Are you jealous of your neighbour’s lawn? How immaculate, how green, how healthy, how effortless it seems. There’s no big secret or conspiracy going on – your neighbour probably just knows a few key tips and tricks that ensure their lawn is the talk of the neighbourhood.
Firstly, you’re not likely to be the only one suffering neighbour lawn envy. There was even a study conducted a few years ago but in the UK that found that almost half of people are jealous of their neighbour’s gardens – a figure probably not very different here in south east Queensland. And what makes us all so envious? Well, aside from a bigger backyard, it seems to be that we’re all a bit jealous that our own lawns seem to be too patchy and too weed infested when we take a peek over the fence.
So, how do we compete? The most important thing is to ensure that we have an appropriate lawn care regime in place and that we actually follow through with it. This doesn’t mean a huge time or money investment – just consistency and ongoing care.
In fact, you can have a great, competitive lawn in as little as 10 minutes a day.
Head outside to your lawn and take a look around and check on the health and general condition of your lawn.
Stop and pull out any weeds – this will ensure that they don’t have a chance to take over and will eliminate (or greatly reduce) the likelihood of needing to use weed killers (saving money and reducing your environmental impact);
Take a look at the grass blades – if they are wilting or browning then your lawn needs watering.
Check any sprinkler heads to ensure that dirt has not built up as this will affect its ability to water correctly. If blocked, simply remove the build-up – this takes just seconds.
Take a look for any signs of pests (get down on your hands and knees if necessary). If you see any signs of Webworms, grubs, wasps, Armyworms either take a few minutes to treat then and there or if you don’t have the right treatment available, pop pest control on your to-do list for the weekend – the sooner treated the easier it will be to eliminate.
While taking a walk around, check for a build-up of thatch – the lawn will feel quite ‘bouncy’ to walk on. If at the early stages, make a note to mow a little lower next time as this should avoid the need to undertake verti-mowing if it gets out of control.
Inspect the general health of your lawn – if it’s losing its colour and struggling to grow (particularly during the warmer months) then an application of fertiliser may be in order. Pop this on the weekend to-do list when you have more time to ensure you have the right fertiliser for your lawn type, have more time to spread the fertiliser evenly over the entire lawn, and have more time to water the fertiliser in correctly.
And that’s it – 10 mins of lawn care done.
When it gets to the weekends you can spend a little more time and undertake those regular and irregular lawn care tasks that will get your lawn into shape and keep it that way.
Regular Tasks - Mowing
Regular mowing of your lawn is critical because it thickens the grass which wards off pests and weeds and keeps it healthy which wards off disease. Change the direction and pattern in which you mow each time so that the grass stalks aren’t pushed in the same direction each time. Never remove more than one third of the grass leaf at a time.
Regular Tasks - Watering
If you want a lawn that is beautiful all year long, watering correctly is critical. How often your lawn requires watering will depend on temperature, humidity and natural rainfall. When the grass needs water it will begin to yellow, curl up and/or wilt. If you have installed a new lawn, you will usually need to water once a day so the new lawn can bond and a solid root system can form. Watering of the lawn should also be deep but infrequent to encourage a strong root system.
Irregular Tasks - Fertilising
Mowing and watering removes nutrients from the lawn and they need to be replaced in order to achieve maximum growth. From the beginning of spring, you should fertilise your lawn every month. Nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous are all necessary and mixes of special lawn fertilisers are easily available at your local nursery, lawn care or hardware store. Read the directions for advice on the amount and how to apply the fertiliser.
Irregular Tasks - Dethatching and Aeration
Your lawn’s roots need oxygen, water and nutrients in order to grow, thrive and be healthy.
If the soil beneath your lawn is compacted from heavy traffic you can use the process of pushing air holes into lawn with a digging fork in order to aerate the lawn and allow nutrients, water and oxygen to get to the root system.
In order to clear away built up thatch you might want to dethatch your lawn by giving the lawn a brisk rake with a metal rake. By removing the lawn thatch you provide more breathing space for the grass and help the stems grow.
Now that you know how to have a lawn that will make the other neighbours jealous remember to share your new found knowledge when they pop their head over the fence and ask how you did it.