There’s no such thing as a maintenance free lawn; even the synthetic version require ongoing care, but our tips will help you to achieve the perfect lawn and as a bonus, reduce the time you spend on it.
- Mow frequently and with sharp lawnmower blades. Cutting the grass often will force the lawn to grow thick and will reduce the space for weeds to invade. Sharp blades will cause less tearing and damage to the grass plants, reducing their vulnerability to disease.
- Don’t mow too short. Not only will this make the lawn require more water and more herbicides, but you will increase the risk of damage and will then need to embark on an intensive care programme. Never remove more than 1/3 of the blade or you will risk scalping the plants and that can take two or three mowing cycles at least for the turf to recover. Mowing at a higher height will force the roots to grow deeper and the deeper the roots the more resistance the plants are to disease and the less water it will need.
- Don’t mow when the lawn is wet or it will compact the soil and the roots won’t be able to breathe and the grass will die.
- As long as you are mowing frequently, your lawn clippings will be short and few so you can leave them where they fall and they will work their way back into the soil and act as a fertiliser without becoming brown and causing problems.
- Water your lawn infrequently but deeply. A daily watering regime only encourages a shallow root system, wastes water and wastes your time.
- Don’t water your lawn at night. Water when there is time for the grass to dry out before any dew falls. As prolonged moisture encourages disease the optimum time to water is pre-dawn or early morning if you’re not an early riser.
- Don’t over-fertilise as it will just promote faster growth, thatch and more mowing. Test your soil every few years to determine your lawn’s particular needs. Don’t conduct a pH soil test straight after applying fertiliser. Sandy soils can be tested every 2-3 years, and clay based soil every 3-4 years.
- Don’t mix your fertilisers. Whatever type of fertiliser you choose to use; stick with only one. Mixing synthetic and natural fertilisers can provide poor results.
- Stay on top for the weeds. Growing a thick lawn is the best weed deterrent but if you do notice a few pull them out as soon as possible so they don’t have a chance to take over.
- Select the right type of herbicide. There are two types of herbicides to choose from:
- Pre-emergents – prevents weed’s seeds from germinating and typically applied yearly
- Post-emergents – used when weeds are visible. Some ‘weed n’ feed’ products combine a fertiliser and a synthetic post-emergent herbicide and might seem like an efficient way to take care of two jobs at once but you end up spreading herbicide over the entire lawn rather than just where a problem exists so caution is advised. And if you’re applying it as a fertiliser product, thinking it gives an added bonus then you are just indulging in a bit of overkill and it’s just more product that your lawn has to process.
More tips on achieving the perfect lawn and saving you some time and effort in the backyard can be found on our website here