One of the most common lawn-maintenance problems our tenants face is dry patches, especially over the summer months. We asked The Lawn Doctor for some advice on keeping your lawn patch free through the warmer months.
Dry patches can be caused by one, or a combination of, the following:
If your reticulation system isn’t providing adequate coverage, you will get patchy lawn growth. You need to do a sprinkler audit to make sure each sprinkler head is working efficiently. If you’re watering your lawn twice a week, your sprinklers need to be providing a minimum of 15 mm of water (or 20 mm during a heat wave).
The easiest way of checking how much water is being delivered is to place a few aerosol caps around your lawn and measure how much is pooled at the end of watering. If it isn’t enough you’ll need to increase your limit. Increasing the time spent watering per station is perfectly fine, as long as it happens during your allocated watering days.
2. Hydrophobic soils
This type of soil actually repels water and doesn’t allow for it to be evenly distributed. You can check to see if your soil is hydrophobic by cutting a 100 mm square portion from the stressed area. If it looks drier than a healthy patch of lawn, it is repelling water. You can remedy this by using a wetting agent.
Lawns can become stressed due to under/overfertilising and too-vigorous mowing. The Lawn Doctor suggests fertilising every 6 to 8 weeks and keeping lawn mowed above 20 mm (or more in the shade).
4. Pests and fungus
Black beetle and funguses can also cause problems in your lawn. The easiest way to check if you have a beetle problem is to soak an area of lawn (a metre square) by putting the nozzle of the hose under the soil for a few minutes. If you see beetles floating to the top, you may have a problem. The Lawn Doctor can help with suitable pesticides and fungicides.
5. Compacted soil
Over time soil becomes compacted. The best way to treat this is by aerating soil with a pitchfork. Stick the prongs into the lawn and work the fork backwards and forwards.