Creating a Great Lawn
Peter grubbing out Paspalum
Ever since my first nesting urge, I have aspired to have a great lawn. My success or otherwise is on display at Eyebright.
In this article I will focus on those things which can be done at this time of year, because autumn in a benign time when you can set things up to face the rigours of summer.
Autumn is a particularly good time to deal with weeds. Broadleaved weeds are a piece of cake. There are sprays that take them out and leave the grass.
Unwanted grass types are a different matter. There is a level of infestation where you’ve got to face up to a total resow, and if that’s the case, don’t delay, spray off the lot and get the lawn resown no later than late April.
If your intruders are still random incursions, then surgical strikes will head them off. Paspalum is the most common invader. Its leaves radiate from a compact crown and smother your beloved turf, but it is vulnerable to a well aimed grubber. With the soft ground at this time of year you can root them out, and within a fortnight any collateral damage will have healed over. Should your invader be the sinister Couch or Indian Dobe, I’m afraid you are going to have to settle in for a long battle and things will look bad for quite some time before they look good. Chemicals will be necessary.
Nurturing your desirable grasses will go a long way to preventing invasions. If your turf is strong and healthy it won’t allow weeds to establish. At this time of year fertiliser is a tonic which will keep your lawn fighting fit.
Like the top of the south rampant growth does, however, create problematic side effects. If your lawn is really great, after a couple of years it will generate so much material that you end up with a layer of impervious thatch. This isn’t a problem in winter but when the summer heat comes your green glory will become a desperate desert. No matter how much water you pour on, the ground under the thatch will remain dry.
Autumn and early winter is a good time to dethatch your lawn. Attack it with a strong rake hauling out the matted undergrowth, or if your lawn is a bit big for that sort of exertion, hire a dethatcher. Either way you’ll be amazed how much stuff you can pull up. If you go for the machine be careful that you don’t get too enthusiastic. Moderation in all things please. You don’t want to rotary hoe your lawn.
Like everything, doing stuff at the right time makes for a good result with less effort. Great lawns are the product of ongoing TLC.