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March 28, 2007

Secret lawn fertiliser recipe

green lawn.jpg
If you were told that you could make your own lawn fertiliser using only 5 household products, what would you think? And, what if you were told that this home-made recipe was good enough to make your lawns really green - greener than the neighbours, in fact?

Now that you're tuned in, what if I went a step further and said that the recipe was developed by a former golf course greenkeeper? Would you be a little interested in at least finding out what the five ingredients were? Would you even consider trying the recipe and at least testing it on the neighbours patch of turf first?

Well, the suspense is over as Paul from Wise Bread lifts the lid on a secret tonic that will help your grass grow during the spring growing season. Here's the recipe;

* One full can of regular soft drink (any kind-no diet soda)
* One full can of beer (no light beer)
* 1/2 Cup of Liquid dishwashing soap (do NOT use anti-bacterial dishwashing liquid)
* 1/2 Cup of household ammonia
* 1/2 Cup of mouthwash (any brand)

Mix all this together in a hose-end sprayer and drench your lawn with it, applying every 3 weeks or so when the high temperatures hit.

How does it work?

  • The liquid soap is a wetting agent, helping the formula penetrate the roots.

  • The ammonia promotes growth and turns your lawn green.

  • The mouthwash does something you would never suspect mouthwash would do. It kills the bugs and grubs.

  • The soft drink is high in acid which invigorates new growth, and

  • The beer is full of natural acids that will promote root growth and should stabilize the soil

So you might be able to walk past the fertiliser aisle this season without being tempted by all the green advertisements, confident that your secret lawn fertiliser recipe is doing the job.

November 18, 2006

Ortho Weed-B-Gon Crabgrass Killer

I'm not a big fan of chemical sprays and would much rather find an organic alternative to controlling lawn weeds than reaching for the shelf. But when even the best organic alternatives can't rid your lawn of the worst weeds then it's time to find something that will.

Scott's have now produced a new crabgrass killer under the Ortho brand name which is guaranteed not to harm your lawn (if used as per the directions) but will destroy not only your crabgrass but also dallisgrass, barnyardgrass, goosegrass, sandbur, vaseygrass, bull paspalum, foxtail and other grassy weeds. It comes in a handy trigger spray that doesn't require mixing and can be safely stored in your garden shed.

Applying Weed-B-Gon Crabgrass killer is a matter of aiming to the centre of the weed and spraying lightly. Within 5-7 days the crabgrass should be completely dead while more established weeds may take a second application. It's best to apply in spring and summer and the warmer the temperature the faster the result will be.

Those gardeners with bigger crabgrass problems than a mere 700ml (24oz) spray bottle can purchase Weed-B-Gon in a 480ml (1pint) concentrate that should do about 640sqm (2100 sq.ft) which can be mixed up in a tank sprayer and applied in a similar way.

October 17, 2006

How to turn green lawn - brown: Mow short

green lawn brown mow short
Take a look down any street and you will instantly notice varying colours of lawn creating a patchwork effect. Brilliant greens, spotty limes and the occassional rusty brown.

Whoever said it " always greener on the other side..." obviously didn't understand the mowing patterns of our neighbours.

To most people mowing is a chore. And chores are performed as seldom as possible. Therefore, the average homeowner would much rather mow their lawn as low as they can in order to achieve a greater time period between the next mow. Great theory: Poor Practice.

The lower you mow the lawn the greater chance you're creating opportunity for your lawn to suffer. Less green blades means less photosynthesis. Less photosynthesis means deprivation of chlorophyll and eventually your lawn's health deteriorates.

Maintain a good coverage of green on your lawn and it will actually save you more time in the long term. Why? Because it will be healthier and more able to repair and feed itself. It won't require mobs of maintenance and troubleshooting.

October 16, 2006

Lawn tips from the professionals

professional-golf-green.jpg The best advice always comes from those who have what you want. So, if it's a green lawn that mimics that of a golf course or a baseball park then who better to tune into than the person who runs the show.

Justin Johnson, the 25 year old head groundsperson at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, lawn is his life. So,when he gives some tips on how to make your home lawn as good as his stadium's grass then it may be worth paying attention. Here's 7 tips to help you on your way;

  1. Try to get your grass as healthy as possible in the spring.
  2. Raise the height of the mower to promote the development of a deeper root system. Lower the height heading into autumn.
  3. Don't water it every day, which would be too much.
  4. If grass goes dormant, hit it with a lot of water to get it growing again.
  5. Fertilize, fertilize, fertilize.
  6. Alternating mowing patterns at home, which stands up the grass in different directions.
  7. And remember: "Every lawn is different so there is no set scenario. And with a lot of people it all depends on how much time you want to put into it," Johnson said.

August 9, 2006

The Ultimate Low-Maintenance Mower: Sheep

sheep-grazing.jpg If the thought of mowing a large acreage has held you back from buying your perfect property then it may be time to reconsider. One couple in Woolwich Township have replaced most of their mowing with a flock of sheep.

The sheep, kept at a ratio of 5 per acre, tend the lawn by grazing through it and fertilising along the way. They appear to be the quietest lawn maintainer about, apart from this automatic mower. They don't require a docking station to recharge and they don't have batteries which eventually need replacing.

And while the lawn may not end up like your proverbial putting green, it will remain neat and tidy providing the sheep are left on their own.

There are other benefits too. They can provide wool for your clothing and food for the table. And if you have young children at home, this is one lawn mower they will be able to play with.

July 27, 2006

Your lawn will only look as good as your lawn mower

It's not that your lawn mower has to look good - it just needs to be good! You would never dream of having your hairdresser chop and hack at your hair with a pair of cheap, blunt scissors because you know that it couldn't possibly result in a good hair cut. The same rule applies to your lawn. Buy a cheap mower or allow your blades to remain blunt and you will need to expect that the condition of your lawn will never be fantastic.

Kathy Kemp from the Birmingham News attests to this philosophy in her article, The way your lawn looks may depend on type of mower used. Kathy even points out that the method you employ to mow your lawn may be jeopardising the look you're trying to attain.

Mow too fast and you may cause the mower to bounce resulting in missed spots or parts that become scalped.

July 19, 2006

How does a golf course keep their lawn green?

lawn golf green
Finding a green lawn isn't that hard if you live near a golf course. And, who better to learn the tricks of the trade from but a greenkeeper. Their life is dedicated to the daily routines of maintaining a perfect lawn especially around putting greens.

There's a great article about Lee Park Golf Course's general manager, Gary Nelson. Titled Keeping a course it describes Nelson's daily activities where mowing occurs - every day!

July 8, 2006

The best lawn fertilizer tips for all seasons

fertilized my lawns last weekend, in the middle of winter. It may seem preposterous to some but if you want to look after your lawn and not just prop it up every spring it might be worth considering.

Think of your lawn like your body. If you were to stop exercising during winter, eat hearty meals and drink lots of hot chocolates you'll find that the body you had last spring is no longer in shape. Then spring comes and you have to work extra hard to produce the desired result.

Your lawn is the same. Look after it throughout all the seasons and it will continue to look great and remain less onerous to maintain.

Fertilizing a lawn is like feeding it. Give it too much of one thing and you will start to see problems. Too much nitrogen and the roots will struggle to keep up with the blade growth. Too much phosphorous and your roots will grow so well you will struggle with thatch. So each season demands different fertilizer types to be fed well.

When applying lawn fertilizer, use a spreader if you're not an able broadcaster and water in immediately after the application.

Continue reading "The best lawn fertilizer tips for all seasons" »

June 17, 2006

The best time to water your lawn

best lawn time water
Water is a precious commodity and lawns are the biggest users of it. Why? Firstly because they have a huge surface area obviously requiring more water to keep it healthy. Also, due to the surface area it means that evaporation can occur much more rapidly than from shrubs or foliage plants.

Lawns are also unable to be mulched whereas a garden bed can be and will slow down the evaporation and therefore necessity of more water. This is why many people are replacing their lawns with garden beds or laying more paving.

Here's a quick guide for watering frequencies that may be useful for you. I will substitute the month names for season times so that it can be interpreted by gardeners in any part of the world. You may have to adjust this for your own gardening zone but at least it will give you a rough idea.

Month Frequency
Summer #1 Every 2nd day
Summer #2 Every 2nd day
Summer #3 Every 2nd day
Autumn #1 Every 3rd day
Autumn #2 Every 5th day
Autumn #3 No watering
Winter #1 No watering
Winter #2 No watering
Winter #3 Once per fortnight
Spring #1 Once per week
Spring #2 Every 4th day
Spring #3 Every 3rd day

As I mentioned before, you will need to tweak this to suit your own climate but if you follow the pattern it will give you some good watering guidelines.

Once you've adopted a watering frequency plan the next step is to plan for the best time to water your lawn. The worst time is in the heat of the day for as I stated previously the surface area will allow evaporation to occur quite rapidly. You will find that the water you are pouring on will almost immediately be evaporated and won't help your lawn at all. In fact, it may even harm your lawn by burning the tips of the blades.

The best times to water your lawn is early in the morning or after sunset. I would recommend early in the morning as watering before it goes dark may cause some problems with mildew. These times are the best because they allow the roots to take up the required moisture without having to compete with the sun.

June 10, 2006

How to lay turf

Like any project in life there is an easy way and a hard way to achieve a great end result. The hard way is to make many mistakes along the way and then try and rectify them later on. The easy way is to do it right the first time. If you follow these steps you're sure to have installed your lawn well and then it's time to hit the hammock and rest those weary muscles.

Step 1. - Ground Preparation

The critical ground preparation

This is the 'make or break' situation. If you don't prepare the soil before you lay your turf you'll create a whole heap of problems later down the track.

  • Eliminate any weeds
  • Remove any roots, rocks or building refuse
  • Make sure there are no hidden surprises lurking below the surface such as broken soak wells, cracking pipes etc

Step 2. - Levelling

Using a turf rake level the sand and feeding mix

The next step in installing your lawn is to add some builder to the soil. Many soil centres sell a product called "Top Dressing Mix" which is meant for rejuvenating established lawns. It is usually a mix of chicken manure, coarse sand and peat or sawdust. In this case I would recommend that you add this to the soil as you are levelling it. It will add so much nutrient to the soil and readily feed the lawn rolls.

When levelling the soil make sure it slopes away from any structures to allow heavy runoffs. Also keep in mind that you need to bring it below any coverings such as paving bricks or concrete pads bearing in mind that it will grow another 2-3cm in height.

Step 3. - Laying the Turf

Start laying from the longest corner

Once your soil is levelled and prepared well it's time to start laying the rolls of turf. Start from the longest corner and work down the longest side. Use a brick pattern effect so that the ends of each roll don't butt onto each other creating a single line. The brick pattern gives the turf strength as the lawn begins to set its roots into the soil during its early days.

Step 4. - Check the Turf Edges

Ensure the edges don't have gaps

If the edges have come apart or their are some that have scorched while they've been laid then cover over with a little 'Top Dressing Mix' or coarse yellow sand.

Step 5. - Watering

Start watering immediately

The key ingredient for a successful start to your rool on turfis to get the watering happening immediately. If it doesn't happen soon after laying you will find that turf will begin to show signs of stress and will struggle to adapt quickly to its new environment.

True Blue Turf have a great watering schedule for your new lawn and also once its been established for a while.

June 2, 2006

8 Steps to growing a "greener" lawn

green lawn
I was inspired by this recent article, Detoxing Green Velvet where Amanda MacMillan shared her 8 steps to a greener lawn. I'm going to use her headings but expand a little more on the key ideas.

  • Don't buy or use synthetic pesticides - this goes without saying. Even if you're not deliberately trying to be "green" when it comes to your lawn you still shouldn't use synthetic pesticides. There are better ways to do this after you've identified your lawn weed.
  • Use least-toxic pest control - if organic methods aren't working for you to eradicate your pest problems then try using products that have the least toxicity. The most toxic brands cn actually just be overkill and a waste of money.
  • Use organic compost instead of fertilizer - this isn't that hard to do. Even using diluted worm castings as a liquid fertiliser in the spring months will greatly improve the green-ness of your lawn and build its structure.
  • Choose an alternative lawn cover - there are so many options that gardeners aren't just limited to turf. Prostrate herbs, dandelions, dichondra etc are all great options that don't even require mowing.
  • Grow your lawn at least three inches tall - this is a great tip for those guys who don't enjoy mowing. The longer you keep your lawn the less it needs to be mown. Keeping your lawn higher has a lot of benefits including requiring less fertilisers as the lawn isn't in a constant state of high growth.
  • Choose tools made from sustainable wood or recycled plastic and rubber, not PVC - makes sense! This may be a little hard to achieve for manay gardeners as these types of tools are usually substantially more expensive than their counterparts. It takes a long-term view to actively seek these products out.
  • Buy garden and lawn furniture made with FSC-certified wood from well managed forests - I'm guessing the FSC-certification is a US deal but in each country there would usually be standards that wood manufacturers would need to adhere to regarding the sourcing of materials. Buy from these guys.
  • Retire your gas-powered lawn mower - this is a great tip. If you've been reading some of LMR's posts you'll have seen a trend towards new robotic and electric mowers that are far better on the environment.

May 23, 2006

Identifying lawn weeds

identifying lawn weeds
The first step in the battle against lawn weeds is the process of being able to identify them. And without knowing what they are you won't be able to diagnose a solution to eliminating them from your lawns. Once we've identified these lawn weeds we can begin to find solutions to removing them and hopefully keeping them from returning to our lawns.

While identifying lawn weeds is the aim of this post I also hope to give you some alternatives to eradicating and controlling them. Any gardener can pour a heap of chemical onto the problem and hope it will sort itself out but there are other measures that can be taken including organic remedies.

Continue reading "Identifying lawn weeds" »

May 3, 2006

Reseeding your receding lawn

lawn reseeding
A tired and worn out lawn can sometimes appear to be a chore that just won't disappear. While it seems that procrastination may be the key, hoping the longer you leave it may just be enough time for it to repair itself. I'll let you in on a little won't!

Once a lawn becomes tired and dead spots begin to appear, it's time to take evasive action. There are many options, that you can pursue, which I will discuss further on, but for the most part reseeding your lawn is a great option. If you're living in the northern hemisphere now is the best time as spring is the perfect season to start sorting out your lawn problems. If you decide to reseed, depending on your lawn type, you may have it covered within this growing season.

Continue reading "Reseeding your receding lawn" »

April 17, 2006

Lawn Snobbery

I always thought lawn snobs were other people!

You know the ones I'm talking about. If the lawn hasn't been mown in the past 2 days, it's getting a little too long; weeds never see the light of day and 40L bags of fertiliser are stacked in the shed in case of emergencies. They have edge trimmers, brushcutters, and a selection of mowers that can handle just about anything. And, they have signs on the verge warning you that this is a REGISTERED LAWN and should you fail to heed the warning and step onto their crisp blades of green - you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

In my teen years, I always desired to drive my hotted up XF Falcon across those lawns leaving an indelible stamp of unnaproval on these lawn snobs.

Today, it's different. I'm actually facing the realisation that I'm one of those hated snobs. No. I don't have signs on the verge and I can wait a week before I feel compelled to bring the mower out. The problem is just that - I can't bring my mower out because the engine died just before Christmas and it's at the repair shop.

I had to HIRE a mower!! Yuk! It would be the same as having to wear someone else's undies. There are things you just don't do.

To make matters worse - it was a rotary mower. My poor blades of Sir Walter. It took massive chunks out of my grass taking great delight in ruining the lawn I've been tendering for the past 12 months. Did I mention I HATE rotary mowers? I have a new philosophy on life - if you don't have a reel mower, use pea gravel.

OK. I admit it. I'm a lawn snob. name's Stuart and I haven't cut my lawn for 2 days now.....

April 11, 2006

A Lawn Aerator for maintaining your lawn

The concept behind aerating your lawn is fairly simple. It rejuvenates your lawn by removing areas of thatch, making your soil less compact and allowing your lawn to less restrictive for water penetration.

Over the life of your lawn you will notice that its continual growth will cause some of these problems to become apparent. Left alone and ignored your lawn will eventually die or struggle to grow and will show signs of stress. Before these signs become visible and the view of your lawn detracts from your garden you will need to provide some maintenance with te use of a lawn aerator.

But which one should you use? Take a look at some of these examples.

Continue reading "A Lawn Aerator for maintaining your lawn" »

  • Stuart Robinson
  • Busselton, Australia
  • Email Me

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