Establishing a new lawn is not hard if you break this down into a series of logical steps. You also need to plan ahead to make sure that you have everything you need on hand for each stage of the process. Site preparation will vary depending on if you are purchasing turf for the first time or replacing turf. Turf replacement requires additional processes to make sure your new turf looks good and any remnants of your old turf does not show through.
Immediately after laying your turf or sowing seed, your care is important for the survival and success of your lawn or turfed area. Turf management practices including watering, mowing and fertilising need to be undertaken differently to standard practices to make sure your turf survives and grows. Carrying out such techniques will make sure your turf is on the right track.
Right at the outset, you need to decide whether to lay turf or plant seed. While it costs more to lay turf, it immediately gives you a full coverage of grass, which should be rooted down and useable with care within a few weeks. Seeding is cheaper, but requires a longer period of time before your lawn will have a complete grass cover. Seeding also carries the risk that bare soil could be washed away by heavy rain or eaten by birds before the new grass seedlings have had time to germinate and cover.
Healthy and attractive turfgrass can be achieved with the combination of correct turf management practices including fertilising, irrigation, mowing and pest control. Without adequate fertiliser, turfgrasses will tend to look thin and have poor colour; they may not respond to irrigation or mowing; and they can suffer more severely from pests and diseases. Weeds will also establish more easily into a under fed turfgrass, compared to an actively growing turfgrass.
Mowing should be as easy as watching grass grow. However, make sure you have the appropriate serviced mower, the correct cutting height applicable for different turf species and seasons, conduct routine mowing practices, do not scalp or mow more than one third (1/3) of the turf's leaf blade off at any time unless you are undertaking turf renovations.
There are several factors that influence irrigation requirements in lawns, including the turf species and variety planted, soil type, depth and quality, environmental parameters and the level of maintenance available. Most home-owners drastically over-water their lawn which causes more problems than under-watering. Overwatering is also wasteful, costly and damaging to the environment.
There has been considerable research and development undertaken over the last 30 plus years to provide more target specific pesticides at much lower rates of active ingredient, which are less persistent and often less toxic to both humans and non-target species. Pesticides, when used, should also be adopted as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program to demonstrate wider environmental awareness.
Nearly 10% of all new lawns are established by seed. New and improved species and varieties are continually being developed and released by overseas and Australian organisations. Lawn seed provides an alternative to vegetative turf and is well suited for smaller applications, repair work and where budget constraints may exist. It is important to know about what seed you are purchasing and if it suitable to meet your needs and environmental conditions.
The choice and depth of soil or turf underlay is paramount to achieving a quality lawn. Poor quality soils are regularly used or supplied for site establishment or maintenance (topdressing) of a lawn providing a headache for the homeowner or turf manager. Here we provide you with some helpful tips on what you should be using and where such material can be acquired.