Getting your lawn ready for Christmas

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 18 December 2019 

With an unprecedented string of 40 degree plus days, and with Christmas looming, many South Australian gardeners are struggling to keep their lawn alive so what are some ways that you can keep your lawn alive, well and looking good for Christmas?

Without a doubt, its all about moisture management.

In South Australia, most people either have a couch, a kikuyu or a buffalo lawn. These types of lawns are called Warm Season Grasses and as the name suggests, are right at home in temperatures we receive during summer. Hot weather can’t effect these lawns  - they thrive in it so extreme heat doesn't phase them. What will phase them in hot dry weather is a poor level of moisture in the soil. Poor soil moisture leads to patchy lawns which often gets confused with lawn beetles and fungus problems. From years of diagnosing patchy lawn problems, I can confidently say that the lions share of issues arise because of water repelant soils. 

If you ensure that you have a good level of moisture to 75mm below the surface of your lawn, a heat wave like this won’t affect it. The lawn's roots will draw on the water in the soil and it will be business as usual.

The trouble is that it is can be very hard to get water down deep where it is needed. The biggest tip I can give you here is – don’t assume your soil is wet down to this level just because you watered your lawn. It’s a logical assumption but none the less, one that can lead to trouble.

The solution is to apply a liquid wetting agent such as Paul Munns Betta Wet.  It will have instant effects and your lawn will respond almost immediately. 

With that said, following are my tips that you can do this weekend to get your lawn prepared for Christmas:

  • Apply a liquid wetting agent and water in well (during the cool part of the day)
  • Give your lawn a good drink. Now that you've applied a wetting agent, you'll be able to get water down to 75mm below the surface where its needed. Repeat this watering 2 days later. 
  • Replace any bare areas with some instant turf. Its not too late to order some for Monday or Tuesday next week
  • Fertilise with a liquid fertiliser. With Christmas only days away, liquid fertilisers act much faster than solid ones. 
  • Mow and trim the edges to neaten up what's already there.

One last tip.... If you notice that your lawn is going a blue grey colour, then turns to brown, it means it's running out of water. Even if it's the middle of the day and it's 40 degrees outside, give your lawn a drink. Many people believe that you can't water during the heat of the day for fear that the water might heat up and burn the lawn. This is not true. Obviously watering during the middle of a hot day isn't the ideal time however in an emergency it will prevent your lawn from dieing back further from moisture stress. 


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