Lawn renovation is best done in early Autumn in Melbourne gardens. Take the time to assess your lawn and plan for some renovation and repair work. Start by walking over your lawn and checking for any bald patches, or high spots or dips.
Lawn Irrigation Systems
Turn on your irrigation system and check if all parts of the lawn are getting adequate water. If you cannot push the tines of a fork into the bald patches, then the soil might be compressed or the irrigation is not reaching that spot. Also check for weeds and other pests and diseases whilst you are there.
What is the best treatment for grass?
Step 1 – Lawn Weed removal
The first step in a successful lawn renovation is to remove the weeds. If the weather is sunny, you could use a selective spray, but do not be afraid of digging the weeds out by hand.
Step 2 – Aeration of the Lawn
To make this job easier, give the grass a really good soaking or do it just after a good rain. Using a granulated or spray on soil wetter will help too. The slugs of soil should come up the aerator tines and drop out onto your lawn.
If you have a smaller area of lawn, then Bunnings have a hand held aerator that is reasonably priced. You can get a cyclone aerator at around $55 – $60. This is money well spent.
The holes made by the aerator, will allow oxygen, water and nutrients to quickly get to the roots. This is especially important if you have some high traffic areas that may have had some compression and wear.
Step 3 – Over sow grass seeds.
If you have hybrid roll out grass then you will not find grass seeds of the exact same type of grass. Your local plant nursery will be able to suggest something that looks similar. Sowing Lawn seeds in early Autumn, means that the new lawn grasses have all winter and spring to get established before the next hot summer.
Step 4 – Top dress the lawn.
Top dress with either a high quality sandy loam with a little organic matter, or a course sand. The course sand works well in high traffic areas, but a topsoil high in organic matter is better at holding moisture. For real problem areas, try top dressing with a cheap fine textured potting mix. When topdressing, take care to fill any low points and bring the level up evenly to any paths or edges. Protruding pavers can make a real mess of your mower blades if the lawn is lower than your pavers. Depending on the type of topsoil you have you may want to top dress with some gypsum to break up the clay. The gypsum will penetrate deep into the lawn through the aeration holes.
Topdressing with cheap potting mix
For small bald patches in your lawn, a cheap fine potting mix can be a good alternative to sandy loam. The whole nature strip below has been repaired this way, and the rapid growth in the grass is amazing. The potting mix helps to keep the grass seeds moist for germination and can give some protection from birds.
Step 5 – Apply Soil Wetter and Liquid Fertiliser to your lawn.
Give your grass a liquid fertiliser like Neutrog Seamungus as well as some more soil wetter. The liquid fertiliser will encourage plant and root growth. The soil wetter is required as often the top dress soils are hydrophobic, resulting in the water just running off the soil. If you repeat this last step for 3 or 4 weeks the results will be amazing.
The Lawn Topsoil Conundrum.
For hard wearing lawn the topsoil needs to be a sandy loam. This type of soil should also be used when topdressing the high traffic areas of your lawn. This will also mean that the area will require regular watering or an irrigation system to stay green as the soil moisture content will be lower in these areas. One solution to this problem is to use a product like Neutrog Seamungus after aerating to help the soil retain moisture. We have had some success using this product on some of our commercial landscaping lawns.
When restoring commercial landscaping grassed areas many of the same principles apply as they would to a very large residential area.
The use of mechanical spreaders and mechanical aerators is required to do economical restoration to a large area. Many lawns in public spaces need to be very hard wearing, so sandy loam topsoils and irrigation systems using harvested rainwater are often used. Often there is a trade-off between green attractive grass and sustainability with areas browning off a little over summer. Couch grass will often brown in the colder months, but this is not a major concern either.
Many commercial landscapes will use a hard wearing kikuyu in either an instant roll out or using hydroseeding or hydromulching.
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