Maintaining a lush green carpet over your garden is no easy task – especially after an unrelenting South African winter has adorned it with large patches of brown, unhealthy looking grass. Before you consider drastic measures involving concrete and gravel, try these five simple steps to lawn salvation.
1. Keep it long
Aesthetics aside, the result of mowing grass very short is a less extensive root system. For grass that is already struggling to survive, this is highly stressful. When spring makes its appearance, refrain from instantly attacking the lawn with the mower on its lowest setting. The grass needs to re-establish itself so when you mow, use the highest setting.
After the lawn receives its first trim, it will need fertilizing. Fertilizer provides the grass with the nutrients it needs to become the verdant wonder of your neighbourhood. Use an organic fertilizer that contains slow-releasing nitrogenand has a low phosphorus level. If you can’t find any locally, try an online garden supply company such as www.tool-net.co.uk. The lawn will need fertilizing again in the summer when it becomes dry and brittle from an overdose of sun.
Give your lawn about an inch of water every week. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can miss a few weeks and give it three inches to make up for it. Overwatering will drown the already struggling post-winter grass. Water the lawn in the morning before the wind picks up and the sun reaches its full strength.
Not watering too deeply will help keep weeds at bay, as will refraining from mowing too short. Nevertheless weeds will have made an appearance during the winter. Remove by hand or use a weed killer. Of the two types available, one works by burning the weeds and is known as a contact weed killer. The other type, known as systemic, works on the basis that weeds and grass plants are from two different plant groups. Chemicals can therefore be used that kill the weeds but not the grass.
Some areas of grass may be beyond help. Happily, these can be replaced fairly easily. Dig out the area populated by the dead grass, which is usually no more than a few inches deep. Measure the area and head to the local gardening centre to buy replacement sod. Take a sample of grass with you and find sod with the same type of grass. Mismatched grass will not look appealing.
If all else fails, save time and effort on future mowing by replacing unused parts of the lawn with stepping stones, trees, water features or sculpture. Rustic furniture looks good in any garden and requires little more than a Bosch drill and some aged wood to create.Tags: Gardening & Outdoors, How-To