With spring fast approaching, it’s time to get the barbeque clean and the backyard tidied up before you start inviting your mates over to show off your lawn. If your turf has made it through winter unscathed then consider yourself lucky, because with the extremes we’ve come to expect over winter many of us find at least couple of patches that need some TLC before summer is in full swing. Spring is the time of year when your lawn is most receptive and ready to grow, so bear these tips in mind when you’re inspecting yours.
Check for weeds and bugs
While weeds are easy enough to pull, if you have quite a few or you feel you might miss getting the entire root, use a treatment of ammonia sulphate when the weather is fine for a few days. The treatment will burn out any weeds, and if there are any patches of lawn looking a little brown they’ll usually bounce back the next time it rains.
Land, lawns and gardens - get the essentials on maintaining a great lifestyle block. Download your free guide now.
Spring is also the best time to check for anything lurking under your turf and doing so is easy. Use your spade to cut a square the length of its blade and lift around 50-60mm of grass and soil – just enough to check the grass, roots and a little of the soil underneath and look out for bugs such as beetles and the greasy-looking porina caterpillar.
More likely to be found in patches closer to windows and outside lights, if you find more than five of them crawling through your soil it’s worth considering a lawn treatment, which can be as simple as spraying your lawn with a solution of water and tea tree oil after mowing. The oil prevents the caterpillars from feeding so they won’t be able to eat any more of your grass.
Re-sow where necessary
Having checked for bugs and treated your lawn for any weeds, the next thing to look out for are any patches that either didn’t make it through the winter or are looking worse for wear after weed treatment.
When it comes to re-sowing lawn seed be sure to get the same grass as the rest of your lawn and throw seed at night when birds will be sleeping. To keep them from eating all your seed before it can germinate you can cover patches with netting, but if you’re doing the full lawn consider buying a few loaves of cheap bread to toss over the other side of your property, distracting them in the meantime.
Drain any pools
Because of the hot summers and sometimes cold winters we experience in New Zealand, finding a bird bath or two on the lawn after winter isn’t uncommon for most of us. Most of the time a few stabs with a garden fork will provide enough drainage, but if your soil is particularly tough or contains more clay than most then spreading gypsum will help break it up. If your bird bath looks more like a bird swimming pool, you may need to trench a PVC pipe for drainage, or consider digging a small well you can fill with scoria to soak up any excess moisture.
Service your mower
Before you start mowing, especially after sowing new seed, make sure your blades are clean and sharp. Mowing your lawn with dirty blades could reintroduce weed seeds and mowing them with short blades will damage your lawn. It’s a little like getting a haircut, you wouldn’t expect your barber to use blunt scissors, right? The key to maintaining your lawn once it’s lush is to mow it correctly and keep it watered, and different grasses have different recommended cut heights so be sure to check which is right for yours.
For quality service and repairs, look no further than OMC. All five of our fulltime mechanics are able to get any lawn equipment in top condition for you to get your lawn looking perfect this spring. To book any of your lawn tools, simply fill our online form here.