The green grass of home

So summer is over and your kids (or grandkids, or even the dog) have had a good time playing on the back lawn and it’s looking a little worse for wear.

And, as autumn marches on, your lawn’s growth rate can slow and patches of brittle or limp grass can appear and it starts to look a little more brown than green.

If you are a proud home owner (and who isn’t?) the sight of a brown backyard can be upsetting. However, turf grower Anthony Muscat says there are a few simple things you can do to keep your grass green and your lawn in top shape over winter.

And they aren’t too tricky, Muscat says, even for those people who might be missing a green thumb.

“The best thing to do is just to lift your mower up just maybe one notch, so mow it slightly higher,” he says.

“And now is the most important time to fertilise your lawn. Because coming into winter, the soil is still warm and it needs to be fertilised two or three times. I always say once in March, once in April and once in May. Just to get it nice and thick before the winter – that will help it stay green and thick during the winter and at the same time, it will help block any weeds out.”

“A lot of people think it’s more important to fertilise in spring, but coming into winter it’s cooler, and most lawns go dormant, so it’s important to get it nice and thick before the winter to block the weeds out. That way you won’t have any weed problems through the winter.”

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Before winter starts make sure to keep your lawn fertilised

Another simple tip is to look at trimming back any trees in your backyard to let more light in and reduce the amount of shade on your lawn, which tends to inhibit grass growth.

“If you have got the opportunity to do that, just trim back the trees because if you can trim back a few branches it lets more light in, which will help it survive,” says Muscat. “That’s why I mentioned fertilising in autumn because that keeps it nice and thick in shady areas as well.”

Muscat recommends making friends with your local turf grower (and there are some in every capital city), who might be willing to come out to look at a distressed lawn, or recommend a local landscaper who can administer first aid. They can also recommend the best types of turf for your local climate.

He adds that a good choice for most suburban gardens is one of the soft-leafed buffalo varieties of turf, which stand-up to a decent amount of wear and tear and are still soft underfoot.

“They are also low maintenance and they have a nice thick mat so they block the weeds out,” he says.

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Your local turf grower can recommend the best type of turf for your yard

Sometimes, too, you might be battling issues with the existing grass in your yard and repairing it and fertilising it will never work properly – especially if you have soil or drainage issues. And, while it might sound like a dramatic solution to replace the existing grass and re-turf, it may not be as expensive as you might think.

“We do full lawn replacements around Sydney and there are a lot of lawns where I go out to look at replacing them and they are just weeds,” says Muscat. “It’s not that expensive to rip the whole lawn out and replace it, along with new soil. It generally costs around about $25-$30 a square metre. Most lawns are 50 square metres, so for $1500 or so you replace your whole lawn. That’s from start to finish.”

Another, cheaper option, he adds, is to simply patch the barren areas with smaller pieces of turf, available from your local hardware store.

‘You can buy a roll for about $12 a square metre and it might only be a small part that needs patching up and that can be something that people can do themselves as well,” Muscat says. “It’s not hard at all. Just dig up a little area at a time and patch it with new rolls.”

For more information about looking after your lawn or finding your local turf grower, visit turfaustralia.com.au.

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