We've had a dry but not particularly hot Summer. With some lingering warmth still around, this Easter is a great opportunity to prepare your lawn for Winter.
Most of Adelaide's lawns are Warm season lawns. Essentially this means that they grow during the warmer months and go dormant during the cooler months. TWhile soil temperature is rapidly dropping, he it's still warm enough at the moment to keep these lawns active which means they will still respond to your efforts to green them up and prepare them for winter
Over the next few weeks, as the weather cools, your lawn will start to slow down and go into Winter dormancy. With this in mind, right now you have a unique opportunity mid way through the Autumn to do some key things to ensure your lawn stays greener.
Raise your mower height
One thing you should do soon is raise your mower height – by one notch. This will leave more blades present on your lawn which will add to its overall greenness. It will also make it a lot less likely for you to scalp your lawn. Scalping is where you cut your lawn too low, effectively removing all the blades and leaving those familiar brown swirl marks from your mower. During the warm weather, your lawn will quickly recover from this because it is actively growing but because your lawn will virtually stop growing during the winter, it won’t be able to grow back any new blades till spring. My advice to you is within the next few weeks, raise your mower height by one notch and keep it on this setting till the end of September. As soon as Spring starts, take it down to where it was prior to winter.
If you haven’t already, fertilise your lawn. Fertilising in Autumn is an important thing to do now to help your lawn stay greener in Winter. It also gives your lawn some extra nutrient to store up during the Winter months which gives it something to get started on when it comes out of dormancy. This really makes a difference in the Spring. Use a mineral fertiliser high in potassium and phosphorous such as Paul Munns Emerald Green
Get ready for the weeds
The coming rain and imminent cooler weather will undoubtedly bring on a flush of weeds. Be ready to knock them down with some selective herbicide as soon as they appear so that they don’t become dominant. For broadleaf weeds, I’d suggest a selective broad leaf herbicide such as Yates Buffalo Pro. Buffalo is safe for use on most lawns including buffalo which is often more sensitive to chemicals than other lawns. For the best results while having less impact on the environment, avoid chemicals containing Dicamba. Dicamba is present in many common selective herbicides so its worth having a look at the active ingredients in the chemical that you buy.
While I'm on weeds, in most cases, it's not too late to apply some pre emergent herbicide such as Spartan. Using pre emergent herbicides like Spartan is a brilliant way that weed seeds don't get the chance to germinate in the first place. It's an especially good way to knock out winter grass. It is getting very late to do this so if you don't want to miss the boat, get on it now.
Adjust your watering schedule
As the weather cools down, you won’t need to water as much. If you have an automated irrigation system, reprogram your computer to compensate for the extra rain around – you don’t want to over do the water in Autumn and Winter as it will only lead to problems.
Rake off the Autumn Leaves
If your lawn is under a deciduous tree, rake up the leaves regularly. Excessive amounts of leaves can shade out your lawn but they can also encourage mosses and algaes to grow which isn't ideal for your lawn.
Fix up bare patches
If you have some bare patches in your lawn, it's an ideal time to oversow with some lawnseed. Seed like tall fescue and fine leaf rye will germinate now and keep your lawn green and full through winter. It's also a prime time to fill patches in with instant turf.
Outside of these things, your lawn will most likely take care of itself during winter with very little input from you. While warm season grasses go dormant during winter, they should not go brown (except if exposed to frost). If you do happen to notice irregular areas of lawn dying off, take a core sample and bring it down to us as soon as you can. We'll help you to understand wha'ts going on and how to fix it