Lawn Care: Your Complete Guide

Your complete guide to lawn care is here!

Do you dream of having golf course quality lawn? Let Catscapes landscapes give you the lawn of your dreams. It’s easier than you think by following a few simple universal guidelines. Here is your complete guide to lawn care!

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Your Complete Guide to Lawn Care

Grass selection

Depending on your needs and the specific conditions different types are suitable for different requirements. The most popular choice is Kikuyu. It is a fast growing tightly knit grass ideal for most family needs and an important first step in effective lawn care. An indigenous choice is Cynodon which has a finer leaf. It is robust and is drought tolerant however keeping weeds out of it in the warmer areas is problematic. These two grasses require full sun or at least morning sun. Two other popular choices are All Seasons (Rye fescue mix) and LM grass.

Preparing the area

All existing plant material should be sprayed with a broad spectrum herbicide and then removed. The ground should be loosened, raked and levelled.

Planting

There are basically normally three ways of planting. Sodding is the most effective method but is normally the most expensive. Sprigging can also be effective when Kikuyu is used but takes considerably longer. Seeding is the least effective for Kikuyu but most efficient for Rye Fescue. The size of the area should also be considered when making this choice in getting your lawn care started.

A useful tip. Always make sure that the media is moist before planting sods as this will prevent burning of the roots.

Fertilizing

It is important to choose the correct fertilizer in order to make the application most cost-effective.

By looking at the numbers on the fertilizer bags one can determine which one to use.

The first number indicates the amount of nitrogen present in the fertilizer. The second number indicates the amount of phosphorus in the fertilizer. The third number indicates the amount of potassium in the fertilizer.

Nitrogen, or the first number, is needed for leaf growth and to make the grass green. This should be applied in spring. The more that is applied the lusher the grass. This should not be applied in autumn or winter, as with a Black Frost will kill the grass.

Phosphorus or the second number is needed for roots and general health. There is enough phosphorus generally in the soil that it does not need to be applied in large amounts. This can be applied throughout the year.

Potassium is the third number and is needed for root growth. It should be applied just before winter so that the plant can build up a reserve and be ready for spring.

It is imperative that when applying granular fertilizers that the lawn it’s dry and that sufficient water is applied straight after the fertilizer application otherwise severe burning may result.

An application of a fertilizer high in phosphorus may be applied before the initial laying of the grass to ensure that it’s in the correct zone of the media.

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Irrigation

This is mainly dependent on the type of grass chosen and the media that it is grown in. Watering through winter should take place early in the morning to prevent ice build-up. In summer watering should take place late at night to make the process most effective. The water should never be allowed to stand for more than 12 hours as this will cause fungus and disease, two things you want to avoid for complete lawn care.

Cutting

They are two main types of machines used for cutting. The reel mower gives the finest cut and will reduce lines if you want them. It is also the most expensive machine to maintain and quite difficult to set properly. The second kind is the rotary mower. This is far more popular and easier to set and maintain.

Cutting should take place at least once a week. Should your mower have boxes these can be useful tool in preventing thatch build up but also if removed on occasion can be used by letting the thatch build up slightly so that the lawn can level out.

The size of the area will determine whether to go petrol or electric. Electric mowers are far more practical and cost effective for small areas.

Secondary cultural practices

Aeration

There are a number of exciting new machines available for this function for the home owner. Hollow tyning is useful in alleviating compaction and letting gasses escape from the soil. It also makes fertilising and watering more effective. Spiking can produce a similar result but doesn’t remove the cores from the soil.

Scarification

This is basically mowing vertically rather than the usual horizontal process. This is the process whereby large quantities of dead grass are removed. This is essential for good turf and should be done using a specialised machine. The removed thatch can be used for compost. The benefits include a more level area; exchange of gases; more effective irrigation and fertilisation and denser grass as it acts in the same way as pruning a rose would affect the plant

Pest control

Management of the watering will go long way in preventing any outbreaks. Too much water allowed to sit for any lengths of time will be the perfect breeding grounds for fungus, too little water and the ants will start. Kikuyu normally requires the least amount of care when it comes to pests and the rye fescue mixes normally require the most management.

Top dressing

The most important thing to remember when doing this is to use weed free material otherwise you are creating an extra noose for your neck. Don’t compromise in your lawn care! Compost is usually preferred as this will generally contain fewer weeds than top dressing as it is not normally mixed with soil. It is essential to use a proper supplier. Chicken litter is not recommended in large amounts as heavy metals build up over time. Horse manure is not recommended as the seed of the grass that the horse was eating are not always decomposed and will come up.

Weed control

Most selective herbicides will care of most weeds. The weeds most difficult to eradicate are the grass like ones and a weed called Oxalis (sorrel). Always add an adjuvant to the herbicide to let it stick properly to the target weed especially if they have a waxy coating. Water grass or Poa is also difficult to control as it seeds prolifically and is grass like so the normal selective herbicides are ineffective against it. Catscapes landscapes have the ideal solution to all your pest and weed control requirements.

As with most things in life the more you put into your lawn the more you will get out. Let Catscapes landscapes tailor make a programme which is best for you.

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Common questions in lawn care

1. How often should I water?

In summer every second day should be sufficient. This is obviously dependent on what restrictions are in place and what quality turf you are looking for.

2. How often should I cut?

Depending again on the quality of lawn you are looking for the least you should be cutting in Sumer is once a week. The ideal would be twice a week depending on the height of cut

3. What should I plant in the shade?

The secret to a successful lawn is for it to have full sun or at very least morning sun. No grass with any traffic on it will grow in shade over an extended period.

4. My Kikuyu lawn is developing patches over winter which don’t recover in the summer?

Let Catscapes landscapes take care of all your troublesome areas. This is normally due to a spring die back. With correct fertilising this problem can be reduced over a season.

5. Can I top dress with sand?

Kikuyu does not react well to sand top dressing however it is still a better option than not doing anything. A preferred method is to used pure compost in early spring

6. How often should I scarify?

Scarifying should take peace at least once a year in spring. Depending on the conditions (fertilising, watering, etc) it may have to be done more regularly.

7. How often should I fertilise?

Depending on the conditions and the quality of lawn required at least three times a year as a minimum. The spring application should be high in Nitrogen, the summer application high in Phosphorous and the autumn application high in Potassium.