It's finally rained - What does this mean for your lawn?

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 29 May 2024 

It seems like ages since we’ve had any decent rain, and it's certainly nice to see the heavens finally open on the eve of Winter. So, what does this mean for your lawn? The benefits are considerable, albeit less so than if it had rained earlier in Autumn

Soils around Adelaide are remarkably dry, and these last couple of days of rain are hopefully a sign of more to come. If followed by further rains, it will potentially mean you can finally turn off your irrigation system. Beyond that, there are some other benefits that your lawn will appreciate. 

Rehydration and Recovery

One of the most immediate benefits of rain is rehydration, especially considering Adelaide's dry soils.  Just as we feel invigorated after a long drink of water, so too does your lawn. The moisture from the rain penetrates the soil, reaching the thirsty roots of your grass. This influx of water provides much-needed relief to lawns that may have been struggling to survive in the dry Summer and Autumn conditions. Because the rain has been so late this year, most lawns (couch, kikuyu and buffalo) are already well on their way into Winter dormancy, which means that you won’t see any noticeable improvement in lawn condition as a result. This doesn’t mean it isn’t beneficial; it simply means that your lawn won’t respond in a way that you may have expected had we received rain much earlier in the Autumn, with the exception of Kikuyu, which hasn’t completely gone into Winter dormancy yet. You may get a slight greening and growth spurt with kikuyu over the next couple of weeks before Winter well and truly sets in.  

Nutrient Redistribution

Rain also carries essential nutrients into the soil. During a dry spell, nutrients will have become concentrated near the surface or washed away entirely by irrigation or evaporation. Autumn rain helps redistribute these nutrients, ensuring that they reach the roots of plants where they are needed most. This nutrient replenishment is crucial for maintaining the health and vitality of your lawn as it prepares for the cooler months ahead.

Soil Cleaning

In the instance that this weeks rain is closely followed by some more, as the water percolates through the soil, it will leach away unwanted chemicals and salts that tend to once again build up near the surface, especially during extended periods of dry.  This will pay dividends in the Spring, when your lawn comes out of dormancy. To increase the soil cleaning potential of rain, apply 1kg per square metre of gypsum. One of the unknown benefits of gypsum is that it accelerates the leaching of salt from the soil – which your lawn will thank you for doing after a long period of dry.  

Weeds

While rain is undoubtedly beneficial for your lawn, it will also benefit unwanted guests—weeds. The moisture and nutrients provided by this rain will undoubtedly stimulate weed germination and growth, making it essential to remain vigilant in your weed control efforts. Consider applying a pre-emergent herbicide such as Spartan to prevent weed seeds from germinating. If you do get a decent germination, control the weeds with a selective herbicide such as Bow and Arrow or manually remove them as soon as they appear to prevent them from establishing a foothold in your lawn.

Is there anything else you should do?

Apart from weed control, and an application of gypsum - not really! I’d probably resist the urge to go out and fertilise given that your lawn is almost completely dormant. While you’ll get some results from fertilising now, you won’t see the typical effects such as greening and growth.  

If you’d like any help in managing your lawn, send us an email at info@paulmunnsinstantlawn.com.au or call on 8298 0555


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