The biggest tip is to feed your lawn. I read some research that said less than 1-in-4 home-owners ever feed their lawns. Crazy. It's the single best thing you can do and most lawns will take less than 10-minutes to feed.
Benefits? A well-fed lawn…
- is better able to survive hot, dry summer conditions.
- has less weeds as the lawn is able to out-compete the weeds
- is better at self-repairing all that wear & tear from kids & dogs & backyard cricket.
When you feed a hose-on is easy but granular is better for a longer feed.
If you use granular don't try to hand broadcast it, you'll never spread it evenly, invest in a simple fertiliser spreader. Worth their weight in gold.
Look for more modern fertilisers such as Scotts Lawn Builder as they are slow release, feeding for months, and you can apply them when it's dry & they'll start feeding once it rains, no messing around having to water straight after applying.
You can supplement this with a hose-on seaweed like Seasol too but just use the seaweed-only version, don't double-up on feeding.
And on that topic... just stick to the recommended application rates when feeding. Doubling it will not make your lawn twice as green. With some fertilisers you'll end up burning your lawn and with any you're just wasting your money.
Quality, modern fertilisers also look after your soil - they feed the soil not just the foliage. When your soil is healthy and happy micro-organisms can more easily convert nutrients from fertiliser for the grass to take up so your lawn stays greener for longer. It also means that the run-off of nutrients into the environment is reduced.
Healthy soil leads to stronger root development too so you hardier, healthier grass.
A problem with feeding a lawn if it was a bit patchy is that the weeds can get a good bit of growth too in the empty spaces. I’d try a Weed & Feed formulation. I’ve had good results with this one as it doesn’t stress the lawn too much as some of the older formulations can. That should take care of any bindii too.
You need to treat bindii in autumn as it’s an annual that grows in the cooler months and then sets seed in the warm months. Those prickles are in-fact the seed so once you’ve felt a prickle that can mean it’s too late.
Before you do a feed it’s also a great idea to get your lawn tidy. Go over it really vigorously with a rake, preferably a spring-tined leaf rake.
This will collect the obvious stuff on the surface but also strips out any dead grass etc. You’ll be amazed how much you will gather up & how much fresher the lawn will look afterwards.
If you’ve any dead or daggy spots then aerating with a garden fork can work wonders. Just drive the fork in around 3 to 5cm deep and rock it back & forth a little. Do this every 5cm or so over the worst areas. If you’ve a big area then rent an aerator for half a day.
After you’ve done this you can either rake some lawn top-dressing soil over or some bagged washed coarse river sand. This will fill the little holes up creating drainage and aeration channels.
Applying a hose-on seaweed tonic can be useful too as it wakes the soil microorganisms up and they are essential for efficiently converting fertiliser to plant-available nutrients. In-short, they’ll improve the efficacy of applied fertiliser but just remember that seaweed alone is not a fertiliser.
When you start mowing again don’t mow too low, keep a good few centimetres of leaf blade. Your grass should have good ‘foot-feel’. Nice between your toes, a little soft underfoot but not spongy or hard. And as things warm up make sure you're mulch mowing as this will help with moisture conservation.
Also, speaking of moisture, when you’re expecting a hot, dry spring / summer I’d look at applying a good quality soil wetter that’s suitable for lawns so that any rain that does fall is absorbed rather than running off, and any watering you do won’t be wasteful.
Most lawn foods will take a little while to activate especially if it has been dry and they haven't been watered in. They need the water to activate and for the nutrients to get down into the soil. I'm a big fan of applying a suitable soil-wetting product at feeding time as it improves both water and fertiliser penetration and reduces nutrient wastage and runoff. Basically it makes your feeding more efficient and effective.
Reapplication will always depend on the brand and it is important not to over-apply. Just check the pack carefully. If you didn’t keep the bag but you think you remember the product have a look on the Bunnings page as they often have label shots or product information that will tell you the reapplication rate/frequency. Just remember that over-feeding can do more harm than good, scorching the lawn and damaging the soil.
This is where it’s worth doing the sums on products. When you buy them they may appear good-value however they often lose that ‘benefit’ in two ways – reapplication frequency (i.e. – reapplying every month, or even every 2-weeks, instead of every 3-months) and coverage rate (i.e. weight required per square metre).
A thing not often thought about with lawn foods too is their potential environmental impact.
If you are needing to apply bags of product every month or less then there is an enormous amount of nutrient wastage. It’s often described as flooding to feed – add an enormous amount of soluble nutrients to the lawn (or garden) on a regular basis and hope that the plants pick some up as they wash through.
And wash is the important word because many of these nutrients do just that, they wash through the soil and end up contaminating local waterways and bushland contributing to all manner of problems.
The type of fertilisers that require frequent reapplication can be useful if you need a quick-fix but there are better options for that too such as Extreme Green which is fast green-up (3-days!) and slow-release.
I use, both personally and professionally, the Lawn Builder products so I have no hesitation recommending them. Yes, they are more expensive at first glance but worth every cent. Funnily enough if you do the sums on cost, coverage and reapplication rates they are good value.
For lawns that are dry or where you’re using too much water use the + Wetting Agent formulation. If your soil is a bit ho-hum then use the + Organics formulation. And use a mechanical spreader to apply to get even coverage, a simple handheld one is fine for most folks but for a larger lawn you might want to invest in a walk-behind.
The new buffalos are very good at self-repairing so even after a brown off, with some reliable moisture they can come back. Maybe give them some seaweed tonic to reboot the soil micro-organisms and, most importantly, try to keep people off it for a while if at all possible. - Adam_W
I live in Newcastle and have Buffalo and the only thing that saved my lawn was water, lots of water and I feel ashamed for using 350 litres a day for it. I watered in the afternoon, but apparently the best time to water is in the early morning (which I'm still trying to get my head around). I need a timer that starts watering early before I get out of bed.
If I had my choice all over again, I would choose Kikuyu. It bounces back much much quicker after a dry spell with very little rain.
Keep the cutting blades as high as you can and never scalp (cutting to runner height). As this will encourage dead spots and weeds will take over.
The best fertiliser I have found is Yates 7kg Dynamic Lifter Concentrate Lawn Fertiliser for $19.33 @ Bunnings. It will feed 250 square metres.
I was considering using Yates 30L Waterwise Granular Soil Wetter before next Summer as it can be used on lawns, gardens and pots.
Buy a rain gauge to see if the lawn/garden needs watering. - Bracken_Fan
When looking to start over with a fresh lawn, I would advise you to deal with the weed issue prior to top dressing as it is a simple process. There are a variety of selective weed killers available which can be sprayed over the area and they won't affect the grass that you will lay or sow. These products are in concentrated form and can be mixed up in a garden sprayer to be distributed over the area. Alternatively, there are products ready to use like Hortico 2L Bindii Killer Hose On which are suitable for dandelion and broadleaf weeds.
Moss can be killed by applying a mixture of 2 parts dish soap to 1 part water and spraying the moss until it is saturated. You can also physically remove moss by skimming it and the top layer of soil off of the area. Make sure you get all the roots in the process or it will return.
With wider weed problems in an established law, I would suggest spraying a selective weeder similar to Amgrow 250ml Bin-Die Selective Lawn Weeder over the entire lawn area. It is suitable for use on most grasses including Buffalo, Couch Grass, Bent, Kikuyu, Paspalum, Red Fescue and Rye Grasses. It is effective in killing bindii, catsear, clover, creeping oxalis, cudweed, dandelion, plain thistle and other broad leaf weeds.
If there are still be some stubborn weeds left, I would address these by using a glyphosate product similar to Yates Zero weedkiller concentrate. This product can be diluted and placed in a Yates Zero Weeding Herbicide Applicator Brush and painted onto the remaining weeds. You do not want to spray this product as any misting onto the surrounding grass will also kill them.
Allow these products full week to kill the weeds before pulling them out. You might find you get remaining bulbs from onion grasses come back up. I would concentrate on digging those bulbs out as they can be notoriously hard to get rid of with sprays.
Don't mow your grass too low. Keeping plenty of lawn will help keep what little water you do receive in the soil and reduces stress on the grass leaves. But do try to keep mowing as often as possible to keep the weeds at bay. And don't water often, but when you do, water deep. Once a week should be enough. That will encourage deep roots. A wetting agent will help retain water too. - MartyH
When your ground has been compacted from heavy use you need to aerate the soil so water can penetrate. You'll obviously want to do it after some good rain or a good water. Wait until autumn and then give aerating and feeding a go, followed by regular deep watering. - Kermit
Autumn is the time to loosen up the soil underneath your lawn. This allows more air down into the soil (and the grass roots) improves water penetration and also makes it easier for grass roots to grow. Just use a garden fork and push it down about 10cm deep, levering a little back and forth to open up the holes. - CathD
Bindi and clover can start to take over the lawn in late winter when the grass is growing at its slowest. Clover competes with the lawn for water and nutrients and can also shade the grass, slowly depleting it of sunshine. July is also the time to start controlling bindii, while the plants are still young and before they have had a chance to flower and develop their prickles. - Shane