Blog


October 28, 2014


Coring and verti-cutting — the differences and benefits explained

Coring and verti-cutting are two very important practices when it comes to renovating and maintaining the health and vigour of your lawn. Although similar they both have different functions and are used to treat different aspects of your lawn’s health.

Coring is the physical removal of small plugs/cores from the soil and sward of the lawn. This is achieved using a motorised coring machine which punches 2 inch holes into the lawn, removing the plugs and leaving them on the surface of the lawn. Small holes in the surface of the lawn is the result of coring.The benefits from these holes in the lawn is probably one of the most important part of any renovation work carried out on a lawn. Coring relieves compaction, as the small holes allow water, oxygen and nutrients to instantly flood into the root zone.

Compaction can be caused from general wear of the lawn from kids playing on the lawn, cars parked on verges, mowing your lawn or hanging out the washing. Compaction:
• Decreases the amount of air in the root zone which is vital for root growth
• Decreases the water holding capacity of the soil, resulting in drought for the lawn
• Causes water to run off the lawn, wasting a valuable resource.
• Restricts the flow of nutrients in the soil and the effectiveness of fertilisers and wetting agents.
• Generally decreases the vigour of the lawn, and can result in death of the lawn.
• Leads to the build-up of an organic layer in the rootzone due to anaerobic condition/no air. The organic layer is call Black Layer and it results in a loss of turf vigour and decline in turf cover.

The best time to core your lawn is Spring and early Summer with an application of a wetting agent and fertiliser. This will drastically improve your lawn’s performance over the Summer months and will go a long way to improving it’s all year performance. Coring is also very beneficial in Autumn as it allows the winter rain to flow freely through the soil and not bog up on the surface. This will prevent anaerobic conditions in the rootzone and in turn prevent Black Layer forming. It also reduces the fungal diseases that can affect many lawns.

The main reason for Verti-cutting is the removal of thatch. Thatch is the accumulation of decaying grass litter in the soil’s surface and the matt layer of dead roots and rhizomes in the rootzone. These debris build up and create a thatch layer that is detrimental to a lawn’s health. Thatch:
• Acts as a sponge and prevents water flowing into the rootzone.
• Can cause rootzones to become anaerobic.
• Decreases the amount of micro-organisms in the soil. These break down organic matter into nutrients and make them available to the plant.
• Occurs naturally in all lawns but is generally increased by over-watering and applications of high level of nitrogen fertilisers.

A verti-cutter makes vertical cuts through the bottom of the grass blades to cut and remove thatch build up. It cuts into grass debris and horizontal stolons/runners and rhizomes and pulls them up to the surface. It takes skill to determine how much thatch should be removed. Too little and the results will be disappointing; too much and your lawn will struggle to recover. This is best left to an experienced operator.
Verti-cutting is best done during late Spring and early Summer, as the weather starts to heat up but before it gets too warm.
Verti-cutting will encourage new growth and improve the availability of water to the grass during Summer. It improves drainage during Winter, which prevents anaerobic conditions in the rootzone and in turn, improves the general vigour of the lawn.


August 28, 2012


The advantages of slow-release fertilisers – and the disadvantages of nitrogen-rich, low-quality granular products

Growing a lawn is a relatively simple process but boy, can things go wrong.

People face many problems growing a beautiful lawn such as wear and tear created by children underneath a basketball hoop, or a track created by a family pet. Or brown areas created by shade (no lawn grows actively in shade).

The most common response to problems such as these seems to be throwing fertiliser at it. But you need to ask yourself why?

One of the ways to maintain a quality lawn is to give it a consistent, adequate supply of nutrients throughout the year. When the general public go to a local garden centre they grab a bag of granular product that promises all kinds of things: “quick greening”, “long lasting”, “helps water retention”.

What do you get from an off-the-shelf granular fertiliser?
What you do get from these products is a rapid response from a big hit of nitrogen. It’s called a growth spike. Within a week your lawn has produced lush, soft green growth, but this tapers off quickly, sometimes within a fortnight. The soft growth is cut off at the next cut leaving you almost back to where you started.
Read more …


March 2, 2012


Cutworm

We are now in the middle of what has been a very active season for cutworm infestation.

What is Cutworm?

Cutworm is a tiny larval grub that is about as long as your fingernail. They feed feverishly at night, and are almost impossible to see during the day as they return below the surface of the soil.

What does the damage look like?

Generally the damage they cause works across the lawn like a tide. I have seen them eat out 10-15 square metres per day. The damage can start in multiple sites but generally seems to start in one area (possibly on the edges) and moves across the lawn each evening until treatment.

The larvae feed on the new growth leaves as they grow away from the stem. This affects the grass’s ability to recover after mowing and shoot new fresh leaves as the older ones senesce and die away.

Read more …


July 18, 2011


Broadleaf weed control

Now is the time to start the yearly battle against the Broadleaf weeds that appear in your lawn during Winter and Spring. (Look at our weed identification page to see the weeds this term includes.)

Timing is critical to rid your lawn of this year’s crop as effectively as possible, in turn reducing the seedbed for next year’s crop. Once a weed flowers (for example, the daisy-like flower on Capeweed), it is getting a good foothold for not just the current year but for years to come.

SPRAYING TOO EARLY

An application of broadleaf herbicide in May/June will give you a lovely clean lawn surface throughout Winter, but may run out before the end of the weed season in late Spring. This is fine if your budget allows two sprays annually. I prefer to spray from July onwards, so only one application is necessary. While your lawn will have some weeds during early Winter, a single application can only be good for your budget and the environment.
Read more …


May 11, 2011


What did African Black Beetle ever do to anyone anyway?

“Can you spray the African Black Beetle out of my lawn?”

If I have heard it once over the past twenty years I have heard it a thousand times.
My answer is “Of course I can but is it really a big enough problem to warrant spraying?”

Every hot season will see some Beetle go from its larval stages to adulthood and yes you will see some, but are they swarming enough to do any damage?

For some reason I hardly ever hear people asking me to spray out their Armyworm, Webworm, Cutworm or Spider Mite. These are seldom seen in the home lawn but their damage is a lot more dramatic than our old friend, the African Black Beetle.

If you observe 50 –100 beetles wandering across your lawn don’t panic. It’s time to panic only when there is more beetle than lawn visible. This is an extremely rare occurrence.
Read more …


June 22, 2010


Wintergrass control

Wintergrass is a significant weed problem in many areas, and control is essential for the following reasons:
Wintergrass is a prolific seeder that will eventually overtake the lawn in winter.
It seeds in Autumn, Winter and Spring and dies off throughout prolonged hot periods in the Summer. This leaves a weakened lawn that will become infected with even more Wintergrass the following cool season.
It sets seed even at very low cutting heights.

Control & Management

The key to controlling Wintergrass lies in its management using both chemical and cultural practices. Good cultural practices means keeping the lawn well maintained by regular mowing and fertilising, and not allowing bare patches to develop which will offer an ideal seed bed for Wintergrass germination.
Light infestations of seedlings may be easily hand weeded as Wintergrass has a very shallow root system.

Chemical Management

There are two main ways of approaching the management of winter grass with chemicals… pre-emergent control, which means spraying the lawn before the weeds emerge, or selective post-emergent control once the weeds have already germinated.

Read more …


June 3, 2009


Lawn Mowing Tips

Lawns that are properly cut are healthier and more attractive. A properly mowed lawn is thicker and has deeper roots, making it more durable and better equipped to combat weeds, insects, and diseases.

Read more …



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