Brucie's Professional Lawn & Garden Care Tips

Professional Lawncare Advice 

A lovely healthy lawn provides a pleasant environment for your family and it's a safe and fun place for the kids to play. Lawns also provide a 'cooling zone' around your home, and they are one of the cheapest and most effective ways to cover areas surrounding your house.

Maintaining an attractive, weed-free and hardy home lawn that's also lawnmower-friendly, is actually quite easy. However, if your lawn is not exactly in good condition, don't despair. Getting it into great shape again is probably easier than you think.

Contact Brucies anytime for advice on how to make your lawn the best it can be.

Weed and feed

To keep your lawn looking its best keep up regular weed and feeding. Either organic or not I can solve your problems or assist with a plan.

The best way to get your lawn ready for summer is to feed it in spring. It will not only look green it will also be stronger against diseases, patchiness, moss and weeds. It will also help toughen it up for the onslaught of activities it's going to endure when the weather warms up.

As grass doesn't flower, it needs a different type of fertiliser from other garden plants - it's all about encouraging the 'leaves'. And with so many fertilisers on the nursery shelves designed especially for lawns, it can be confusing to know what each one does and which is the product for you. But don't worry, here we'll explain what they do and how to choose what's right for your lawn.

Organic lawn foods include products like Yates Dynamic Lifter and Organic Life, as well as blood and bone. These are natural products based on ingredients such as animal manures, seaweed, rock minerals and fish and these tend to slowly feed the grass over a period of several months.

Synthetic granular fertilisers like Shirley's No. 17 are chemical fertilizers which contain a mix of major and trace elements and are fast to green up the grass.

Combination fertilisers like Amgrow Organix Eco 88 and Munns Golf Course Green lawn fertilizer combine both organic and synthetic fertiliser ingredients in one product.

Slow release lawn foods include products like Scotts Lawn Builder, a granular fertiliser designed to release nutrients slowly.
Liquid hose-on fertilisers, such as Yates Liquid Evergreen Lawn Food and Garden King Nitrosol  Liquid Plant Food are the fastest acting of all the fertilisers. While they don't offer long term soil nutrition, they're great for that quick green up just before a party!

Whether you go organic, chemical, dry or liquid when choosing your lawn food, it's really up to you. The important thing to understand is the N:P:K ratio and you'll find that little chemical equation on the pack.

NPK is nothing complicated. The 'N' is for nitrogen - that gets the leaves green and growing. The 'P' is phosphorous, that'll make the roots grow strong and deep. And the 'K' is for potassium, which helps the grass cope with drought and resist disease.

What's important is the balance

Some lawn foods that are nearly all nitrogen (like the old fashioned favourite sulphate of ammonia) will cause turf to green up suddenly, resulting in a massive growth spurt in a very short time, but not encouraging a strong root system. The problem with these types of 'instant' lawn foods is that after the first mowing, most of the nutrients have gone and the growth diminishes. Quite often, they cause such fast and tall growth, the lawn will look scalped and scathed after mowing and this is the perfect condition for new weed growth, so these quick fixes aren't a good solution.

Instead, go for a balanced fertiliser which will encourage growth in all the right areas, both above and below ground. Look for an "all rounder" with an N:P:K ratio which is around 11 for nitrogen, 4 for phosphorus and 8 for potassium - slow and steady will definitely win this race. And remember that as long as you get that NPK balance right then the fertiliser you choose is up to you.

Useful Lawn Tips

If you like to apply different fertilisers in different seasons, use one that is higher in nitrogen in spring when the leaf growth is at its peak, and one that is higher in potassium in autumn to help toughen the grass for winter.

If you do use the old method of applying sulphate of ammonia, make sure you apply an organic fertiliser the next time. Constant use of high nitrogen fertiliser will increase the acidity of the soil, which is not good for the natural soil balance - all the earthworms will head next door to fertilise your neighbour's soil!

Applying lawn foods

To get the very best results from lawn fertilisers, you need to apply them the right way. But before you start spreading, follow these preparation tips:

1. If your soil is compacted, aerate the ground with a large garden fork to enable good penetration of the fertilisers. This is also good for water penetration.

2. Remove large-leaved weeds before they set seed over summer and make a permanent home in your lawn. You don't want your fertiliser to be feeding the weeds too. Cover bare patches of earth with some sand or lawn dressing to fill in the holes.

If your lawn is full of hard-to-remove weeds, try using a fertiliser that also contains a herbicide such as Yates Weed 'n' Feed or Osmocote Lawn Builder with Weedkill. But make sure it is suitable for use on the type of grass you have. Some herbicides will also kill buffalo lawns so, as always with chemicals, read the label first.

Water Wisely

The ideal time to fertilise a lawn is after good rainfall when the soil is wet. Some fertilisers may instruct you to water before application, whilst others will instruct that you should water after. Always follow the instructions.

Some lawn fertilisers such as Maxicrop Lawn Rejuvenator Granules include extra goodies such as wetting agents, which help the soil to absorb and hold moisture. Alternatively, you can buy wetting agents separately and add at the time of fertilising.

Spring lawn care

Keep your lawn looking good all year round by following the basic maintenance routine. These tasks are usually performed during early spring, just before the main growing season kicks in, but you can also perform them in autumn too. And the winter months are a good time to be on weed patrol.

Hedge and shrub trimming and pruning

Keep those hedges and shrubs in pristine condition.

Timing is everything. Some hedges need frequent trimming during the growing while others and shrubs have specific times to promote new growth and flowers.