Monday, 6 March 2017

Lawn Care

Recording my thoughts on lawn care here, and adding to it from time to time.


Grass doesn't like wet feet. So you need good drainage. A base of chitters can therefore be good. With a few inches of loam on top of that.  


Scarify in Autumn.

Use a dedicated scarifier; or just keep mowing it lower and lower.

Vertical Mowing

Vertical mowing encourages lateral growth for a tighter sward. It breaks up patches where there's been high growth spurts. It can help eliminate incidences of scalping while mowing.


Hollow core, and leave the pulled dirt-plugs on the grass.

Using a normal pitch-fork can further compact the soil.

You can get hollow forks which pull out plugs of dirt.

Top-dressing immediately before coring, may have benefits - as well as immediately after, as needed.


Scalp, but leave enough time for the grass to recover before the cold starts at about ANZAC day (Southern Hemisphere).

Top Dressing/Levelling

Top dress with certified washed pit sand, or river sand, weed-free. But some people prefer a courser sand, because it doesn't compact as much and allows better drainage.

Dethatch first.

Fertilise two weeks beforehand, so the grass is empowered in advance to recover.

Growing season is the usual time to do it.


Over-seed with pure, certified grass seed of your chosen variety.


Check the pH levels of the soil - 6.6 is ideal. If it's too acidic, add lime. Too alkaline, mulch.


Water deeply twice a week, rather than lightly more often - it encourages deep root-growth rather than shallow.

Water-retaining granules can be put onto the grass: they can absorb three times their weight in water.

Water in the early morning, when the grass has begun photosynthesising but evaporation is still low. The heat of the ground will help draw the water downwards. It also gives the ground a chance to dry-out before nightfall, and helps avoid moisture-induced fungus growth.

Spear-pump water is higher in iron than town-water. Iron can be good for the grass.

Spear-pump water is also saltier than town-water. Iron and salt increase the electrical conductivity of the soil.

Lightning might add nitrogen to rainwater. Nitrogen can be good for the grass.

Town water tends to be more acidic than rainwater which tends to be more alkaline. So the source of water can affect the pH of the soil.


Spot-treat weed with herbicide, rather than apply it to the whole lawn.

For Nut grass, Sedgehammer, Kenpra (from GTS), Sempra, and Zempra have been recommended.

For Summer grass (weed) a paspalum killer, Kamba, Ronstar, or Dimension have been suggested.

For what I think is called Creeping Indigo (Prostrate Spurge), Dicamba, or Apparent, or Associate, have been suggested - but using Dicamba mightn't be suitable if it's in Sir Walter, only 'couch'.

Crows Foot, and Nut Grass, Sledgehammer has been suggested.


Sometimes use organic, slow-release fertilisers.

Synthetic fertilisers might put more nutrients into the soil than the plant can take-up.

Include a soil wetting agent with fertiliser, to facilitate the uptake of nutrients into the grass.


Sometimes mulch the clippings, other times bag.

Mulching Sir Walter grass might encourage the runners to grow on the surface.

Mulching can increase the acidity of the soil.


Mow the grass in different directions.

Mow in the mid to late afternoon, to avoid heat stress.

Ensure mower blades are sharp, to avoid tearing the grass-leaves and making them susceptible to disease.

Mowing three times weekly, lower the cutting height by half a millimetre each time, until you reach the desired cutting height.


Using a grooming machine, groom in opposing directions each time.

Plant Growth Inhibitor

Plant growth inhibitor might slow down the growth of the height of the grass, and instead put that energy into the quality of the grass-blade, which is what you want.

Examples include Primo Max, Trinex and Nufarm. Available from Living Turf Warehouse Wacol, or GTS.

It can be applied monthly.

It's been recommended wherever reel (cylinder) mowers are used at low height.


Use sprays that don't harm bees, birds and fish.

After spraying, spray again seven days later.

Moths means grubs.

And beetles.


Worms can be good for the grass.

Nitrogen Fixing Plants


Some grass types stripe better than others. Queensland Blue stripes quite well.  

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