With the Australian dream represented by a perfectly manicured quarter acre block, it’s obvious that we Aussies have a deep love for our turf. This is particularly the case in summer, when conditions are perfect for enjoying the outdoors. Whether you want to run through the sprinkler on a hot summer’s day, play an intense backyard test match with your family, or simply lounge on a deckchair and admire your outdoor area, a beautiful lawn and the Australian summer go together, as Forrest Gump said, “like peas and carrots.”
But Australia is also a land of extremes, and summer conditions can put the prospect of a perfect backyard patch in jeopardy. So what are the most common issues that an Australian lawn will face? And how do you fix them?
Here are the top five problems that your lawn may experience, and their remedies.
For most Australians summer means bone dry heat. Summer is the driest part of the year for nearly all Australian capitals, and also features intense heat that further serves to stress your lawn. Watering your lawn is vital in order to ensure that it not only survives, but thrives in these challenging conditions.
If you’ve got the wherewithal, an automatic inbuilt system offers a fantastic irrigation solution. These systems can be set up to water at a time that suits, and are constructed to perfectly cover your lawn. For those who are looking for a cheaper option, a simple hose attachment will also do the trick.
Ironically more Australian lawns will brown off due to overwatering than they will to dehydration over summer. This is because there is a temptation to overdo it. “You can’t have too much of a good thing” doesn’t apply to lawn irrigation.
By limiting yourself to giving your lawn a good soak just twice a week – even during the most intense heat of summer – you’ll promote strong root growth which will serve to enhance your lawn’s drought resistance. Most warm season Australian grasses are incredibly drought resistant anyway, and varieties such as Couch and Kikuyu need only be watered when they show physical signs of stress (browning off, patchiness), bouncing right back as soon as they’re watered.
The warm weather of summer promotes the quick spread of many lawn diseases. The likes of Brown Patch disease, Dollar Spot, Fairy Rings, Grey Leaf and Powdery Mildew all rear their ugly heads around this time of year.
Thankfully good lawn maintenance will cure most of these issues, as it will allow your lawn to grow strong and fight off the sickness. Be sure to aerate your lawn, water it deeply yet infrequently, mow weekly and remove excess thatch.
4) Bare Patches in Shade
The flipside of the likes of Couch and Kikuyu’s love of sun is that they don’t do that well in shaded areas. These types of grasses will often grow magnificently in the middle of your backyard, but will be patchy on the edges, where shrubs, trees and fences block that all important vitamin D.
Short of cutting down your trees and shrubs, these bare patches need to be given as much opportunity to soak in the sun as possible. Be sure to thin out any nearby foliage to let the light through, and if your bare patch is next to a fence, think about installing a flower bed or something more shade tolerant around the edges.
Grubs, beetles and other creepy crawlies are most active during the warmer months, spelling danger for your lawn during what can be one of its most vulnerable periods. If you notice a minor plague of pests crawling through your turf, give it a dose of mild pesticide – you can make up a simple soapy mix that can fix the problem in a jiffy. But if the problem persists it may be worth investing in something a little more heavy duty.
If you’ve got any other queries on caring for your prized patch this summer, don’t hesitate to contact the friendly team at Mckays.