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A beautiful lawn doesn't happen by itself...

To keep a lawn looking good, it is no secret that grass needs to be regularly maintained – lawn must be cut, fertilised and watered.

There are many varieties of grass and South African gardeners tend to use one of five varieties – Kikuyu, Buffalo, LM Berea, Bermuda and Gulf Green. There are, of course, other kinds of lawn that are used, but these are the most common. Different types of grass suit different types of residential lawns, so make sure that you know your lawn's priorities before you decide on which lawn to use. Keep in mind that all of these lawn types suit gardens that receive full sun, but some tolerate shade much better than others.

Here we offer some lawn care advice/tips on how to keep your lawn looking at its best.

Spring Lawn Preparations


As the weather warms up, it's time to head outside and start enjoying your yard. It's also time to begin getting your lawn ready for the warmer months.

Aerate your lawn to promote the healthy formation of the root system.

Air, water and nutrients are vital to a healthy lawn. These elements need to penetrate down into the grass roots to provide results.

It is necessary to deep-aerate the lawn. A standard garden fork is quite suitable to penetrate the surface at regular intervals, making the grass roots easily accessible to air, water and nutrients. Rake your lawn to remove excess thatch.

A build up of old growth, mostly from not cutting low enough results in a build up of a mat or thatch on the lawn. This makes air, moisture and food penetration impossible, causing yellow or bald patches on the lawn.

The removable of this thatch is called scarifying. By raking vigorously in different directions with a sharp steel rake, you can rip up the old base runners and dry foliage. The waste grass should then be removed.

Fertilising

It is a good idea to change the fertiliser that you use as the seasons change. In spring, use a nitrogen-rich fertiliser, as it encourages leaf development. Always remember to water your lawn thoroughly after fertilising!

Mulching your lawn


Mulch is any material that is spread or laid over the surface of the soil as a covering. It is used to retain moisture in the soil, suppress weeds, keep the soil cool, and make the garden bed look more attractive. Organic mulches also help improve the soil’s fertility, as they decompose.

The benefits to using Tandem's Mulch 'n Catch lawnmower range include:

  1. Grass is cut and re-cut (mulched)
  2. Mulch is forced back into the lawn.
  3. Mulching improves moisture retention.
  4. Mulch retards weed growth.
  5. Non-stop mowing in half the time.

Feeding your lawn


Regular feeding is essential to ensure good lawn. Ideally, fertilise at least every 6 - 8 weeks or a minimum of three times during the growing season: ie early spring (August/September), mid summer (Nov/Dec) and finally in autumn (Feb/March). The new slow-release fertilises are easy to apply by hand and do not "burn" the lawn. Remember to water well after putting fertilizer on your lawn to prevent your grass from being burnt.

In spring it is best to use a fertilizer that is nitrogen-rich and encourages good leaf development.

Watering your lawn


Water your lawn with the roots in mind.

Most grasses need about 2,54cm of irrigation per week during peak growing seasons.

A single, deep irrigation is preferable. Frequent, brief sprinklings encourage unfavorably shallow root penetration. Deep roots are crucial in helping grass plants withstand hot summer conditions, including droughts.

For best results, water your lawn during the early morning or at night.

Mowing your lawn


A systematic approach to mowing is important for the overall health of your lawn. Some concepts to keep in mind when cutting your lawn are:

  • Never cut more than one-third of the height of the grass during each mowing.
  • Frequent springtime mowing helps strengthen roots, making the plants hardy.
  • Raise the cutting height of your lawnmower as the summer months approach. Longer grass shades the soil better, keeping it moist.
  • Raise the cutting height of your lawnmower as the autumn months approach. Longer grass blades helps the grass get more sun in winter.

Trimming and Edging


If you would like to create a visual appealing effect in your garden, define the spaces in your garden by using edging. The kerb or edge will separate your lawn from your flower beds, control ground cover, prevent water wastage and create a focal point. It is the quickest and cheapest way to give your garden a neat and professional finish.

Modern nylon line trimmers, make this task less tedious and achieves fast and excellent results. Various types of single or double handed shears are available for smaller areas.

Keeping your lawn green in winter


In dry areas, Winter means that the lawn dies a miserable death each year. Frost can be very dangerous to lawns, so if your area experiences regular frost, make sure that your lawn is able to tolerate it.

Change the fertiliser that you use as the seasons change. In Winter, use a fertiliser high in phosphate (a 2:3:2 fertiliser), which encourages root development over leaf development. In spring, a nitrogen-rich fertiliser is best, as it encourages leaf development.

Weed and Pest control


Fungal diseases, ants, caterpillars and crickets are some of the pests that can cause fungal damage to your lawn. This problem will be difficult to combat without consulting your local nurseryman for advice and the necessary remedy.

On the other hand, weed control can easily be managed, using one of the many herbicidal weed killers available. Selective weed killers will kill all broad-leafed weeds without damaging the lawn grass. A total grass killer could also be used to eradicate grass growing where it is not wanted.

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