How to get the perfect Lawn for Summer
Start by taking your lawnmower and weed eater to a reputable agent for a proper service. You will need machines with sparkling spark plugs and smooth-running engines to make mowing stress-free. Check that new cutting blades were fitted or the old ones sharpened.
2. Mow the lawn almost to within an inch of its life! If you see runners and some bare soil you are on the right track. Please note that there are exceptions; not all lawn types should be scarified so drastically – study the regional notes in this article before you start.
3. Rake the whole lawn vigorously, across and down to remove the old dead mat, using a sharp-toothed steel rake.
4. Take either a hollow-tined or an ordinary garden fork and drive it into the turf every 20 to 30cm, working the prongs down as far as they can go and also wriggling the fork about. This airing technique allows air, food and water to reach the root system. (If you can get your hands on one, a lawn-spiker is a useful tool that will do the job as efficiently and much quicker!)
5. Your next step is feeding the lawn and there are many products, both chemical and organic, that one can use. Visit your local nursery and request a fertilizer that will promote strong root and cell growth first, before worrying about that deep emerald green colour on top. Water the lawn well the day before you are going to feed and when you do apply the fertilizer only do so at the recommended rate (it will be printed on the bag).
6. Immediately after feeding water thoroughly. If you are working in sunny weather on a big lawn then fertilize an area, mark the area with string (so you don’t forget where you’ve stopped) and water it well before moving on to another spot. Some fertilizers can burn a dry lawn very badly.
7. Top dressing is a wonderful way to smooth out a lawn and encourage new growth. Always use a quality product from a reputable supplier; it will contain sterilized, finely sieved organic materials that will improve drainage and water holding capacity and some brands are also enhanced with an organic booster. Apply a layer no deeper than 3cm to lawn that has dried off fairly well. Level it out by using a flat board tied to the end of your rake. Start watering again as soon as the blades of grass start showing through.
Summer rainfall temperate
• Start the spring treatment now on Kikuyu and hardwearing Cynodon species.
• Do not scarify cool season lawns like Kentucky Blue, tuft-type perennial grasses or blended mixes like All Season’s Evergreen or Shade Over.
• It is impossible to carry out a spring treatment in August if your lawns are sodden after a long wet winter. You can scarify thick matted lawns and do levelling with lawn dressing and feed with a cell and root strengthening fertilizer in autumn in this region, as the lawn will keep on growing (albeit slower) throughout winter with the benefit of rain water.
• If moles begin creating havoc in your lawns use a mole repellent and repair the holes they have made with lawn dressing.
• Areas with bad drainage or large, patchy hollows will be easy to see now and should be repaired when the weather is a little drier. Cut out the turf, slide a spade underneath it, lift it out and put it aside. Fill up the hollows with compost mixed with coarse river sand, rake level and put the grass sods back in place, but now on the same level as the rest of the lawn. Tamp the sods down firmly. In areas with very bad drainage a proper drainage system should be laid underneath the affected areas of lawn to lead the water away.
• Weeds are a problem in this region in August. Remove them manually where possible and use a pre-emergent weed killer.
• Fertilizing grasses like Kikuyu with nitrogen-rich fertilizer in August enables the grass to out-grow and smother most annual weeds, preventing them from becoming problematic.
• In very cold areas wait till September to do the spring treatment.
Summer rainfall subtropical
• Berea or Durban grass should be mown normally (and not to ‘within an inch of its life’) when starting the spring treatment.
Maintain the summer look:
• Lawns need water to keep them looking great. The frequency of watering and the amount to apply will depend on the soil type and weather, but you should rather water less often but deeply, than little bits every day.
• Irrigate early in the morning to curb the risk of disease.
• Mow regularly and only remove one third of the grass blade. A lawn that has been waiting too long for its weekly cut will have dry, unsightly patches when it is eventually done.
• Ensure that the mower’s blades are sharp. Blunt blades will tear the grass and their tips will turn brown.
• Feed the lawn every six to eight weeks during summer and into autumn.