Edging your lawn should be considered part of mowing
By Kate Wall
In Part 1 we looked at problems caused by shady conditions, irregular or infrequent mowing, wear and tear, over watering and mowing too short. In Part 2 we look at 5 more common problems which cause a lawn to perform poorly.
Lack of Edging
I have seen many a lawn let down by lack of edging. By leaving long grass around the edge of a lawn, a neat finish is not achieved and grass is more likely to escape into garden beds and become a weed problem there. It can also mean that weeds in the garden are more likely to escape into the lawn. Edging should be considered a part of mowing – the job is not finished if the edges are not done. Choices of edging can impact on how much work is involved, eg an edge of bush rocks is much fiddlier to cut than a straight line of concrete. Click Here for more information on Lawn Edges
Leaving clippings/leaves on the Lawn
If the grass clippings are noticeable on the lawn after mowing, there is too much left behind and it will cause damage to the lawn. The clumps of grass clippings or numerous fallen leaves that often get left on a lawn are doing exactly what a larger item will do; depriving the grass underneath of sunlight causing it to yellow and start to die off. In this case instead of a square yellow patch being left behind from a large item like a sheet of cardboard, the small clumps of clippings or fallen leaves will cause lots of very small areas of the lawn to be weakened resulting in a thinning lawn cover. Mowing in damp weather or if the grass has gotten very long can cause the catcher to miss a lot of the clippings, leaving clumps behind. Mowing damp grass should always be avoided. If there are a lot of clippings left on the lawn, they need to be raked off or mown a second time to collect them. Autumn leaves should be raked off the lawn at least weekly to prevent leaf build up damaging the lawn.
Lawn grasses prefer a soil pH of between 6 and 7. Generally most soils will fall somewhere close to within this range and cause few problems. If your soil is much outside this range however you will be watching that beautiful new turf slowly dying, no matter how much care you are giving it. In Australia, acidic soils below pH 6 are not uncommon, especially in coastal areas. Acidic soils can be easily treated with lime and dolomite to raise the pH. Usually the first sign of a pH problem is plants failing to thrive. Generally if a lawn, or garden has done well in that space before, the soil is likely to be fine. pH can be a bigger problem when bringing in new soil from a landscaping yard. It is not uncommon to get a batch with a pH of 8 or higher. If possible, always test the pH of the soil before you accept it, as this highly alkaline soil is not so easy to neutralise, and your new lawn will not thank you for it. The pH can be lowered using iron chelates and powdered sulphur but can be slow to adjust.
Prevention is always better
The appearance of weeds in lawn is not necessarily inevitable and while there are numerous products available to treat the weeds, prevention is always better. Thick dense lawn will out compete weeds. Choosing the right lawn variety for your situation, and giving it the right care will result in a healthy lawn which is the desired outcome. The fact that in this condition the lawn is far less susceptible to weeds is a bonus. As soon as bare patches start to appear in a lawn, weeds are able to establish themselves in those gaps. Treating the weeds with an appropriate product or by physical removal then needs to be done in conjunction with good lawn care to return the lawn to optimum health. An optimal mowing regime will ensure any weeds are not able to set seed, and the regular trimming will favour growth of grass rather than weeds.
In extreme cases over fertilising will kill a healthy lawn very quickly. The brown patches that appear in a lawn from dog urine are caused by high nitrogen levels in the urine burning the lawn, and is the same thing that happens when too much high nitrogen fertiliser is applied. Slow release or organic fertilisers are preferred as they are less likely to cause burning, but always apply according to the dose rates on the packaging. Applying fertiliser more often than is needed is not only wasteful but can also result in fast growth which is weak and soft and therefore more attractive to pests. An appropriate fertiliser regime will depend on your grass variety as well as your local conditions. In general most lawns will appreciate a feed in spring to boost them for the summer growing season ahead, and then again in autumn when they may be depleted after the growing season.
Please note: Where 'New Content' is written at the top of an article this content has been added by the new owners of this website. If 'New Content' is not written, the information is from the previous site owner.