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Put some ‘spring’ into your lawn
Beautiful, healthy lawn doesn’t happen by itself. Give yours the post-winter, kick-start it needs with a good spring treatment...
When you live in a comfortable, temperate climate, such as the one we enjoy in South Africa, there’s this expectation that our lawns should be green year-round. This is not the case. Dormancy is important. When something becomes dormant, it’s usually because it’s preparing itself for new growth; it’s shielding itself for a new season. Dormancy is good for lawn – it’s natural for it to go brown during the winter months. Don’t overwater it in the hope that it will turn green – that won’t help it at all. In fact, it will encourage disease and waste water.
What will help awaken lawn from its winter slumber is a spring treatment, which essentially is the preparation of the new growth of turf from a dormant stage into the growing season.
Whether the turf you care for exists in a small residential garden or large commercial space, the steps to follow for a good spring treatment are essentially the same. Here’s a quick guide:
1 Do a lawn audit
Check the state of the grass. How does it look? Is it still full and packed, or does it look worn out, have patches, look diseased or even deceased in places? This will all help determine the kind of treatment it needs.
2 Cut it down
Lawn should be cut right down to remove any dead foliage, commonly known as thatch build-up.
3 Give it a good raking
Raking helps remove winter leftovers, such as fallen leaves and other debris. Raking also helps to loosen matted patches of grass and lifts dead grass completely, which could otherwise choke new growth. Just take care to use a flexible rake, as opposed to a rake with stiff tines that can damage healthy grass.
4 Eliminate pests, weeds and disease
Treat any lawn disease and deal with pests, such as ants, and weeds proactively. There are many effective products on the market and a good nursery or landscaping expert can help advise you. If you prefer more organic treatments, simple household products such as vinegar, cayenne pepper and bicarbonate of soda mixed with salt, for example, can act as a deterrent to common pests and microorganisms that eat away at your lawn.
5 Aerate it
Lawn that is especially worn out and patchy will benefit from the creation of air pockets (known as aeration) so that whatever treatment you put on top of your lawn can access or seep down into the soil. Aeration helps promote circulation and water penetration for better nutrient absorption and root growth. It should be done with a spike roller or a garden fork in a smaller garden.
6 Dress the lawn
By lawn dressing, we mean a mix of compost, bark and even fertilizer to some degree, spread out on top of your lawn, to help give it a boost. A top dressing can improve a soil’s biology by adding organic matter and the beneficial microorganisms found in compost. The best way to manage lawn nutrition is to supply the turf with adequate levels of all the nutrients it might need – which is why it’s so important to get your lawn dressing from a trusted supplier.
Remember that whatever you put on top, will find its way down to the roots and determine the lawn’s overall health going forward.
7 Just add water
After dressing your lawn, you need to water it. This cannot be stressed enough.
Lawn prep for spring requires access to water, otherwise the lawn dressing will burn the grass, rather than seep down into it as it should.
Apply a good quality lawn fertilizer to ensure optimum growth and prolonged lawn health.
9 Mow smart
There’s nothing like the smell of freshly-mown lawn. Even some candle scents are dedicated to it. Just don’t cut your grass too short / too low, as this can stunt root growth and also promote weeds. Taller, fuller grass has a better root system and will better hold on to moisture in the soil.
A good spring treatment will help your lawn respond to spring’s wake-up call in the best way possible. Now is a good time of year to do it; when it’s warming up. Don’t wait until it gets too hot.
Should you need help or more advice about how to prepare your turf for a season of healthy growth, feel free to contact us.