You’ve painstakingly painted your walls, pruned your trees, cleaned your Weber and coaxed your pool back to sparkling health. Getting your lawn summer-worthy however, is another story. Lawn care requires constant effort, and a lot of know-how too. If you’re in need of some lawn care advice, read on. We’ve compiled our top seven tips for growing and maintaining a lawn that’ll be the envy of your whole neighbourhood.
Invest in the right lawn mower.
Just like our hair requires regular trims in order to keep it healthy, and boost its growth, so too does your lawn. You’d never cut your hair with a pair of blunt scissors, and as far as lawn care is concerned, the equivalent is a ‘traditional’ lawn mower. These machines actually cause more harm than good; blunt blades end up bruising the individual blades of grass, resulting in ‘split ends’. The solution? Invest in a cylinder mower. Used on cricket pitches, bowling greens and golf courses, cylinder mowers are far more conducive to efficient lawn care. While they’re more expensive than a traditional lawn mower, this investment is worth it in the long run.
Don’t be overzealous when cutting your lawn.
A general rule of thumb for achieving optimal results from mowing, is to never cut off more than one third of the length of your lawn. Shearing a lawn too short results in the root systems becoming exposed. Shallow roots are unable to absorb sufficient amounts of water and nutrients, leaving your lawn susceptible to drought, as well at the mercy of weeds.
Optimal lawn care relies on caring for your tools.
If you’ve invested a substantial amount of time and money in getting your lawn ready for summer, it makes sense to ensure that your lawn mower is cared for too. Get your mower regularly serviced in order to avoid the blades becoming blunt and damaging your lawn, as well as to extend the life of the machine.
Tackle brown patches with a wet towel.
Unsightly brown marks are the result of caterpillars feeding on your lawn’s roots. An easy solution to this problem is to soak a towel in water and then leave it on the affected patches overnight. This encourages caterpillars or other pests that are feasting on the root system to surface. Once they’ve made an appearance, you’ll be able to exterminate them.
Remember to apply lawn dressing in spring. The type and amount of fertiliser required is dependent on the condition of your soil, as well as the type of grass you’re growing. There are two types of grass that are predominately used in South Africa. Buffalo grass is a hardy cultivar that requires less maintenance than other lawns, but grows more slowly than other variants. Kikuyu grass is popular for its soft blades, as well as its self-reviving properties. However, it requires more watering than other cultivars, and tends to die off in shady corners of a garden. It’s therefore advisable to consult a lawn care professional who’ll be able to test your soil and establish the needs of your lawn.
Tackle weeds and pests with the help of professionals.
Unfortunately, a lush, verdant lawn is at the mercy of weeds and pests. The most common pests found in lawns across South Africa are White Grub, Mole Crickets and Lawn Caterpillar – all of which can wreak havoc on a lawn in a short space of time. If you’re unsure what pests are plaguing your grass – water an area with a bucket of water and dishwashing liquid. This will draw pests to the surface, enabling you to identify the culprits. Once you’ve established what type of pest you’re dealing with, consult an expert in lawn care. They’ll be able to advise as to the best way to treat the problem, as well as how best to avoid re-infestations.
Use lawn cuttings as food for your garden.
Lawn clippings make excellent mulch for roses, as well as a great base for compost. Re-using cuttings is an economical and natural way of feeding your garden – so make sure you collect the cuttings and add them to a compost heap. Supplement it with organic waste from your kitchen – vegetables peelings, eggshells and coffee grinds make for a home-made compost that’s rich in nutrients and easy on your wallet, too.
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