I remember as a kid my first paying job was when my mum paid me five dollars every time I mowed our lawn. She imparted to me two rules, mow short and, don't burn it. To be honest, at the age of 10 I didn't really care too much about gardening, I was actually more obsessed about buying mince pies from the school canteen.
Many Australian's have grown up to mow lawns in much the same way I did when I was kid, and our inclination with mowing too short is whats preventing your lawn from being that picture perfect lawn that everyone strives for.
The good news is that I have learned a lot since I was a kid and that achieving a great lawn isn't hard, and comes down to a few simple rules, and with that being said I would like to impart with you this blog on 3 simple steps to a great lawn.
If you need any help in the garden give us a call on 1300 077 159.
Tip 1: Mow at the right height
Maintaining a good lawn height is everything, and it only takes one bad lawn mow to really set a lawn back. Grass blades are very similar to solar panels, they both convert the suns rays to energy. The longer the grass blade, the more energy it will have to create a vibrant looking lawn that is greener, healthier and more resilient. And for this reason mowing at the right height is our number one tip.
Check your height gauge on your lawn mower and see which level best achieves a cut to to around 5 cm's - I set my lawn mower to the second highest setting. Some lawn mowers (especially smaller ones) you may have to cut on the highest setting to achieve a cutting height of 5 cm's.
Usually you will notice lawns that are kept low, will have a greenish-brown appearance and will lack that deep green appearance most lawn enthusiast are looking for. If we acquire a new customer where the lawn has been kept quite low, we will often consult with the client and discuss growing it out. You will notice that as the lawn grows out to our ideal height it will state to take on a greener more healthier appearance.
Tip 2: Mow Frequently
Just like you can scalp a lawn by mowing it too low, you can also scalp your lawn if you allow it to grow too long before mowing. For this reason it is vital that your lawn is mowed frequently and at the right intervals.
From October through to April we recommend mowing fortnightly and from May through to September you can switch to 4-6 weekly. If your grass is a quick growing variety such as Kikuyu than you may need to mow your lawn weekly during the growth seasons.
If you would like a more technical answer on frequency than we would apply the 'one-third' rule, which means when you cut your lawn you should never reduce it by more than one-third. For example if you are maintaining a lawn height of 5 cm than the maximum height your lawn should ever get to is 6.5 cm - your lawn mowing frequency is therefore dictated by this rule.
Tip 2: Fertilise
It makes sense that a well fed lawn is a healthy lawn, so it will come as no surprise that fertilising is a basic fundamental. There are many lawn fertilising brands out there, and a popular choice for Australian's is 'Shirley 17', which is a quick release granular fertiliser which is applied from mid-September every 4-6 weeks to about February. When applying this product, it must be watered in well and don't apply it on hot days as it can burn your lawn. If you can apply Shirley 17 just before it is about to rain.
We prefer using a good quality granular (6-9month) controlled release fertiliser. These fertilisers are a bit more expensive however they are more convenient to use only requiring one or two applications annually and, we you apply them at any time without the potentiality of burning your lawn. In addition to that, the nutrients are release evenly and more consistently than other fertilising options.
Tip for Lawn in Shady Areas
Some lawns varieties grow well in shadier areas, in these area's it is very important that lawns are grown and maintained to a height of 5cm. Depending on the shadiness of the area I will oscillate between the highest and second highest setting. Because there is not a lot of light in these areas the turf blades need to be big and long to soak up as much sun as possible.