Are you looking to step up your curb appeal?
Get a gorgeous, lush green grass lawn you can be proud of with these 5 tricks from our lawn-care experts!
1.Test Your Soil
There are a few easy tests and checks you can do to understand how to effectively improve the health of your lawn.
Tests to use:
- Soil pH – this means Potential Hydrogen, and is measured on a pH scale of 1-14. pH. This is important in soils as it determines nutrient availability to plants. A soil may contain the right nutrient and yet a plant may be still be deficient in that nutrient if the pH is not right. Lawn usually prefers a slightly acidic pH of around 6.5. You can buy pH test kit in most warehouse stores.
- Soil texture – this refers to the composition of the soil in sand, silt and clay – very important for us gardeners in Perth! Knowing your soil texture will allow you to have better management of your soil. For example, it is not recommended to drive or walk on a clay soil as this tends to compact it. Most Perth soils are sandy soils; of course, there are a few exceptions but it would be too long to go in depth about them in this article.
- Soil Compaction – Compaction is the reduction in pore space resulting from particles being squashed together thus reducing air space. This results in reduction of available water, air movement, root activity and nutrient availability, so if your soil is too compacted your lawn will not thrive. If your soil is hard to dig or if you find that the water is taking a long time to penetrate the soil, you may want to look at ways to de-compact your soil. like the use of a coring machine.
- Water repellence or hydrophobia – have you ever noticed how sometimes the water seems to hate your soil and seems to “ball-up”? This is mostly found in sandy soil and is due to native plants breaking down and coating the sand. Use of quality wetting agents applied at label rate on a regular basis can help to fight this common problem in Perth’s sandy soils. (Dishwashing liquid is NOT a quality wetting agent sorry folks)
- Laboratory soil testing – there are places where you can send your soil samples to be tested in order to know exactly what is missing in your soil, but this might be an excessive test cost-wise for most home owners.
By testing your soil with the methods above, you should gain a good understanding of your soil and how best to improve it to maintain a healthy and gorgeously green lawn.
2. Fertilise for Lush Green Grass
Give your lawn a great head start by laying down the right fertiliser.
Choosing the right fertiliser for your lawn is essential, and should be made easier once you have tested the pH of your lawn. Take your test results to a garden center to get their advice on which fertiliser to use.
Regular fertiliser provides a fast release of nutrients. This gives nearly instant results. However, a high percentage of the nutrients applied can runoff, especially if it rains, potentially spoiling water sources nearby and depriving your lawn of the nutrients it could have had.
Alternatively, slow-release organic fertiliser provides great results over time. With slow-release fertiliser, your soil will get the majority of the nutrients provided.
There are pros and cons (and many brands!) for both options, so do the work to find the right fertiliser for your lawn.
As a general rule on Perth’s sandy soils, it is better to fertilise more often but at lower rates. This being said, you want to make sure that most of the fertiliser applied will be used by your plants otherwise it will be wasted, which may lead to leaching and pollution of our water tables. If unsure, contact a professional.
3. Irrigation System
Irrigation systems, or reticulation services, are wonderful for maintaining lush green grass. Your lawn, like any other plant, relies on water to thrive; a professional will be able to test your current reticulation system and adapt or set it up to provide efficient watering. If you don’t have an irrigation system we strongly recommend to install one – especially if you ever plan on heading off on holiday and want to return to a happy lawn!
Reticulation services include automatic watering, lawn irrigation, sprinkler systems, reticulation repairs and complex reticulation systems. This ensures that you are using irrigation that saves water but still maintains healthy green grass.
4. The Right Cut
Blade length is important to the long-term health of your lawn. The ideal mowing height will vary depending on your type of lawn; i.e. Buffalo lawns will be cut to about 35mm, where a Couch lawn can be mowed to 15-20mm (higher in shady area).
While this is true for most of the growing season, we recommend to cut it a little higher leading to winter.
The longer blade length allows the grass to photosynthesise (food production) effectively and survive drought. Maintaining this blade length is most useful in our hot Perth summers when droughts and water restrictions are common.
Mowing should always be done with a well maintained mower – the mowing blade must be sharp as it gives a much cleaner cut and reduces the stress on the lawn.
5. Weed Control
Keeping weeds out of your lawn will help that vibrant, green grass shine.
Depending on how in or out-of-control your weed problem, you can get rid of weeds through manual removal, herbicides, or a complete restructuring of your lawn.
To remove weeds manually you can use a manual scarifier or root weeder.
Manual scarifiers are ideal for weeds like white clovers and chickweed. Weeds like dandelions can be removed with a root weeder. Make sure you are getting these kinds of weeds from the root to prevent their return.
Use herbicides when there are too many weeds to pull but more than enough grass to salvage. Remember to use caution when using herbicides as they are nasty chemicals, harmful to you and the environment.
If your yard is overcome with weeds you will need a comprehensive solution. Start from scratch: restructure all the soil and cover it with rolled turf.
Take care of your lawn year-round – it is an asset to your home and your lifestyle!
For more information about lawn care and reticulation, ask Perth Reticulation any questions – we are happy to help!