Winter is for raking, sweeping, recycling and re-evaluation of lawns. Below Nick Bell (turf expert) has given us tips to keep your lawn in top shape at this time of year:
Measure the length and breadth of the lawn or if it is a number of individual sections, add them up to determine the area of your lawn.
Lawns may not need water in winter, but they do need thought and action. The following action plan will maintain it during winter and prepare it for spring.
Ensure that hand tools are sharp and in good condition before storing them away.
Mowers, edges, line trimmers and other machines should be properly serviced. Blades need to be sharpened or replaced if necessary so that the machines will be in first class working condition to cope with spring and early summer growth.
Rake and brush the lawn vigorously during the winter to minimise the formation, or break up established algae and moss and keep the surface tidy. Fallen leaves and other debris can be raked into windrows and chopped into small pieces with a rotary mower to produce an excellent mulch. The mulch is ideal for spreading in garden beds or composting.
Check the pH of the soil with an inexpensive soil testing kit. Apply agricultural ground limestone to raise the pH of acidic soil, or elemental sulphur to reduce the pH of calcareous costal soils. The optimal pH for lawns is from 5.8 to 6.5.
Reduce the total area of the lawn by reclaiming small sunny sections for productive vegetable and herb gardens, and replace narrow difficult to mow areas at the sides of the house with pavements, ground covers, and feature gardens.
Have watering systems audited by a water-wise endorsed specialists and if necessary have them upgraded to ensure efficient and reliable performance. To ensure efficient hand watering, replace worn hoses with good quality kink resistant ones. Eliminate leaks by fitting new tap washers, and repairing or replacing leaking taps, hose fittings and hose-end sprinklers if needed.
Keep the lawn at a height of 20mm by mowing it whenever it attains a height of 25mm from the beginning of June until mid-September. Control the spread of weed seeds during this period by collecting clippings and disposing of them in the Green-Waste recycling bins.
Winter is the best time of the year to visit turf farms to see new improved lawn types of lawns. These cultivated varieties have been specially bred and extensively trialled to ensure strong growth, practical maintenance and superior performance in Australia.
When lawns are beyond economic renovations it is usually desirable to replace them following soil improvement and irrigation system upgrade with an improved variety that is suitable for specific situations.