After a pretty slow start following an uncommonly wet and cold winter spring is now in full bloom! Your temperate grasses will be growing significantly faster and the subtropical species such as kikuyu and couchgrass will also be starting to flourish in response to increasing temperatures and longer daylight hours.
I've once again compiled a list of some pointers that could require attention over the following month. Please note that these tips are specific for the type of lawn described. For instance treatments that are intended for warm season grasses such as kikuyu and couchgrass do not apply to other cool season or temperate turf varieties;
- October and November are the months when grasses tiller (or replicate) most prolifically. Tillering is an important process because it effects the density of your lawn. A dense lawn means less weed invasion because these unwanted guests colonise gaps in the sward. From a management perspective this means that it is advisable to increase the mowing frequency at this time of the year.
- If you are harvesting more litter then this means you need to add more nutrients so it is recommended to fertilise your lawn now using a slow release fertiliser such as Turf Gold.
- A flush of germinating broadleaf weeds normally accompanies Spring. Therefore it is recommended to selectively remove these species from your lawn at this time as it gives the remaining grasses adequate time to re-colonise those areas before the onslaught of summer. For cool season grasses such as ryegrass, fine fescue, tall fescue, NZ Browntop and Kentucky Bluegrass I recommend using either the ingredients Triclopyr and Picloram (found in products sold under the names as Triumph, Victory, Tordon Gold and Tordon Brushkiller) or products that contain Mecoprop, Dicamba & MCPA (found in products such as Broadsword) If applied at the specified label rate these products will be effective at selectively removing the vast majority of dicotyledenous plants (broadleaf weeds & clovers) without effecting the grasses.
- Do not use these products on warm season grasses such as kikuyu or couchgrass. For these species either Atrazine or Banvine (2,4-D & Dicamba) should be used at the recommended label rates.
- Still keep a watch out for any signs of the fungal disease red thread which is often prevalent at this time of the year. If observed then immediately apply a nitrogen rich standard release fertiliser such as Turf Supreme, keep mower blades sharp and restrict traffic on the lawn which will help to prevent its' spread.
- I recommend treating lawns for the control of Black Beetle larvae towards the end of October. The larvae live within the top 25mm of the soil and chew the roots of desirable plants such as turf grasses. The result is that these plants tend to die when exposed to hot dry conditions in summer because they have a severely depleted root mass and as such they are not able to uptake sufficient moisture to meet plant requirements. Unfortunately the introduction of new regulation means that Pyriphos is only able to be sold to persons that possess an "Approved Handlers" certificate. However, Finelawn can arrange this treatment for you. Remember that to be effective a minimum of 25mm of moisture needs to be applied within 7 days of application.