Lawn Care: Laying Turf & Lawn Maintenance
The best lawns in your street weren’t always like that; it took a great deal of effort and lawn care as opposed to simply laying grass to ensure they’re looking so healthy.
With a new lawn there are several steps towards ensuring the lawn grows to its potential, these steps include laying turf, lawn maintenance, watering grass and fertilising lawn.
These lawn care steps will help ensure your lawn is the envy of your street.
New Lawn Care
Planting Grass Seed
If you decide to seed, make sure you spread the seeds evenly over the soil at the seeding rate specified on the packet. If you underseed the growth layer will be too thin to protect against weed attack and if you overseed the young grasses will have to compete too hard for nutrients. Try not to seed when it's windy and mix a little sand with the seeds so you know where you've seeded.
For those who want an instant solution and chose turf, make sure you have it delivered as close as possible to the area where it will be laid. Keep rolls moist with occasional watering and start laying turf right away, starting at the furthermost point and working your way in. This way, you'll be getting closer to the turf stack as the day goes on.
Choosing the right turf/sod is vitally important for your lawn, you need to ensure that the it is the right type of laying grass to grow properly in your environment, see our Grass Selection article for more info on this.
Laying turf/sod involves several steps:
- Test your soils PH
- Measure out the turf area
- Turn soil & dig in organic matter
- Unroll and lay turf
- Place smaller cuts in gaps between rolls
A runner is a shoot, which grows from the base of a plant along the surface of the ground and can take root at points along its length, runners are useful for extending the reach of lawn as opposed to seeds after laying grass.
Remove all weeds, add organic matter as compost and hoe through the soil to a depth of around 15cm to get your lawn area ready for grass runners. Plant your runners about 5cm apart, eased just below ground level. Couch and Kikuyu stolons are the most popular runners.
Regular Lawn Maintenance
Whether you've seeded, laid turf or put in runners, one critical factor applies to all three methods. And that is the fact that you must water your new lawn regularly to keep the soil from dying out. During the first two weeks, it is recommended to water twice a day for an hour at a time. In particularly warm and windy weather, watering three times a day may be required. However, this is obviously dependent on local water restrictions and regulations.
Newly established lawn has different requirements from a mature lawn. Choose 'lawn starter' fertilizers from your hardware store, nursery or garden centre. These grass fertilisers have more nitrogen and phosphorous than general purpose lawn foods, and your new lawn will thank you for it! Always check the packaging for the correct dosage and application cycle.
Fertilising lawn is a good idea during most time of the year besides winter, with various different purposes of each time of year.
When fertilising lawn, it’s important to note that there’s a difference between new lawns and mature lawns when it comes to lawn maintenance.
New lawns should use specially formulated fertiliser for new lawns to ensure strong growth and lawn establishment while weed killers should also be avoided, this is because these can inhibit seed germination which in some cases slows new lawn growth.
Established lawns fertilising depends on seasons and conditions as mentioned
Don't Mow Low
It's really important to give your new lawn time to establish itself before you mow it for the first time. Let the grass grow to a height of 5-6cm before the first mowing and then for the first cut, set your mower's cutting height so that it reduces the height of your new grass to 3-4cm. Subsequent mowings should also be light and frequent and you should never remove more than 40% of the grass' leaf at any one mowing.
Mowing the lawn in winter is less frequent due to slowed growth in the colder months and mower heights should be raised above 2.5cm to avoid scalping your lawn, which may allow diseases and weeds to take hold.
In warmer months you can mow lower and more often as grass grows fastest this time of year, read our Summer Survival Guide HERE
Enjoy Your Lawn!
Check out Lawn Care Tips for details on how to care for your lawn. If you're in the market for a lawn mower or other lawn & garden power equipment, be sure to check out Victa's product lineup to get all of these lawn maintenance jobs done quick and done well.