Readylawn After Care
How to look after your new Readylawn
Your lawn is already about a year old and has been through the early traumas of germination, weed infestations, pest and disease threats, and has been mown, brushed, sprayed, fed, watered and rolled until it has become strong and mature enough to transplant to your place.
All that’s required are some simple common-sense inputs to make the transition successful.
Below are some important pointers.
The turf mat and the soil beneath must be kept moist until the turf is well rooted in, but that does not mean it should be kept flooded. In summer this could mean watering at least once a day, but in winter you may not need to water at all.
- Apply water until it has penetrated the turf mat and the first 50mm of soil. (Lift the corner of a few rolls to check.)
- Watering in the early mornings is best, so the sward will dry fairly quickly, thus preventing the development of conditions in which fungal disease can thrive.
- Avoid watering in hot sunlight, and don’t allow the water to pond.
- Few people put sufficient water on when hand watering –use a sprinkler. The simple cyclone sprinkler gives sufficient water in about 15 minutes.
Mowing is a most important part in the success or failure of your new lawn.
Mow when the grass is half as high again as when laid, and mow back to the original height. In practice this means mowing when it reaches 30mm, with the mower set at 20mm. (The lawn could reach 30mm within a week of laying in good growing conditions.)
- Reel mowers give the cleanest cut (if sharp and properly set). Only reel mowers should be used on Fine Turf. Rotary mowers seem to encourage soft leggy growth and increased thatch. Rotary mowers are acceptable for use on Sportsturf (Amenity Ryegrass), but should be kept sharp.
- Mow Fescue / Browntop at 15-20mm, (half to three-quarters of an inch) Sportsturf 20-25mm (three-quarters of an inch to an inch). Mow only one-third grass length at one mowing. Remove clippings, especially in the early days.
Your Readylawn comes at a fairly high nutritional status and will benefit from Prelay fertiliser added to the soil prior to laying. Some pointers:
- Focus on watering and allow the turf to establish without further stimulation.
- If after 2-3 months the colour is ‘off’ or the vigour drops away (and it is not winter), then the turf probably needs more nitrogen. Apply a general lawn fertiliser (e.g. Readylawn Food) at 20-30g per square metre and water in (or apply just before or during rain).
- If the response is negligible, have your soil tested (we can help there) and follow the recommendations.
Your Readylawn has been treated for weeds, pests, and diseases and should have no such problems while getting established. However, it is well to be aware that the process of transplanting is stressful to the turf, and the frequent watering required to get the grass established can cause a flush of soft growth – both factors which allow greater than normal opportunities for fungal invasion. Some pointers:
- A healthy turf sward is a hotbed of fungal activity; lawn clippings, dead leaves, and stems are broken down by beneficial fungi and turned into nutrients the grass can use. Like ‘flu’ germs, harmful fungi are always about, waiting for suitable conditions to attack the grass.
- Watch for yellow, brown or reddish patches. If you see fine spider web-like filaments in the early morning, it suggests conditions are ripe for fungal activity. Fungal attacks can occur any time of the year, especially in humid or drizzly conditions. Most fungi enjoy soft lush growth, i.e. growth promoted by high nitrogen levels, copious water, insufficient or irregular mowing, mowing too high, (especially with a rotary mower), lack of air movement, and shade. Red Thread fungus (red mycelia can be seen growing out of the grass leaves) is encouraged by low nitrogen levels.
- Toadstools are usually the fruiting bodies of saprophytic fungi which feed harmlessly on dead organic matter in the soil. They are harmless to the grass, but do indicate that conditions are right for fungal activity, including harmful activity.
- Spray with a fungicide at the recommended rates – Bravo, Taratek (Watkins Fungus and Mildrew Spray), Thiram, Rovral, Captan. It is advisable to alternate fungicides for repeat applications as fungi can build resistance quickly.
- Eliminate the conditions which encourage fungal activity – reduce shade, improve air circulation, water less frequently and in the early morning rather than the evening, improve drainage, rake out thatch debris, reduce mowing height as recommended, and moderate fertiliser applications (use slow release fertilisers).
- Remember that any activity – mowing, raking, and even walking over active fungal infestations – can spread it around the lawn. Spray before carrying out physical treatments.
- Apply a nitrogen fertiliser (e.g. sulphate of ammonia, calcium ammonium nitrate or a complete lawn fertiliser) to control Red Thread.
There are only two pests which cause significant problems for Canterbury lawns – Porina and Grassgrub. Both are NZ native insects that Readylawn is treated for before sale!
Porina: The Porina adult is the fat brown moth that flaps around your lights in the summer. When you see them, they have probably just laid a few hundred eggs on your lawn. The best time to control the resultant caterpillars is 5-8 weeks after you see the moths, i.e. late February / March. Porina graze nocturnally on the grass foliage and you probably do not realise you have them until winter when the grass growth slows down – their grazing becomes apparent and the vertical tunnels become obvious.
Grassgrub: The grassgrub adult is the Brown Beetle, which also attacks roses and the plant foliage on summer nights. The life cycle is similar to Porina, and the best time to control them is before you discover you’ve got them.
Treatment for both:
Apply Diazanion (aka Lawnguard, etc) prills in late afternoon in late February / March. Water lightly to release chemical on the grass, and then after two nights, water thoroughly to wash the chemical down to the root zone so it will reach any grassgrub feeding there.