A beautiful green lawn is a key part of landscaping. Not only is it the focal point for your property, but can also create a relaxing space or a place for children to play. Julie Greaves from Aberfeldy Nurseries recommends homeowners follow these simple steps to ensure a lush healthy lawn.
If you’re starting from scratch and planting your own, Greaves recommends choosing the right grass type for the location being planted as something that works in another environment won’t necessarily work for Bermuda. Keep in mind that the time of the year you decide to do so will have an impact. Temperatures at night should be above 65 degrees—typically between April and May would be an ideal time to plant a new lawn.
Also, preparing your soil beforehand will ensure that you grow a healthy lawn. Apply a light coat of fertilizer and make sure your soil is in good condition.
To maintain your lawn looking fresh and green, procedures such as watering, fertilising and mowing play a vital part. Newly planted lawns should be watered once a day, preferably in the morning. Gradually cut back from daily watering to get the lawn to maintain itself and then during droughts water once a week to maintain the colour.
“Implementing a proper fertilisation programme will keep grass healthy and minimise weeds,” says Greaves. “Irrigate when necessary, especially through periods of drought, to prevent stress and scout for pests and diseases as part of the regular maintenance. Lastly, lawns need to be mowed regularly to maintain their look—ideally keep the height to about 0.5 inches to 1.5 inches and use well-maintained equipment with sharp blades to ensure a clean cut.”
An adult chinch bug
Bermuda experiences a couple of lawn issues that you should be on the look out for, Greaves warns. “In particular, the once chinch bug-resistant hybrid St. Augustine grass Floratam is now being severely affected by the chinch bug.
Floratam grass was developed by a couple of universities in the US back in the ’70s and quickly became the grass of choice for warm climates. Unfortunately, it has now lost the resistance to the chinch bug.”
The chinch bug feeds at the base of the blade of grass and can potentially destroy a whole lawn. It has a black body with white wings and when populations are high it is easy to spot them.
The infested lawn displays brown patches, which usually begin as circular in shape. The damage usually shows up in water-stressed areas, typically along the edges of the lawn along driveways. “It is important to be on the lookout for any signs that your lawn is experiencing any problems or is in distress,” says Greaves. “Get a correct diagnosis and seek out professional help if necessary. And don’t let the problem progress too much if possible.”
A brown or dead lawn can really throw off your landscaping—healthy green grass always creates a nice look and an inviting environment. Taking the time to care for your lawn on a regular basis will ensure that it keeps its healthy look for years to come.
A St. Augustine grass lawn with a chinch bug infestation