No matter how much effort you put into your flower beds and landscaping, your garden won’t look good if the grass is patchy. We asked Richard Erasmus of Lawnpro, a professional with over two decades’ experience in residential lawn care, to answer some common questions about creating and maintaining a lush lawn
Choose the right grass for your lawn
Consider your climate, the amount of sunlight the lawn will receive, how much traffic the lawn will take and how easy it is to establish. Your options include warm season grasses and cool season grasses.
Kikuyu is the most popular of the warm season grasses, followed by LM lawn, buffalo lawn and cynodon – these grow best in sunny areas, are more tolerant of traffic and are easy to establish and maintain. LM and buffalo grass can also handle less sunlight and will do better than even the strongest kikuyu lawn in a 30 percent sun-filtered environment.
Cool season grasses include evergreen mixes such as All Seasons Evergreen, Starke Ayres Evergreen Mix and Lawnpro Green Domein, shade mixes like Shade-Over, Starke Ayres Shady Mix and Lawnpro Under Cover and various over-seeding rye grasses. For a green lawn all year round in the coldest climate, or a green lawn in shady areas, this is the route to go. However, they don’t tolerate a lot of traffic, require more frequent watering, take more time to establish and may need constant seeding and nurturing.
How often should I water my grass
You need to water your lawn to supply the right amount of moisture, cool down the soil temperature and wash fertilisers into the soil. As clay soils hold moisture for longer than sandy soils, you’ll need to water grass planted in sandy soils more frequently. However, clay may hold onto water more intensely, preventing your lawn from utilising that high moisture content. Loam is the ideal soil mix and will retain just the right amount of water, while still releasing enough moisture.
If you have loamy soil with a warm season grass, give your lawn a good soaking of water once a week, and perhaps just cool it off if the grass is under stress from extreme heat. The norm is 25mm of water per week. Place a container in each of the sprinkler zones and determine how long it takes to fill the container up to 25mm. This is the amount of time you’ll have to irrigate each zone once a week. It’s better to give more water in one session to force the roots to grow down to a deeper level, than giving a little water every day.
Cool season lawns need more frequent, shallower watering, as their root systems are not as deep as some of the warm season lawns.
Water early in the morning as this is the coolest time of the day and there will be less evaporation. You’ll lessen the chances of your lawn contracting a disease if it dries before nightfall.
Water spots where pets have urinated immediately, or at least more frequently, using a watering can or hose.
*Tip An easy way to tell if your lawn needs water is to walk on it. A healthy lawn feels soft under your feet. If the lawn feels crusty and it breaks when you rub your hands over the top of it, it’s not getting enough water.
How often should I mow, and at what height?
wn grows really fast and there is a lot of leaf development and growth then you may have to mow your lawn more than once a week.
The biggest mistake made in lawn care is cutting the lawn too short. It’s important never to cut off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade in one go and also to keep mower blades sharp.
Keep kikuyu at a height of 4–6cm above ground. Finer grasses such as cynodon, at a height of 3–4cm. LM lawn and cool season lawns at a height of 5–7cm. This results in deeper roots which are more capable of surviving dry spells.