Common Lawn Maintenance Problems
There are a number of grass varieties commonly found on lawns. Identifying the types of grass on your lawn, enables us to understand the potential of your lawn, as well as providing insight into its ability to withstand stressful conditions.There are many grass species available to suit different climatic and environmental conditions. Proposed use of the lawn, be it purely decorative or having to stand up to hard family wear, also influences the selection of suitable species. Your LawnFix technician can recommend the best species, or mix of species, for your lawn. All our seed is certified pure and weed free. We can over-sow existing lawns to improve turf cover or for new lawns we recommend hydro-seeding, to ensure optimum germination and rapid growth.
Weed seeds embedded in new top soil, carried by the wind and in bird droppings are invariably a threat to the health and appearance of your lawn if left unchecked. Unsightly, invasive weeds can choke the desired grass species whilst others, such as the prickly Onehunga weed are a plain nuisance and spoil the enjoyment of your lawn. Our technicians can identify problem weeds in your lawn and create a spray programme to eliminate most of them. Our exclusive “Lawn Doctor” machine applies selective sprays without spray drift. In warmer areas, Kikuyu grass can be highly invasive and is difficult to control. Complete area spraying and removal of dead tendrils is often the only way to overcome this problem.
The appearance of dead patches in your lawn is often an indication of burrowing insect pests destroying root systems. There are three types of Grass Grub strike at different times of the year and they can devastate a good lawn in a few weeks. Differing soils and climates can also encourage pests such as Black Beetle which can ruin your lawn. Your LawnFix Technician can provide you with a prevention programme or can deal to the little beasts if they are already at work. Your LawnFix technician is trained in the identification and eradication of insect pests.
Some diseases just turn up unexpectedly – brown patches may appear or reddish veins through the grass. Often greyish dull areas also become evident – fungal diseases often create these symptoms and require identification and specific treatment. Some lawn diseases are due to malnutrition and the lawn requires little more than regular feeding.
Surface and Sub-Surface Thatch
During the normal annual cycle of a lawn, even the healthiest ones accumulate large quantities of dead organic matter, usually in the form of grass clippings, which have not been removed. This organic matter will very quickly form a dense layer on the surface of the soil, and is known as thatch. Thatch reduces the amount of air and water into the soil which, as a consequence, results in a weakening of the grass plant and provides a perfect environment for the germination of moss and a cosy environment for fungal nasties. Surface thatch is the name given to a layer of organic material, i.e. grass cuttings, rotten leaves, just above the soil line. Surface thatch is one of the major causes of moss on a lawn and needs to be reduced. Spiking or raking has very little effect on surface thatch. Specialist scarification equipment is best employed to reduce this layer. Sub-surface thatch is similar to surface thatch, except the mat or thatch is found beneath the soil line. Sub-surface thatch reduces aerobic action in the soil as well as preventing nutrients from reaching the roots of the grass. Hydrophobic symptoms or LDS (localised dry spots) often occur. As a result the roots on lawns which suffer with sub-surface thatch are very close to the soil line, and as a consequence very weak. Wetting agents and reviving up the microbiology of the soil and nitrogen cycle are some options that your LawnFix Technician may advise.
Mosses can be found in a wide variety of situations, but on lawns they grow when grass growth is slow, the soil is wet, or there is high humidity. Excessive thatch on a lawn also provides the damp conditions on which moss thrives. When moss is present, it is often a sign that the grass in the lawn is not as healthy as it should be. At LawnFix we will investigate the cause of the moss growth, rather than simply tackle the moss which is present. This is because without addressing the cause, moss will simply reappear.
Soil Type and Structure
The topsoil of your lawn is a living mantel of soil microbia that live in the organic matter, processing and transporting nutrients to the roots of the lawn grasses. The depth and type (sand, silt, loam etc) will determine the correct management regime for your lawn. The subsoil beneath is also important as the porosity (drainage) will have a big affect on the leaching of nutrients or water-logging in some situations. The LawnFix Appraisal will identify what your lawn soil is about – depth, compaction, organic matter, structure, subsoil and if necessary, we collect samples and send them to a laboratory for nutrient status testing. Each lawn is unique – it is often a mistake to conclude that it is the same as your neighbours.
Sandy soils dry out faster than clay soils (which are at the other end of the scale). All plants will suffer from drought and die if there is no water! Whatever the soil type, most localities will suffer droughts and your lawn and valuable garden plants are at risk. Drought tolerant weeds snuff out weaker grasses and in a flash your lawn is a shambles! If you notice that your lawn is starting to change colour it is already too late! With a LawnFix Fully Automatic Irrigation System you can holiday at the beach and forget about it for weeks on end!!
Adverse Environmental Factors
There are a number of other environmental factors contributing to the current condition of your lawn, ie. amount of shade, presence and position of trees. We can identify these factors and discuss them with you.
Poor Mowing Practices
Most Kiwis cut their lawns too short. Some grass species are more adaptable to short cutting than others. Flat weeds love short grass and thrive in it – Moss also is much more invasive in closely cut areas. If you mow your lawns longer, it doesn’t mean more often! But it does mean less weeds and healthier grass. Lawn mowers – Wimbledon, Eden Park and all the pristine parks as well as golf greens use sharp well maintained expensive reel mowers. The rotary mowers that the rest of us use need to be kept sharp i.e. cut the grass not tear it off! If you use a mulching mower be careful that the thatch doesn’t build up too much and cause hydrophobic or dry patches – a correctly balanced fertiliser programme will help prevent this and take into account mulching or catching mowing. Most professional lawn mowing contractors do a great job – if you care for your lawn and keep it looking great they will take extra care too.