Spring makes the most sense right? It’s the time of year when Winter is over and lawns are starting to grow, soil temperatures are warming up so why not get out there, give the lawn a bit of a mow, the edges a trim and kick start your lawn in the right direction with a bit of the weed and feed. Well, if that’s the way you have been doing it then what we have next may surprise you.
What’s happening in our soil in spring
There is a lot happening in our lawn and garden in particular, the soil ecosystem during Spring. The most notable things are, a little extra rainfall and soil temperatures start to warm up as the days get longer. The warming of the soil starts a huge number of different processes in our soil, microbes start to wake up in the soil and start turning nutrients into plant available forms. The lawns leaves start to photosynthesize more, requiring additional nutrients from the soil, this kickstarts the roots into action drawing nutrients and water from the soil. Insects hatch from their eggs and start to munch on your lawn’s roots. For many weeds in Australia, which are winter annuals, it’s actually the end of their season. So weeds such as bindii, dandelion and winter grass go into survival mode, creating flowers and throwing seeds through your lawn for you to deal with next year.
The weeds in your lawn and their lifecycle
The most common weeds in our lawns are things like bindii, cats-ear, wintergrass and dandelion. What they all have in common, and you may not have realised, is that they are annual weeds. This means they only live for part of the year and rely on spreading their seed as a means of survival. As a result, some of these weeds have become very good at it and produce literally thousands of seeds that will be spread around your lawn. As you can imagine a great way to reduce the weeds in your lawn next year is to prevent them from seeding.
When to kill weeds
For many weeds, like bindii, Clover and dandelion killing them before they seed is highly recommended. Herbicides like Bow and Arrow should be applied to the weeds when they are actively growing. Don’t worry, although your lawn isn’t growing these weeds are definitely growing throughout Winter. That means our best time to knock these weeds out is actually in the June to August period. This is after all the weeds that could pop up are present and before they go to seed.
For grass weeds like wintergrass and crabgrass controlling them means preventing them from coming up at all. So, the right time to apply a pre-emergent like Spartan is in late February for winter grass and early September for weeds like crabgrass or crows foot.
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When to fertilise your lawn
Fertilising your lawn in Winter only works with liquids applied directly to your leaf, so it’s no surprise that we need to wait for Spring when soil temperatures are suitable for microbe activity. Bacteria such as nitrosomonas and nitrobacter sit in your soil and breakdown ammonium into nitrate, a form that is available to the lawn. That’s why Spring is the perfect time to fertilise your lawn, breaking the dormancy experienced by the colder Winter weather. An added benefit at this time is lawns are more likely to use nutrition to spread sideways and develop roots as opposed to upright growth, so if you’re looking to increase density and health this is the perfect time.
Summer is also a great time to fertilise your lawn. During Summer your lawn is under a lot of stress from pests, diseases and drought (or recently flood) stress. It’s growing fast and just like a growing teenager it’s hungry so an addition of a controlled release fertiliser like Lawn Play All-Rounder can help the plant get all the nutrition it needs without creating a surge in growth.
Lastly an application of fertiliser in Autumn is recommended, this helps extend the growing season as well as increase the nutrients within rhizomes, this is very valuable come next Spring as the plant already has food it can use as soon as the soil temperatures hit the mark.
Sticking to a program
It’s a bit difficult to remember all the events on the lawn care calendar, weeds should be knocked out before Spring, winter grass should be sprayed for in Autumn before it even comes up. Fertiliser should be applied 3 times per year, with the right products of course.
That’s why we recommend you check out our lawn care programs and subscribe to our newsletter below which will give you the required reminders of what to do and when.
If you’re looking for fantastic advice on any aspect of lawn care then you should follow along on our YouTube channel, LawnFlix where our resident Lawn Genius shows you how to apply, how to calculate and just generally everything lawn related.
Thanks for reading this blog, if you have any questions feel free to reach out to us. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for well-timed lawn advice, because timing is very important in getting the best results for your lawn.