The single biggest one at this time of year is to feed. Use a good quality slow-release fertiliser & use a spreader to distribute it. You’ll get much more even coverage & avoid wastage.
Before you do that it’s 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.
Keep an eye on weeds too. You may decide that a weed & feed is the best way to feed your lawn if weeds have been a problem.
If you’ve any dead or daggy spots then aerating with a garden fork can work winders. 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 a ½-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 & 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 cms 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… as it looks like we’re heading into a long, hot, dry spring & summer in much of the country 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 wastful.
Great advice as always @Adam_W. Many thanks for sharing your expertise.
Workshop members: feel free to post photos of your lawn if you are having any problems or need any tips on how to bring it back.
If it was me, next time the Gardeners are around I'd buy them a six pack of beers and have a convo about what you'd like to achieve with the garden. I am sure they are use to tenants / landlords that just want the job done as quick as possible and for as cheap as possible. This enevitably leads to them cutting corners and causing damage that otherwise could be avoided.
If you polietly ask them to leave the lawn a tad longer and use a fertiliser of your preference, they will, especially with a cold six pack in hand.
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Let us know how you get on @renking. Sounds like a good strategy to me!
Let me also extend a very warm welcome to the Workshop community. We're pleased you could join us and look forward to reading about your projects and plans. I'm sure you'll get loads of helpful advice and inspiration from fellow members. Feel free to post whenever you need help or have something to share. I'd also welcome any feedback about how we can improve Workshop so it's even more useful for you.
Let me tag our resident lawn care expert @Adam_W for you @SallyN, although I'm sure he would advise patience. I just gave my lawn a feed last week with Scotts Lawn Builder and recall the bag said I wouldn't need to reapply for three months.
Let me also extend a very warm welcome to the Workshop community. We're pleased you could join us and trust that you'll get lots of useful information and inspiration for your home improvement projects from our members. Please feel free to post whenever you need a hand or have something to share. I would also welcome feedback anytime about how we can improve Workshop so it's even more useful to you.
Thanks for joining in the discussion,
Hi @SallyN & welcome!
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 nutrients 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 webpage 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.
As @Jason mentioned a quality, genuine slow-release product like Lawn Builder will last for 3-months (1-season).
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 though 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.
Hope this all kind of helps in some way