Recommended seasons to top dress lawns are Autumn and spring as lawns are in vigorous growth during these periods, assisting new growth to push through the layer of topping dressing. Top dressing of lawns in summer and winter is not recommended for the following reasons.
if you top dress a lawn in summer it is necessary to keep the top dressing medium (sand or soil) constantly moist due to our high summer temperatures and lengthy periods of sunlight. Failure to keep the top dressing material moist will result in the sun heating the medium to such an sxtent that it will seriously damage the lawn. We all know how hot the sand is on a hot summers day. Just imagine what it would do to your lawn.
Most lawn grass goes through a dormant stage in winter, it either stops growing or grows very slowly. You have probably noticed how many more weeds appear in your lawn during winter. This is because while the lawn is dormant the weeds are thriving as there is no competition for nutrients in the soil. Top dressing the lawn in winter would encourage weed growth whilst further retarding lawn growth.
Handy hints when fertilising a lawn
- Fertilise at least twice a year, once at the beginning of spring and at the beginning of Autumn.
- Fertilise more often if a lush green effect is required, but it means more mowing.
- Apply fertiliser with a spreader rather than by hand to obtain a more uniform application.
- Avoid fertilisers that contain a weed killer additive as they often have a high salt content which will damage soil microbial activity, thus affecting the soils structure and chemical balance.
One of the most commonly asked questions in relations to soil mixes is PH Levels.
What is the the PH?
- The letters PH stand for Potential of Hydrogen.
- Soil acidity and alkalinity are measured against the PH scale which runs from 1 - 14.
- Most garden soils are within the the range from 4-9. the neutral point of the scale is 7.
- Readings below 7 denote acid soil, while readings above 7 denote alkaline soil.
- The majority of plants in WA thrive in a slightly acid soil PH reading between 6-7.
- All of our soil mixes are blended to suit specific plants groups.
Purchasing the correct soil type will ensure a good healthy garden. It is not so much the current PH of the soil, but many other contributing factors that will decide what the PH of a soil will be once placed in the garden.
A short summary of these are:
- Water. As a general guide, the PH level of the water that will be applied to the soil, will eventually cause the soil to adopt the same PH level. Ie if the water is more acid or alkaline the soil it is drenching, the PH of the soil will change accordingly.
- Fertiliser and garden insecticides. Not many people realise that every time they apply a chemical fertiliser to their garden or spray a week killer or a insect spray or even snail pallets to their gardens, that they are also creating a chemical reaction in the soil itself that will also alter the PH of the soil.
- Organic fertilisers and organic matter. The addition of organic fertilisers or organic matter will also affect the PH of the soil eg Chicken manure is highly alkaline, Peat is strongly acid. Organic matter is a collective name for any material of organic origin that can be incorporated into the soil, which is then broken down by natural processes in the soil itself. E.g by plants as they grow and by strong sunlight. The addition of organic fertiliser of organic matter to the soil is beneficial at any time as it is always breaking down and constantly requires replenishing to maintain a good healthy and active soil. However, incorrect applications can cause severe problems in your soil For example, the application of chicken manure to a soil that was alkaline would compound the soil alkalinity to a point where over time the nutrients in the soil would not be available to the plants.
Based on this information the average home gardener does not need to be concerned like a nursery with the fine tuning of the soil. Simply, the home gardener needs to purchase a quality blended soil or conditioner with the correct nutrition and PH requirements for the type of garden being established.
Soils Aint Soils take every care in the production of our Soils and Mulches but we do not and cannot guarantee that they are weed free as they are produced and stored in the outside environments.
Best waterwise plants for Western Australia
- Adenanthos Sericeus (Albany Wooly Bush)
- Aloe polyphylla (Aloe)
- Banksia Ashbyi (Ashbys banksia)
- Callistemon qlaucus (Albany Bottlebrush)
- Salvia Greggii (Autumn sage)
- Yucca Filamentosa (Adams Needle)
- Evergreen Frangipani
- Silver Tea tree
- English lavender
- Red and green Kangaroo paws
- Red swamp banksia
- Gum wattle