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Lawn Establishment and Care Guide
Position and use of your lawn:
There are several factors to take into account when you are considering sowing a new lawn, these start with site selection and what you are using it for.
- Grass and fescues require sun light for maximum performance, areas with prolonged periods of shade may be better off with some other form of ground cover.
- What is the area to be used for? Is it going to have a lot of wear and tear from children or pets? Will it be a low wear and tear area used accentuate your garden area?
- Will irrigation be available and what is your soil type is it sandy, loam type or clay based, will I need to buy in soil?
Selecting the right Lawn Seed
Specialty Grains and Seeds have a range of lawn seed mixes selected to take out the guess work for you. However if, like many of our professional contractors / landscapers you have a specific requirement please contact us and we can custom blend to your requirements. Specialty Grains & Seeds can source any commercially available lawn seed cultivar.
Steps for Lawn Preparation & Sowing:
- All seed should be sown on a well prepared seed bed free from perennial weeds i.e. couch. We advice a spray with a Roundup type product 5-7 days before you start your seed bed preparation.
- When preparing your seedbed ensure when finished you have a firm and fine seed bed that is level. We suggest you incorporate a starter fertiliser while giving it the final working.
- Sow you seed at between 25 - 30 grams per sq metre. We recommend that you split the total seed requirement into two half's (12-15 grams per sq metre). Apply the first half followed by the second half going on right angles to the first, this will ensure better coverage. You may have to use a thin layer of top soil at this stage.
- Watering should start straight after sowing we recommend two light watering every day until the seed is visible one morning and one evening is best. Once struck reduce watering to one per day (evening). While watering ensure you avoid over watering and ponding.
- Weeds will generally require a chemical application to control them. There is a wide range of chemicals for this job. Ensure the chemical is suitable for young establishing lawns. Care must be taken when disposing of the treating lawn clippings. They are not suitable for use as compost.
- Fertiliser is important to maintain the growth and colour of your new lawn. We recommend that you use a "little but often" approach to this job. We can recommend a wide range of lawn specific fertilisers for you to use.
For a download of this Lawn Preparation and Sowing Guide article please click here.
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Problems in your Lawn
There are several potential pests that can attack you lawn either at establishment or when fully established. The worst of these is Grass Grub and Porina:
- Grass Grub: Attacks the lawn by eating the root system of the grass and must be controlled very soon after you discover the problem or else major damage will be suffered. Damage becomes noticeable normally in the mid - late autumn / winter however grass grubs can be present up to the mid spring period. If they are present you will notice brown patches appearing over the lawn and you can very easily lift the thatch up often you will see the small white grass grubs. Grass grubs can be controlled with several readily available products, please ensure you read the label carefully as these products are only successful and safe when applied in accordance with them. They include Diazinon prills & Diazinon Liquid.
- Porina: Lesser of the two evils as Porina will only attack the top growth of your lawn, however if not controlled will cause significant damage. Porina area most active from mid summer / late autumn. Porina live in tunnels under the ground with fine casts at the surface held together by silken threads. Once again there is a range of very suitable chemicals as mentioned for grass grub and Dimilin 25 W.
The new cultivars of turf grasses are selected very heavily on disease resistance however from time to time these may become and issue. The three main diseases to be aware of are:
- Damping off: This disease attacks establishing lawns and is therefore a problem during the autumn, often cool wet weather conditions help its spread. Attacks all lawn seed types and rapid seedling death can occur. Using to much seed and water will increase your problems. Controlled with fungicides that include Thiram.
- Dollar spot: Very common during the spring / summer / autumn. Small, round dead patches generally no more than 50 cm in size (however patches will sometimes combine to form larger patches) appear over the whole lawn. A combination of humid weather and heavy dews help the occurrence of this disease. Controlled with fungicides that include Bravo and Green guard.
- Brown Patch: Over feeding, allowing the thatch build up and poor drainage can make the grass have a purplish - green look to it in irregular patches up to 0.5 cm in diametre. Usually clearly visible on closely mown lawns. More common during Summer and Spring as Brown patch is more of a problem during humid conditions. Controlled with fungicides that include Bravo and Green guard.
For a download of this Lawn Problems article please click here.
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