Author: Caleb M Date Posted:18 November 2020
If you're thinking about overhauling your lawn and getting your garden in tip top shape, this lawn fanatic's lawn care guide will hep get you there!
We all know that spring is growing season and the perfect time to get your garden in tip top shape and your lawn looking lush for the Christmas period ahead.
To help you create your dream lawn in an achievable manner, we’ve enlisted long-term lawn-lover and Plant Doctor customer, Caleb, to detail how he is overhauling his lawn this spring.
A teacher by day, Caleb is not a horticultural expert, but he is passionate about his lawn and ensuring it’s looking its best.
Here’s what Caleb is doing to achieve the lush lawn of his dreams this spring.
“My lawn is Aussie blue couch – a soft, touchable, ultra-green grass – and when looked after well, stays in fantastic condition year-round,” says Caleb.
“Now that the weather has warmed up, the growth has started to speed up significantly and it’s time to do a full lawn renovation to maximise the growing potential.
“My ultimate lawn renovation involves a simple yet effective six-step process, the majority of which I will be completing over two days. Here’s what I will do…”
Step 1 – Scalp the lawn
The first step is to scalp the lawn, cutting it right back with a rotary mower.
Scalping your lawn may sound counterintuitive but it is essential for creating lush new growth.
The reason you scalp your lawn is to remove the build-up of thatch.
Thatch is the layer of organic material that lies between the grass and the soil. Thatch is necessary for a healthy lawn but can cause issues when it builds up too much.
Thatch can build up so much that it stops the water penetrating the soil, thus preventing growth and a healthy soil.
Scalping the lawn will take longer than your regular mow as you’ll need to go over the area a number of times, gradually lowering the blades.
Your lawn will look very sad after it has been scalped but this is an essential step and your lawn will thank you for it.
Please note – lawn scalping is only appropriate for certain lawn types. Blue couch, for instance, is fast growing, resilient and has deep roots, so it copes well with scalping.
Buffalo, on the other hand, does not recover as quickly and has shallower roots. You could cut buffalo back short but not as much as you would with blue couch.
Please research or grass type when considering scalping or talk with your local gardening supplier.
Step 2 – Core aerate the ground
The next step is to core or aerate your lawn.
Aerating helps improve soils and promote lawn growth as it helps open us the soil, reducing the ground compaction. When the ground is compacted, water, air and nutrients can’t penetrate the soil as easily.
Perforation of the ground will encourage better lawn growth and help the roots to grow deep.
Spike aerators or even a pitchfork is sufficient for a small area when the ground is not very compacted but core aerators do a much more thorough job, which is why I will be core aerating my lawn.
Core aerating removes a plug of soil from the ground allowing maximum oxygen, water and nutrient uptake.
It will leave holes in your lawn afterwards, which you need to collect by either raking them up or mowing over them.
Post-aeration is the perfect time to top dress, which is what I will be doing in step four, because it will assist in filling these holes with a loose sandy mixture.
It’s best to core aerate your lawn when it has been recently watered but not saturated.
Step 3 – Fertilise your lawn
Fertilising your lawn is an essential step in maintaining and boosting the nutrient requirements of soil and grass so they stay healthy and in top shape.
Now that I have core aerated my lawn, I will be fertilising it with a slow release granular fertiliser such as the Champion Mineral Low-Cut Lawn Fertiliser.
It will provide sustained nutrition for the lawn, and the smaller prill size will penetrate the soil better.
Step 4 – Top dressing your lawn
The next step is to top dress the lawn. Top dressing involves spreading a sandy mix over the ground. Adding a fine organic top dress is another option, and a good way to increase organic matter, stimulate microbial activity and improve soil health.
It benefits your lawn in a number of ways such as assisting with poor soil preparation, adding nutrients or filling in low spots.
I will be top dressing my lawn to even out the ground, as just prior to laying the turf, we experienced a large amount of rain which impacted how even the soil level was before the turf was laid.
By top dressing I will be able to correct some of the small undulations in my lawn.
As we’ve already performed steps 1 to 3 above, the ground is perfectly prepped for top dressing.
Using a screened river sand mix is ideal. You may need to call around to a few local nurseries and lawn suppliers to see what is available.
You only need up to 10mm thickness of your sand mixture when top dressing, and it’s key to ensure the grass blade tips are still exposed.
Your lawn supplier should be able to advise you on how much sand mix you will require for the size of your lawn.
Then all you need to do is evenly spread the sand over your lawn.
In my case, to correct the low points in the lawn, I will be applying the sand mixture up to 10mm over the entire lawn first. This will then highlight where I need to apply additional sand in the low points.
My second application will involve applying more sand on the low areas, while still ensuring the tips of the blades of grass are visible.
Use a spreader bar or the back of a rake to spread.
Step 5 – Water, water, water
Once you’ve evenly spread the top dressing mix over your lawn and filled the low points, you need to water it all in.
It’s important to water just after you’ve applied the top dressing and then to water regularly over the next while (which I hope you would be doing anyway!) to give the grass some good hydration after going through this taxing process.
Step 6 – Fertilise again
About a week after the top dressing has been done, it’s now time to fertilise your lawn again, this time with a liquid fertiliser such as Activ8mate liquid fertiliser.
This fertilisation will stimulate the grass growth and feed the soil, helping to green the lawn and ensure it’s nice and strong for all the use it will get over the summer!
After the renovation process I will be watering my lawn a little more than usual (every two days) to nurse it back to full health.
Want to perform the lawn renovation process above? Be sure to post your pics on Instagram and tag Plant Doctor so we can share your posts.
First time owning lawn. Gave the team at plant doctor a ring and they supplied me with a wealth of information. Products turned up quickly.
Will definitely be getting more 8 weeks difference been using stimulizer, activ8mate, soil wetter, seaweed secrets and champion fertiliser. Was super fast delivery.
Amazing products!! The results are excellent and the prices are even better! Postage was only 2 days as well. Highly recommended!
Only have great things to say about Plant Doctor. Organic products and a competitive price, fast shipping and easy to contact with questions. Have had great results with the special mix for lawns, and my plants (indoor and outdoor) love the seaweed secrets. I am excited to test out some of the animal products soon!