to remove is by hand weeding or sprays with a chemical Winter Grass Killer, try to get to them before they seed.
In the event that you get clover in your lawn, hand weed it out while it is still small, if you let it spread it becomes very difficult to control.
Apply Bin-die (Chemspray/Amgrow) the best time to spray is in winter.
Perth soils can quite often become water repellent, causing the water not to get to, or stay around the roots of your lawn. If your lawn is not getting enough moisture, the leaves will start to wilt and/or turn a silvery/blue before becoming dry & brittle.
Applying a quality wetting agent like Eco Wet immediately breaks the water repellence of the soil and helps hold in water and fertiliser like a sponge.
Apply to a wet lawn at a rate of 60ml per 9 litre watering can over a 20sqm area. Then water into the lawn well.
Certain areas of your lawn may require wetting agent more often than others, watch for areas of stress.
All Superior Lawns are warm season runner lawns, because the runners allow the lawns to survive in our hot summers. All runner grasses develop a layer of thatch over time. (Thatch is a mixture of dead and decaying root, shoots and leaves). Some thatch is beneficial to the lawn as it aids in water retention and increased tolerance to wear & tear. Excess thatch can damage the lawn by obstructing the air, water and fertilisers the lawn can absorb. To reduce thatch, lawns can be scarified or vertimowed from October to December.
Fertilisers are suitable for most garden applications including fruit, vegetables, shrubs, flowers and lawns. Fertilisers should be applied every 4-6 weeks and at 40-50gms per square meter for best results. Visit Soils Aint Soils for all you fertilising needs.