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Avoid These 3 Common Mistakes That Are Killing Your Lawn

Do you have brown or dead patches showing up in your lawn? ‘Fairy rings’ of discoloured grass? It’s probably lawn disease.

Here are some fixes for common lawn disease problems and, more importantly, three essential lawn maintenance tips to stop them developing. 

1. Damp Grass Breeds Disease

Watering your lawn at night or late afternoon is a big mistake. At night your lawn absorbs less water and less moisture can evaporate. This creates wet conditions where fungal diseases thrive, especially on warm nights.

Apply less water to the shady parts of your lawn for the same reason, and where feasible prune back shrubs and trees to let sunlight through.

2. Mow Regularly, but Not Too Short

Find out the ideal frequency for mowing your particular lawn and get a routine going. Regular mowing will keep your lawn in good health, and help you control the thatch layer, both of which are good for controlling diseases.

Keep your mower blades sharp and don’t mow too short – grass that is stressed by dull blades or cut too short is weakened and becomes vulnerable to disease.

3. Keep Your Lawn Fertile

A strong, healthy lawn will fight off most diseases that attempt to attack it. Keep your lawn fighting fit with a year round fertilising regimen. If done right, this is simple and cost-effective and will work wonders in protecting and enhancing your lawn.

So You’ve Got Lawn Fungus

Maybe you found this article too late, or you just got unlucky, and your grass is sick. Here are some of the most common lawn diseases and what to do about them:

Powdery Mildew

This disease looks like a white dust on your lawn but is actually a fungal disease eating away at the grass.

Luckily, it’s very simple to treat: mix baking soda with water and apply to your lawn with a watering can. This will kill the disease and leave your lawn unaffected.

Brown Patch

This is just what it sounds like – brown patches of dying grass, which are being feasted on and destroyed by the brown patch disease.

Kill brown patch off with an appropriate fungicide like Daconil Weather Stik.

Dollar Spot

The dollar spot lawn disease creates small patches of yellow or brown – about the size of dollar coins – across your lawn.

In this case, prevention is also the cure – instituting proper land management as outlined above will fix the problem in almost all cases.

Fairy Ring

Fairy ring – recognisable by circular mushrooms or bright rings of grass, is one of the most difficult lawn diseases to deal with. Fairy ring can’t be cured but, if caught early, can be removed by digging up the section of yard it’s in. This will require exact and careful work to avoid reinfection, so enlisting a professional can often help.

Prevention Is Best

Remember, prevention is better than cure. Quality turfs like Zoysia and Sir Walter Buffalo Grass are naturally disease-resistant when healthy. For more information on proper lawn care practices call us on 1300 547 946 or enquire online.

How Zoysia Can Help Stop Soil Erosion

Putting down quality turf is a great way to control dust (and its ugly cousin, mud) in your yard, but turf can also help with something even more important – soil erosion.

Zoysia turf is a great solution for preventing soil erosion on residential land. Zoysia is very well-suited to properties where hills and other difficult terrain limit lawn maintenance, conditions that also present higher risks for soil erosion. Read on to find out if a Zoysia lawn is right for you.

Soil Erosion and How to Fix It

Soil erosion occurs when wind or water wear away the topsoil of land. In a dry and often bare country like Australia this is a significant problem. Soil erosion leads to the loss of fertile soil for agriculture and gardening and speeds up desertification. Just an inch of productive topsoil takes thousands of years to develop.

The importance of covering the soil up with turf or other protective layers was shown in an experiment conducted near Ipswich in QLD. Researchers measured the soil lost following a storm – in areas without cover, 22 tonnes of topsoil was lost per hectare; in areas with 69% and 89% cover, the amount was 0.3 tonnes and 0.03 tonnes respectively.

How Turf Helps

The reason for this massive difference is that soil cover reduces the impact of falling raindrops and wind, and also slows water as it flows downhill. Lawn turf is an ideal way to create cover for soil. The blades of grass above ground shield the soil from wind and rain, while the dense interlocking roots of the lawn stabilise the soil underground.

Why Zoysia Turf?

There are two major reasons why you should go for a Zoysia lawn installation if you want to control erosion.

Zoysia Dies Hard

Zoysia turf is some of the toughest around and requires very little lawn maintenance to thrive. It also grows quite slowly. This means if you have difficulty in mowing hills, where fast running water can cause extensive erosion, Zoysia is perfect – you’ll hardly ever have to mow it, and you’ll barely have to water it. In fact, the best approach to watering Zoysia is to assume you don’t need to unless it’s wilting or turning yellow.

Back to the Roots

The reason Zoysia needs such infrequent watering is because of its particularly deep and dense root system. This allows it to find water sources deeper underground than other grasses – and, as discussed above, the deeper and denser a root network the better it is at stopping erosion.

Other Benefits of Zoysia

Zoysia isn’t just an erosion prevention tool, it’s also just a great turf. It’s soft underfoot, has a striking deep green colour, and requires very little fertilizer. It is also naturally weed and pest resistant, and does quite well in both the heat and cold. Zoysia does need 4-5 hours of daily sun though, so it won’t suit very shady properties, but it does perform well in moderately shady environments.

Get in Touch

To discuss your Zoysia lawn plans call the North Brisbane turf supplies experts on 1300 547 946 or enquire online.

Simple Tips to Help You Get Your Lawn Right

Keen to lay down some quality turf and improve your home but not sure where to start? We’ll help guide you through the process from start to finish.

Getting Started

Before you order your turf, make sure you’ve done the groundwork. The following steps can be done yourself or you can talk to an expert about preparing your yard professionally.

Measuring

To make sure you get an accurate quote for your lawn, and that it will fit properly in your yard you need to get measuring. Sketch out the area you want to turf, and then break the diagram up into basic shapes like triangles, rectangles, and squares to work out how much you need.

Preparing the Soil

Clear away existing vegetation and grass from the areas to be turfed, and then check the soil. If it’s a sandy soil, organic material like compost or manure will improve it; if it’s acidic, add lime; for alkaline soils add sulphur; and for clay soils add gypsum.

Turf Underlay

A quality turf underlay will help your turf thrive. If you’re unsure of what to get, seek out experts in laying turf around North Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

Laying Your Turf

Make sure your turf is scheduled to arrive the same day you plan to install it – it will dry out otherwise. Apply a starter fertiliser and you’re ready to go. Just follow these guidelines:

Start with the Edges

Start laying turf from the perimeters and if you have a slope, start at the bottom. Stagger the sections of turf, like brickwork, and butt them closely together to avoid gaps.

Hold onto Off-Cuts

If you cut turf down to size hold onto the off-cuts. They may come in handy at the end to fill in odd gaps.

Water and Roll

Water your new lawn as soon as you are finished. If you have a large yard try and water it as you’re working. Then use a roller to press it down and ensure good root contact with the soil.

Caring for Your New Lawn

Keep your lawn wet at all times initially; you don’t need to soak it but moisten it 4-5 times a day. After a while, your lawn will start to become established. Try gently lifting a corner of turf – if it won’t come up the roots are getting a foothold. Once this happens start easing back on watering until you water only occasionally, or almost never for drought resistant turf.

We’re Here to Help

For help with landscape supplies, laying turf, and lawn maintenance in North Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast call us on 1300 547 946 or enquire online and get your perfect lawn today!

How Often Should You Really Water Your Lawn?

Of course you want to keep your lawn beautiful, but Australia is a country plagued by droughts, and water restrictions are a part of everyday life. So it’s important to know when and why you really need to water your grass.

Less Is More
First things first, you’re probably watering too much. Watering a lot to prevent your lawn drying out seem obvious but it’s actually backwards. Watering your lawn everyday is like spoiling your child with gifts everyday – it can stunt development! Grass that is watered too often will develop a shallow root system, making it vulnerable if you forget to water it for a day or two or a heatwave hits.

Overwatering can also leave your lawn unpleasant and damp, and afflict your grass with oxygen deprivation, disease, and weeds.

Seasonal Variation
Hotter climates need more watering, and cooler ones less, but you should also vary watering by season. In winter you should water minimally if at all; in Spring and Autumn more regularly – but not too often; and more frequently in Summer – but even in Summer keep it to once or twice a week.

Be the Lawn Whisperer
Your lawn will tell you when it needs to be watered. Keep an eye out for grass wilting or discolouring slightly, then water. Your lawn should dry out a little between waterings – this allows air to get to the roots and causes them to grow further down in search of water.

Break the News Gently
If you do need to wean your yard off an excessive water habit, do it gently. Otherwise your lawn may ‘panic’, stop growing normally, and start sprouting unsightly seedheads!

Deeper Water
When you do come to water your lawn, make sure you water it deeply – use enough water so that it sinks down to where it’s needed and doesn’t just sit near the surface and evaporate. The exact amount of water a lawn needs will vary, but you can get a good general idea by putting an ice cream container in your yard before you start watering. When it is 10-15 mm full, you have probably watered enough.

Be an Early Bird
Watering at the right time of day is important to reducing water wastage and maximising benefits for your lawn. You want to avoid the full heat of the day, as water will evaporate faster leading to waste and depriving your lawn. The cool of the night is also bad – you avoid evaporation, but at night your grass’s vascular system, which pumps nutrients and water from the ground, functions much slower than during the day.

The best time to water is very early in the morning, ideally just before dawn. Your grass has ‘woken up’ by then and will get the full benefit of the watering – but it’s still cool enough to minimise wastage through evaporation.

 

If you follow these simple guidelines you’ll keep your lawn healthy and beautiful, and also save water – double win. Have questions about lawn maintenance or want to discuss laying or maintaining turf in North Brisbane? Call us on 1300 547 946 or enquire online.

6 ways Sir Walter Turf Helps Create the Perfect Lawn

6 ways Sir Walter Turf Helps Create the Perfect Lawn

A beautiful lawn makes your home stand out from its neighbours. But it’s not always easy to grow your own, and if you have problems with dust or want to create a recreation area quickly, you want a fast solution for lawn installation. Don’t try and seed it!

Sir Walter Turf

Sir Walter Turf is a soft buffalo grass that is the ideal lawn solution for the often harsh Australian conditions. It creates an instant, perfectly green lawn, helps you control dust and erosion, and requires minimum lawn maintenance. The following are six reasons to choose a Sir Walter lawn for your Brisbane or Sunshine Coast home.

1. Cost

Although Sir Walter grass costs a little more upfront than lower quality turfs, it is cheaper and easier to maintain so you’ll save more money and time in the long run.

2. Drought Resistance

Sir Walter Turf is a product created in Australia for Australian conditions. Buffalo grasses like Sir Walter perform well in drought conditions, maintaining growth rates better and recovering faster.

3. Cool and Comfortable

Despite being such a hardy, tough grass Sir Walter Turf is wonderfully soft underfoot. A Sir Walter lawn also cools the area around your house, keeping it up to 40 degrees cooler than other yard options like asphalt, pavers or pebbles! This is especially important in hot areas like Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast.

4. Natural Weed Control

When properly maintained, Sir Walter Turf suffocates most weeds before they get a foothold in your lawn. If a weed or two does manage to pop however, the turf’s natural resistance makes getting them back under control much easier.

5. Frost and Heat Resistant

This type of lawn grows best between 20 and 30 degrees, making a Sir Walter Lawn ideal for the average temperatures in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. But this remarkable turf can also weather cold snaps, heatwaves, and even frosts – surviving at temperatures from minus 11 degrees to a sweltering 50 degrees!

6. A Green Choice

A lawn that stays green year round and requires less maintenance has a number of environmental benefits. Sir Walter Turf absorbs carbon dioxide and produces oxygen more efficiently than trees, and its low maintenance needs equal savings in water, energy for mowing, and cut down on pesticide use.

 

Tips for Laying Your Turf

If you do decide to upgrade your yard with Sir Walter Turf, having recognised many of the benefits, here are some handy tips on getting the installation right:

 

  • Prepare the soil with a rotary hoe or by hand, after getting rid of unwanted grass or plants
  • Make sure you install your turf the same day it arrives
  • Make sure sections of turf are very close together to avoid gaps – take your time to get it right
  • Water your lawn as soon as it is laid. If it’s a big area, have someone water what’s already been put down as you continue to work

 

Get a Quote

CT Lawns are leading turf suppliers for Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. If you’ve decided Sir Walter is for you call us today on 1300 547 946 or enquire online for a competitive quote.

Five Tips For Designing A Deck In A Small Back Yard

A small exterior space doesn’t mean you have to limit your ambition. If you’d love to have a deck in that confined area, there’s nothing to stop you from building it. It might not be the biggest structure to ever grace the outside of a home, but with some smart thinking your deck can still give you all the space you need… in real or imagined terms!

Aim Low

The lower your deck, the less rails and posts you need, and if you are building a compact deck to suit a small back yard, this can only be a good thing. Rails and posts on a small deck can create a ‘caged-in’ effect, which only emphasises the lack of space. By taking rails and posts out of the equation, you open up the deck and give the appearance of room, glorious room.  Therefore, a floating or platform deck, which sits just above the ground, should be one of the first options you explore. This should include checking with local authorities that your proposed design is indeed low enough to be built without the need for safety rails.

A Smart Seating Plan

Seating takes up a lot of room in the centre of a small deck. To give yourself more room in this limited space, look to the edges of your deck. The outer limits of a deck are rarely used anyway, but if you are able to incorporate seating of the built-in variety, right at the edge of your deck, you’ll find yourself with so much more room in the middle.

The Illusion Of Space

The illusion of space can often overcome the reality of limited size! This can be achieved by keeping the deck open, as discussed above. Another way to create this illusion is to keep the deck flooring simple in design. Elaborate flooring designs, where short pieces of decking timber are laid down in head-spinning criss-cross patterns, might look wonderful on a large deck but they’re not ideal for smaller structures. Instead, a simple arrangement of long boards will give the impression of distance and flow, an illusion that will make your deck seem bigger than it really is.

Shape It Your Way

Think outside of the square to maximise space. If your small back yard is also irregularly shaped, forget those boring square and rectangle designs and shape the deck to best fit into the space you have. If, for example, the most spacious part of the lawn is a circular shape, then design a round deck to fill that space. A triangular patch in the garden? Match it with a triangular deck. It’s all about using the space you have, instead of building a deck that only uses part of it. As a deck with an unusual shape might be a little more complex to build, it might be best for safety and aesthetic reasons to consult a landscape designer or a builder rather than take the project on yourself.

Round Is Right

You will need a table on your deck for entertainment purposes, and when space is limited the shape of that table is all important. Choose a round table for your small deck, as it will take up less room than a regular-shaped table, yet will seat more people. The flow of a round table is also better, with people finding it easier to move around it; an important consideration when guests congregate on a deck of any size. As odd as this might sound, an interior designer might have some words of advice for you. They’re used to creating flow in any room, and as a deck is an entertainment room, albeit an exterior one, an interior designer should have firm ideas on best using the space…including a round table!

Author bio:  Chris Polvari has been a cabinetmaker for over 20 years and his company Urban Accent has been beautifying homes for more than eight years.  See some of his work at www.urbanaccent.com.au

“Winterise” your lawn

With winter fast approaching it is worth considering what you can do to help your lawn handle the cold conditions and perform to its maximum during the cold months.

Humans prepare for cold weather either consciously or otherwise and similarly we should alter our summer and autumn maintenance programs for lawns. We need to give our lawns the equivalent of a Vitamin C dose and a flu injection to prepare them for the onslaught of cold weather.

Just as a bear will feed heavily and gain up to sixty per cent of its body weight in summer and autumn, our lawns rely on the sunny conditions of summer and autumn to build up their reserves for winter.

Warm season grasses such as Buffalo and Couchgrass will slow down their leaf growth as soon as average soil temperatures start to drop into the mid teens and daylight hours decrease. They will also loose colour intensity in the depths of winter. What we don’t see though is the root system maintaining some activity throughout to keep the plant alive in readiness for the Spring season of renewal.

Autumn applications of Complete fertilizer blends with balanced NPK Ratios will greatly enhance the root system and help with the greening up process in Spring. It’s the lawn equivalent of Vitamin C.

Do not use a high Nitrogen percentage fertilizer in late autumn as it will soften the leaf and make the lawn more susceptible to cool temperatures, frost and wear. It may even make the loss of colour worse in some instances.

Ensure that all compacted areas are aerated to allow water to penetrate through the soil profile. This process will also aid root development and help drainage prior to the cold and/or wet conditions that are synonymous with winter. Aerating the soil also decreases the build up of moss and algae on the surface.

The cooler temperatures see humans wearing clothes that keep them warm but what can we do for the lawn. Consider the leaf of the lawn plant to be the equivalent of its clothes and increase the leaf length by adjusting the cutting height on the mower. Longer leaf will provide some protection to the lawn against frost and cool conditions and add to the wear tolerance over winter.

So there are a few tips to help you “Winterise” your lawn this autumn. If you need more information contact us or call 1800 NU LAWN.

Frosted footsteps

Bird Watching Activities For Kids

Bird Watching Activities For Kids

 

Giving your kids something to do in the school holidays doesn’t have to be costly. And keeping them entertained for free using the great outdoors is not just cost effective, but also educational. Teaching your kids about nature is an important job, and children are usually fascinated with finding out more about the wildlife that they see day to day. The activities below are great fun, and will increase your children’s knowledge about birds and the environment that they live in. Plus, you might find that you learn something too!

 

Nest Building

A great free activity to get your kids involved in is nest building. Birds sometimes need a helping hand when it comes to nest building. Children can become involved in this process, teaching them about how birds build their nests and why they may face problems doing so. By supplying birds with the materials they need, they are also giving the baby birds a great start in life. Give your kids a mesh bag and ask them to fill it with the kinds of materials that birds would love to make themselves comfy in – this can include dried grass, assorted lengths of old wool and string, stuffing from old pillows or furniture and even the hair from your hairbrush. Hang this bag somewhere in your garden where birds will have easy access to it and get your children to watch as the birds come and collect materials from it to build their nests with. You can even head out around your neighborhood looking for any nests that might have your materials in them.

 

Finding Feathers

This is another activity that will cost you nothing to keep your kids amused. Head off into the outdoors with your kids and search for feathers – you might find them more easily in piles of natural debris such as leaves or rocks. Make a collection of feathers in a paper bag. Once you get home, see if you can identify which bird each of the feathers comes from. You can teach your children about where each bird lives, and ask them why they think that bird was found in the particular areas that you found the feathers. Your children could keep notes about the things they have discovered about each feather and then make a scrapbook of their favourites feathers, including their notes.

 

Birds In Flight

Get your children to find out how long the average bird takes to get into the air. Armed with a stopwatch and a notepad and pen, get your children to start the stopwatch the instant they see a bird taking off. Get them to stop the stopwatch when the bird reaches the sky and is in mid flight. Record these times in a notepad, with a note of the species of bird. Compare the times of different birds and find out who is the fastest at taking off!

 

Why not get your children involved in the kitchen and create a treat. These birds nest cakes are easy to make, and most importantly fun for kids to help make and eat.

No Bake Chocolate Birds Nests

Ingredients: 225g (8oz) milk chocolate

50g (2oz) butter

2 tablespoons of golden syrup

100g (4oz) cornflakes

1 packet of chocolate mini eggs

  • Break the chocolate up into pieces and place in a large saucepan. Melt the chocolate slowly, adding the butter and golden syrup. Stir gently until all ingredients have melted.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the cornflakes to the melted mixture, ensuring that all the cornflakes are coated in chocolate but being careful not to crush the cereal.
  • Put a spoonful of the combined ingredients into paper cases laid out on a baking tray. The mixture should make approximately ten cakes. Press down gently with the back of a teaspoon to create a gap in the centre of the cakes. Arrange a few mini eggs in this gap.
  • Place the cakes in the fridge for around an hour, or until the chocolate has set.

 

Author Bio:

Written by Lynne Dickson, Marketing Manager at Wild Bird Feeders. Wild Bird Feeders is the global leader in garden bird feeders and wild bird feeding. For more information about birds and the comapamies products, please visit www.wildbirdfeeders.co.uk

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Drainage – How’s Your Flow???

Drainage – How’s Your Flow???

Ever wondered why the big sport stadiums have playable surfaces, year round? Drainage, the often overlooked step in many turf preparations when the flow of water in your backyard is critical to a usable area in all conditions.

Best Fit

Unfortunately there is never a best fit or one solution for everything. Landscape yards and hardware stores are full with ag-pipe, pit drains, surface drains and all sorts of new ideas and methods but your individual situation will need its own assessment.

Open yards or acreages are probably the easiest to deal with as run off can be gently steered away from the house without the use of drains – at all in some cases. This is the preferred option in any case as creating drains in the ground always determines that you create a fall point. We have always had the opinion that creating unnecessary low spots should be avoided at all costs if a gentle, natural slop can be achieved.

If drains are to be used, these should always be placed with advice from a licensed plumber or landscaper. There are many types and varieties and they all serve different purposes. Surface or grate drains at the edges of concrete slabs around pergola’s etc are always popular and serve to catch water from the lawn as well as the hard surface itself. If a drain is needed further away or not against a hard edge then a pit drain might be the ideal choice. These are good for circumstances when you want water to flow away from the house to a corner of the yard or in narrow sections beside the house where you have stones laid down on top of plastic.

Do It Right.

There are many methods, the key is to get the job done so the water not only flows to the drain, but drains as well. This painstaking, and sometimes costly, exercise is often overlooked. If you have bought a second hand house, chances are you will notice some low lying areas in the next downpour. Identify these areas and solve the problem for your lawns sake. Boggy sink holes are a sure fire way to rot the roots of your turf out and lower the ph level of the soil to a less than satisfactory level.

Natural Lawn and iPhone Play Vital Role

Natural Lawn and iPhone Play Vital Role

Sydney – mid February and little Emily was delivered into what can only be described as a natural world, on a perfect lawn. Lynsey Mudie and husband Sam had obviously thought this precious moment through a million times but never like this.

iPhone to the Rescue

Baby Emily’s Aunt, Nicola was quick on the scene when they realized the baby was in its way, and fast. Taking out her iPhone and using its torch app, the family was soon delivering under lights and on the lawn. After calling 000, Lindsey’s mum quickly advised that her daughter was not making it back inside and the front lawn was the only option.

Natural Lawn for a Natural Birth

I know we push the natural turf barrow and yes it has its many uses, but to blog about this fantastic event was simply irresistible. A perfect natural birth on the family’s front is amazing and having delivered on of my own sons at home after he was in too much of a hurry to get into the world, I can imagine what they were going through.

In the end a fantastic result, Dad there to grab his daughter on nature’s blanket – the lawn…

 

Source: Channel 7 and Image with thanks to Channel 7. Story available at http://au.news.yahoo.com/latest/a/-/latest/16190865/sydney-mom-gives-birth-on-front-lawn