Lawns need sunlight, water, oxygen, and nutrient to thrive. In this blog, we are getting back to the lawn care basics and looking at what it is you need to do to provide these key elements to your lawn so it can flourish.

Aeration – Your lawn needs air!

We talk about lawn aeration a lot and for good reason. If your soil can’t absorb oxygen, or water and nutrient effectively, the roots of your lawn will always struggle. This means your lawn will never be as healthy as it can be.

A compacted, hard soil base caused by high clay composition or excessive wear needs to be addressed and aeration is your first point of call. There are a few different ways to aerate your lawn, with both solid and hollow tine options.

Soil Composition

Soil is the foundation or bed for your grass to grow on.

Following core aeration with a top-dress of soil amendments can be ideal in addressing soil composition issues or for pH rectification. The best soil for lawns and gardens is a mineral rich loam soil, made of kaolin clay, silt, sand and humus. Sandy ground repels water and does not hold onto moisture, nutrients and a lot of the valuable humus also washes away in winter rains. By adding a product with these ingredients (like Soil solver Clay Plus) to our WA sandy soil, you will guarantee an immediate, great result!

If your lawn hasn’t been performing as you would like, it might be best to test your soil’s pH.

Fertilising – Your lawn needs nutrients!

Grass is like any other plant – It takes in nutrients and air through the soil and sunlight through the leaves for photosynthesis where the conversion to sugars and energy takes place.

It is the job of lawn fertilisers to keep this in balance and help provide your lawn with essential nutrients.

The three numbers on the side of most lawn fertilisers represent the value of the three macro-nutrients required for your lawn. These three macro-nutrients are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium – NPK

  • (N) Nitrogen – Nitrogen is largely responsible for the growth of leaves on the plant and is the most talked about nutrient when it comes to lawns. Lawns love Nitrogen, but it is important to strike a balance between strong leaf growth and strong roots capable of supporting it as well. This is where Phosphorus comes in.
  • (P) Phosphorus – Phosphorus is largely responsible for root growth and is quite a low percentage of the overall NPK ratio, so some is needed but not a great amount.
  • (K) Potassium – Potassium is a nutrient that helps the overall functions of the plant perform correctly. It also helps the plant to use Nitrogen more efficiently.

If you are looking for a slow-release feed for your lawn for the entire season, then granular fertilisers like Knights Special Mix are the way to go.

There are also liquid fertilisers like Exceed. These fertilisers are foliar, so the nutrient is absorbed and taken in through the leaf. These fertilisers are much faster acting, so they are good for when you are looking for a quick boost.

How to water your lawn

Water is another essential for your lawn. Water is fundamental for grass to transport nutrients, maintain cell structure and for it to create its own food through the process of photosynthesis.

The highest amount of water you will ever need to apply to your lawn is during establishment. Once established, it is best to only water your lawn as it needs.

It’s important to understand that when you are watering, you are watering the soil. While some water is absorbed through the leaf, most of it is absorbed through the roots.

When you water your lawn, do so for longer, less frequently. This will encourage deeper roots that can delve deeper into the soil to find moisture. This will allow your lawn to stay hydrated for longer, even if there has been an extended period without rain.

Make sure your sprinkler can cover the lawn evenly, regardless of whether it’s a manual shift or automatic sprinkler system. Lawn Doctor offer Free Catch Cups for you to assess the coverage of your retic system.

Sunlight

Just like all plants, sunlight is an essential for your lawn. Sunlight allows grass to produce the food your lawn needs to survive through the process of photosynthesis. Glucose, otherwise known as sugar, is produced by the grass, and is used as food to help your lawn grow. Without sunlight, your lawn will not be able to produce glucose, causing the grass to thin out and die.

Grass also uses sunlight to produce a pigment called Chlorophyll. Chlorophyll absorbs light at two different wavelengths, blue light, and red light while reflecting green light. When light is present chlorophyll can then be produced.

In winter when there is less sunlight available, many types of grass will start to lose their green colour and can turn brown. When this occurs, this does not mean that the lawn is dying, it is just not receiving enough light to produce chlorophyll.

If your lawn is in a shaded area, we recommend regularly pruning back any trees, bushes, and other foliage around the lawn. This will help increase the amount of sunlight your lawn receives.

If your lawn is shaded by the house or other structures, choose a shade tolerant turf variety that will be suited for your area. Sir Walter DNA Certified Buffalo tends to do the best in shaded areas due to its soft broad leaf. This broad leaf allows the grass to absorb more sunlight due to its larger surface area. Sir Walter DNA Certified can thrive in areas that receive as little as 3 to 4 hours of direct sunlight each day or speckled sunlight from trees for most of the day.