Lawn problems

Page last updated: Thursday, 12 April 2018 - 1:20pm

General lawn care

Extensive preparation should be undertaken before planting lawn runners or turf to ensure the lawn is able to withstand drought, weeds and pests.

On a new site, once the ground has been cleared and levelled, spray herbicide to kill existing and opportunistic weeds. A repeat treatment may be necessary a few weeks later, to kill any seeds that have germinated in the interim.

An organic soil improver or compost, which will help retain moisture, should be dug into the soil and augmented with a lawn starter food. Sandy soils should be improved with an application of bentonite or kaolin clay, available from garden centres. Apply at a rate of 0.5 to 2kg per square metre after sprinkling onto dry soil and digging in to a depth of 30cm. This will help the soil retain water and nutrients.

If the area is heavily compacted cultivate with a corer or rotary hoe to improve drainage and reduce compaction.

When new lawn is needed to replace an old one, the steps are the same except that any remnant runners or stolons belonging to the previous lawn should also be removed, otherwise they will sprout afresh and contaminate the new turf.

A wetting agent should be applied twice a year to break down water repellence which creates dry spots in the lawn. This is caused by a waxy coating on soil grains. The wetting agent breaks down the wax and allows water to be distributed through the soil more easily.

To maintain the vigour of an established lawn, water it regularly within mandatory watering restrictions, and feed using a specialised lawn fertiliser. Additional watering with a hand held hose may be necessary in very hot weather.