Getting your lawn looking good for summer

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 3 November 2013 

Lawns across Adelaide are looking good thanks to a wetter than average winter followed by warm but not excessively hot conditions through spring.

However, how you treat your lawn in the next few weeks will largely determine how the stand looks like for the rest of the growing season.

In most gardens, lawns have responded to favourable conditions by producing lush green vigorous growth. However, as temperatures rise and the top soil dries out, growth will return to normal and don’t be surprised if the grass loses its lush green look and turns a little pale.

This is a signal that experienced gardeners have been waiting for. This is the time to fertilise the lawn and check the stand for weeds and lawn beetles.

Where possible, fertilising should coincide with the end of the season flush of spring growth.

Right diet

Selecting a lawn fertiliser is a bit like looking at a smorgasbord. The choice can be bewildering.

The key elements in a sound lawn diet are

Nitrogen (N) – stimulates growth and produces dark green leaves.

                             Beware. Too much nitrogen results in excessive growth, higher water use and extra mowing.

                               Choose a product with medium to high levels of N.

Phosphorus (P) – encourages root growth but most soils with established lawns have good levels.

                               Beware. Adding phosphorus will stimulate weed seeds to grow.

                               Choose a product with no or very little phosphorus.

Potash (K) – regulates water balance, increases tolerance to heat, drought, cold and disease.

                               Choose a product with medium to high levels of K.

Registered lawn products must identify the main elements they contain on the outside of their container. Look for a contents box stating the percentage of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potash (K).

Lawn fertiliser guide (only)


Manufactured fertiliser (%)

Organic fertiliser (%)

Nitrogen (medium to high)



Phosphorus (low)



Potash (medium to high)




Manufactured fertilisers are usually concentrated (levels are higher than organic) and readily available to plants.

Organic fertilisers usually have low to medium nutrient levels and they are released slowly and over a longer period.

Spreading rate (guide only, check label rates)

Manufactured fertilisers – 1-2kg per 10 square metres.

Organic fertilisers – 2-4kg per 10 square metres.

Fertiliser should not be applied to dry soil.


Apply 10-15mm of water 12 hours before spreading (or after 10mm of rain).

After spreading, water again for a further 10 to 15 minutes to soak nutrients into the lawn’s root zone

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