Wednesday, August 05, 2015

A Few Lawn Myths

Everyone seems to be an expert when it comes to taking care of lawns. You’ve probably got a few ideas yourself about the best way to mow and how much water it needs to keep it looking healthy and luscious. But there are quite a lot of misconceptions about lawn care out there, so here are a few to keep you from making some common mistakes.
Lawn Myth #1. You need to water every day for the best results.
In fact watering, every day is more likely to encourage weed growth and a shallow root system, and a shallow root system means your lawn is susceptible to pests and diseases. To encourage a strong root system that can stand up to drought conditions or water restrictions, water deeply once or twice a week [ maybe three times in very hot conditions].
Lawn Myth #2: If I cut the grass really short I won’t need to mow as much.
Cutting grass too short can cause your lawn a whole host of problems and mowing will be the least of your worries. As well as sending your lawn into physiological shock, lawn scalping can leave it stressed out and prone to weed growth, shallow roots and environmental damage. For best results only remove one-third of the grass blade when mowing.
Lawn Myth #3: Removing grass clippings is best.
Grass clippings are full of nutrients like nitrogen that fertilise your lawn, so removing them may look tidier but is depriving your lawn of essential organic matter. A mulch of short clippings will quickly decompose and will save you money on fertiliser, not to mention time spent on removal and disposal. Consider investing in a mulching mower that does the job for you.
Lawn Myth #4: Always mow grass the same way.
It’s easy to get into the habit of mowing your lawn the same way but always cutting in the same direction can cause turf strain and restrict grass growth. Make a point of changing the direction every time you mow.
Lawn Myth #5: Grass should not be mown when wet.
Mowing wet grass isn’t a good idea because you’ll end up with clumps of grass clippings all over your lawn and the finish won’t be as neat. You’ll also end up with a carpet of wet grass under your mower. You could also slip more easily. But if you have to mow it won’t actually damage your lawn as long as you rake up clumps the to allow sunlight and aeration. Really though - it is best to try and mow on another - dry -  day if you can!
Lawn Myth #6: You can aerate your lawn with spiked shoes.

Putting on spiked shoes and walking around your lawn won’t aerate it, despite what the manufacturers may tell you, as they will only impact a small area. Coring will help with aeration and allows the soil profile to be changed. The very best aeration occurs when a tyne is driven into the ground and moved to break or loosen the soil under the grass layer but not disturb the lawn. Machines that achieve this loosening effect are referred to as “Heaving Type” aerators. This loosens the soil deeper down to encourage the roots to grow deeper. A deeper root system means that moisture is available for longer. This type of aeration also allows bad gas to escape and oxygen to penetrate the soil. A looser soil down deeper allows fertilizer to penetrate deeper so be used when required by the grass. More difficult to do for small areas but small hollow tyned coring aerators can be hired, and are okay. Use coarse sand to fill the core holes.  Using sand as a base is a sensible option  for turf areas - it does not compact easily.
These came from another source - but they are sound advice for  most homeowners.

Very relevant now that the weather is warming up across Australia, a time when thoughts turn to turf!