How to edge your lawn

Which of these edgers is for you?

Six words deflated me like a bindii in a bike tyre: ‘why don’t you do the edges?’ My lawn was looking terrific, but my edges were as fuzzy as riding in the rain wearing glasses. I can’t recall my answer to the question, but a star-wheeled edger soon found a home next to my bike in the shed and lifted my lawn to the next level.

The star-wheeled edger is a manual type, while others are powered. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, which we’ll discuss to sharpen your edger knowledge and your edges.

Manual edgers

Manual edgers are available in four types – hand shears, spades, half-moon edgers and rollers. They best suit smaller areas because they rely on your physical effort. Top tip: use them when the ground is damp! The advantages these edgers provide is they don’t release emissions, they’re low cost, require virtually no maintenance, and they’re easily stored.

  • Half-moon edger – These edgers are like a spade in that they require you to push the blade into the ground with your foot. You’ll achieve the best results by rocking the tool back and forth as you proceed along the edge.
  • Roller edgers also require foot power. They have a metal or wooden pole with either a star-shaped or disc-shaped wheel attached at the bottom. You place the wheel on the hard surface and the cutting edge into the ground, then push with your foot. These are good when they’re used frequently on edges that aren’t too overgrown.

Powered edgers

Powered edgers have a blade that cuts through the edge. The blade height is often adjustable so that you can cut just above ground or to several centimetres below ground. These are great for larger areas and long stretches of edging.

Petrol

Petrol models can have single or multiple wheels; the multiple wheeled types are the most stable.

These edgers can also go around trees or garden beds. There are variations among manufacturers, so you need to read the instructions related to the specific model.

The disadvantages of these are they are relatively noisy, they may need replacement parts (e.g. blades), they take up greater storage space, and they release emissions. Having said this, they will provide a nice straight deep edge that will look great and the more you practice the straighter and cleaner the edge will look.

ATOM PROFESSIONAL LAWN EDGER
OZITO 2 STROKE PETROL EDGER

 

Electric

Electric edgers are cord or battery powered and lighter than petrol models. They are quieter than petrol models, though they don’t have as much power. The benefit of these over the petrol models is there are no emissions and they’re a bit smaller, allowing easier storage.

RYOBI 18V ONE+ CORDLESS EDGER

 

What about a trimmer?

Whipper snippers or trimmers aren’t dedicated edging devices; however, they’re often used for this purpose. A rotating flexible nylon line cuts grass, weeds and small unwanted plants. On some models you can rotate the heads so they’re in a vertical position for edging.

Whipper snippers come in several versions: straight shaft or curved shaft with 2- or 4- stroke petrol motors or battery-operated models. They’re especially good for working at an angle.

The main types are corded, battery and petrol-powered trimmers. Petrol trimmers have more power and are much better for larger areas. Trimmers with cords will probably require an extension lead, so are only useful for small areas. They also aren’t as powerful.

If your lawn looks a bit scraggly around the edges, the overall appearance of your lawn is definitely diminished. Most people tend not to have a dedicated lawn edger, so if you are using a Whipper snipper/weed whacker/line trimmer or whatever it is you call it, it is important that you know how to use it to get the best results.

Here’s some tips for getting a great finish every time with a whipper snipper – 

Speed – Your trimmer will work best when at full speed. So, keeping your trimmer line away from the edge and working your way in, is key to maintaining speed. Avoid starting the line trimmer already in the grass you’re cutting for the quickest, cleanest cuts. It’s the tip of the line that is cutting, so keeping the majority of the line clear will result in a cleaner cut.

Spin direction – Depending on which way your trimmer spins, you need to make sure you are cutting with one side and the material is being ejected to the opposite side. So, if your trimmer spins counter clockwise, you need to keep the right side closer to the edge so that material is being ejected away from it. This will keep the cutting path clear and allow you to achieve a much better result.

Edging and tapering – Edging will be important for driveways and paths where you are after a clean edge to something parallel. This is where you hold the edge of the trimmer so that the string is vertical. This will provide a crisp cut line where you want the grass to end. Tapering is used for fences and retaining walls where you hold the edge of the trimmer so that the string is at a slight angle. This will ensure you don’t scalp a full run of grass by trimming parallel and get a nice gradual blend between the object and the grass.

Regular trims – The best edges are ones that are kept on top of and not allowed to get out of control. So, the more you do it, the more likely your edges will stay uniform and the easier they will be to tidy up, and the better you will get at it.

The finish line

Each edger has its place, depending on the size of your yard and your needs. You may need a couple of types to get the look you want and get the edge on your neighbours!

Now you’re a little clearer on the edger(s) you need, get on your bike and get the one you like – chances are you’ll get a few more ‘likes’ for your lawn.

Remember, edgers are just one type of lawn care tool you need to maintain your yard. Head to this blog post for more great information on other tools.


 

As always, if you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to contact us for free expert advice on 1800ALLTURF (1800255873) or 07 5543 8304.

Pre-Emergents | Winter Grass

Winter Grass is one of the more frustrating weeds to remove. As winter grass grows it produces triangular shaped seed heads. These seeds make the weed easier to identify but are a sign that it has already started spreading for next season. In this blog, we look at what winter grass is and how you can stop it from spreading throughout your lawn.

Winter Grass

Winter Grass, botanically known as Poa Annua is a low growing weed that has soft, drooping green leaves, and grows in tufts with white seeds. This weed will start to appear when the average soil temperature drops to 16 – 17 degrees. For most areas, this is around mid to late Autumn or when you start to notice the cooler temperatures. When the soil temperatures drop below this, the winter grass seeds that are in the soil will start to germinate and grow.

How Does Winter Grass Spread?

As Winter grass continues to grow, it will produce triangular seeds heads. These seeds are then dropped into the lawn, or spread by wind, birds, underfoot… and will grow a new winter grass weed/plant.

winter grass

Prevention

Pre-emergent herbicides like Oxafert and Oxapro target seasonal weed seeds that are already in the soil, stopping them from germinating, before the weed starts to appear! Pre-emergents are best applied in mid to late Autumn, or when the temperatures start to drop in your location. This is when the seasonal winter weed seeds that are already in the soil will start to germinate.

You can also apply a pre-emergent in early to mid Spring, or when the temperatures are starting to rise to help stop seasonal summer weeds, like Summer Grass and Crabgrass/Crowsfoot.

How Pre-Emergents Work

Pre-emergents work by forming a barrier at the soil level, affecting the germination of any new seedlings. This prevents any new weeds from growing and spreading throughout your lawn for up to 12 weeks.

It is important to note, pre-emergents will only stop weeds during germination and won’t stop any existing weeds that are already in the lawn. If you are wanting to target weeds that are already growing in your lawn it is best to use a post emergent herbicide for control.

pre-emergent

How to Apply Oxafert

When applying Oxafert and Oxapro, spread out the granules evenly by using a sweeping hand motion or apply with a fertiliser spreader for even coverage. Oxafert and Oxapro are best applied to dry foliage and watered in immediately after application.

oxafertoxa-pro

Winter Grass in Your Lawn Already?

If Winter Grass has already infiltrated your lawn, it is best to use a selective post-emergent herbicide. Amgrow Winter Grass Killer is a selective herbicide safe to use on most varieties including Blue Couch, Common Couch, Bent, Buffalo (including Sir Walter DNA Certified Buffalo) and Brown top lawns. This is not safe to use on Kikuyu or Fescue lawns. Another post-emergent herbicide that is safe to use on Kikuyu lawns is Munns Winter Grass Killer.

winter grass killer


 

As always, if you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to contact us for free expert advice on 1800ALLTURF (1800255873) or 07 5543 8304.

Back to Basics | Wetting Agents and Soil Amendments

Wetting agents and soil amendments are commonly used terms when it comes to lawn care. In this blog we will look at exactly what wetting agents and soil amendments are, when they are required and the different types available.

Wetting Agents

A wetting agent is like a detergent or surfactant that attracts water to the soil’s surface. Applying a wetting agent will help the water soak into the soil, making the water available to your lawn’s roots. It will help increase the soil’s ability to hold nutrients and help increase the drought tolerance of your lawn so it can sand up to the hot summer days.

Different types of wetting agents

Soil wetting agents are available as granules, liquid concentrates, and hose on bottles.

Most granular and liquid concentrates need to be watered in well, but it is always best to check the product label.

When do I need to apply a wetting agent?

If your lawn is suffering from dry patches or is hydrophobic a wetting may be needed.

Hydrophobic lawns will pool water at the soil’s surface and will struggle to let the moisture soak down into the soil base. Dry patches or heat stressed turf can present in patches rather than across the whole lawn.

Wetting agents are best applied when the temperatures are cooler, either in the morning or afternoon. Repeated applications can be made every few months on an as needed basis.

Product recommendation

We recommend using our Lawn Solutions Lawn Soaker. Lawn Soaker comes in a 2L clip on ready to use bottle, treating up to 150m2.

Soil Amendments

By having the correct soil base your lawn roots will be able to grow and thrive. If you have a good soil base where water can flow through the profile, is free from compaction, and has a good amount of nutrients your grass has a higher chance of being healthier. Soil amendments are best made before laying your lawn down, however they still can be corrected after a lawn is laid.

Compacted soil

Soil compaction can occur as a result from high foot traffic in an area, from kids or pets, or in other frequently used areas. Heavier clay soils are very tight and bind together making compaction a common problem.

When compaction occurs, it can hinder the lawns’ ability to grow deeper into the soil. It can limit the amount of nutrients and water that can reach the root of your lawn.

To help alleviate compaction aerate with a garden fork, aerating sandals or a tyne aerator. For more information on aerating your lawn click here.

aerating

Soil pH

Ideally, a soils pH should be somewhere between 5.5 and 7. An acidic soil will be below 5.5 and an alkaline soil will be over 8. To test your soil, use a soil pH testing kit. We have an easy-to-use soil pH testing kit available here. Soil pH kits are also readily available from nurseries and garden centres.

If your soil is outside a pH of 5.5 and 7 you may need to look at making adjustments. If this is the case, check out our blog for more information here.

Clay soil

A clay base can make it difficult for the roots of your lawn to grow down into the soil profile. Clay soils will often struggle to drain water away, especially if it is compacted.

To help improve a soil with a clay base, you can apply a clay breaker like gypsum. Please have a look at our blog for more information here.

Healthy soil

Making amendments before laying a lawn

If you are looking to lay a new lawn it is best to make any soil amendments before installation. In most cases, if you are bringing new soil in amendments shouldn’t need to be made.

best soil for turf

 


 

As always, if you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to contact us for free expert advice on 1800ALLTURF (1800255873) or 07 5543 8304.

Who is Lawn Solutions Australia?

We love sharing our knowledge of lawns, providing advice on the different turf varieties available and explaining the different lawn care products and how best to look after your lawns. But who is Lawn Solutions Australia?

Lawn Solutions Australia

Lawn Solutions Australia, known as LSA for short, is a national network of locally owned, and mostly family operated turf businesses.

lawn solutions australia

To become an LSA Member you must grow turf to a very high standard and be approved by the Australian Genetic Assurance Program for turf called AusGAP to grow the certified grasses that LSA Members supply.

Lawn Solutions Members grow the LSA range of lawn varieties including Sir Walter DNA Certified soft leaf buffalo, TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda or hybrid couch and Sir Grange Zoysia, plus some other grasses that are available specifically for different climates.

LSA Research

These turf grasses were introduced from LSA’s extensive turf research and development program. This program has the largest turf research facility in the Southern Hemisphere.

As part of this turf research program, we work with some of the world’s best turf breeders and scientists. We are wanting to find new and improved grasses that provide consumers better choices when looking for a new lawn variety.

Turf Trials

Thousands of grasses are bred and tested before a short list of elite performers. They are then put into further trials testing how they perform under wear, shade, and drought conditions.

If the grasses are successful in those trials, they will then undergo further trials. These involve herbicide resistance, establishment, and recovery speed and harvestability.

We trial these grasses in a range of climates right across Australia. This helps us see how they will handle the Aussie conditions. LSA will also compare them against existing turf varieties to see how they stand up.

We are looking for grasses that don’t just perform or survive. We are looking for new grasses that provide a point of difference, show exceptional qualities, new qualities unseen in the marketplace before. The cream of the crop.

It is not until or if we find this new grass that we will release to LSA Members for turf production.

The results of this program are represented in the successes achieved by each of the grasses released.

 

Sir Walter DNA Certified

sir walter dna certified

Sir Walter DNA Certified soft leaf buffalo has led the way as the most successful commercial turf grass in Australia history. It has a great shade tolerance and is incredibly versatile across a range of climates.

Sir Walter Buffalo DNA Certified turf

TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda

tiftuf hybrid bemuda

TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda is a somewhat newly introduced grass compared to Sir Walter, that has become the first and only turf grass in the world to be awarded the Smart Approved WaterMarkfor water efficiency and drought tolerance.

Bred out of the famous Tifton University in Georgia by the world’s best. TifTuf has shown superior qualities to that of over 30,000 different varieties. It is an absolute stand out when it comes to not just this variety of grass, but all grasses.

The History of ‘Tif’ton Turf

Sir Grange Zoysia

Sir Grange Logo

Sir Grange Zoysia – A grass like no other, Sir Grange can be kept at a range of heights. It’s a slow growing grass that is providing an alternative lawn option. This had never been available at this quality to consumers before.

Originally bred for golf courses, so you know it’s impressive. Sir Grange known as BRF Zeon Zoysia in the US, was used on the Olympics Golf Course is Rio.

Zoysia turf in Australia - Sir Grange

We can’t wait to share with you some of the exciting new grasses we currently have in development.

 


 

As always, if you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to contact us for free expert advice on 1800ALLTURF (1800255873) or 07 5543 8304.

Four Frequent Fertiliser Fails

Now is a great time to fertilise your lawn and for the most part, is a pretty straight forward thing to do. Buy fertiliser, spread it out and depending on whether it’s granular or liquid, water in or dilute and apply. You have gone down the path of fertilising your lawn, so you have the best of intentions to start with which is great. But a few days later you check on your lawn and it’s not what you expected!

But where could it possibly have gone wrong? Here’s some of the usual mistakes…

Too much N

That’s N for nitrogen. Lawns love it and need it, but too much produces burnt grass and/or too much leaf growth, and not enough root growth.

What happens when you over fertilise your lawn?

Over fertilising your lawn will cause sudden plant growth, particularly leaf growth and thatch. The problem with this is that the roots won’t experience the same amount of rapid growth and will then be unable to supply the amount of water and nutrient that your grass needs.

As fertiliser is primarily made up of mineral salts, excessive fertilising will cause salts to build up in the soil making it difficult for water to be absorbed, which dries out your grass causing discolouration and possibly even plant death if bad enough.

Signs you may have over fertilised your lawn:

  • Fertiliser burn on the grass leaf
  • Browning leaftips and yellowing of lower leaves
  • Darkened and weakened roots
  • Salt like crust of fertiliser on the soil surface

Too erratic

The method of application is just as important as the fertiliser choice. Chucking fertiliser about willy-nilly produces lawn that looks like it’s maintained by a goat. Walking systematically back and forth across a lawn with a spreader is a good way to apply granular fertiliser. For liquids, a similar orderly approach can be adopted.

fertiliser spreader

Too keen…

… can lead to ‘This fertiliser does nothing!’ Wrong. It’s probably not the fertiliser but the date of application. Apply fertiliser too early, that is, before soil is consistently above 14°C and good lawn food and good money goes to waste. Grass must be actively growing and out of its winter dormancy before it will benefit from a dose of fertiliser.

Applying fertiliser at the right time of year will ensure you get the most out of your lawn. Seasonal fertilising information

Too little water…

… can lead to burnt grass, due to the fertiliser. Once granular fertiliser is applied it must be well watered to solubilise it. This is one of the reasons those in the know fertilise just before a dump of rain. But be careful not to spread it out if a deluge of rain is anticipated, too much rain and the fertiliser will wash away, which doesn’t help your lawn and isn’t good for the environment.

While many fertilisers are similar, not all fertilisers are the same. Make sure you always follow the label instructions for the specific fertiliser that you are using.

What should I use for fertilising?

For fertilising we recommend using our Lawn Solutions Premium Fertiliser. This fertiliser contains a combination of slow and fast release granules that will give your lawn a quick initial boost and will continue to feed the lawn for up to 12 weeks. This is a well-balanced fertiliser that contains all the essential nutrients your lawn needs to stay healthy and is suitable for all lawn varieties.

lawn fertiliser

Exceed Liquid Fertiliser is a great liquid fertiliser option. Exceed will give your lawn a quick boost as it is absorbed by the leaf of the grass.

exceed liquid fertiliser


 

As always, if you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to contact us for free expert advice on 1800ALLTURF (1800255873) or 07 5543 8304.

Earthworms and Your Lawn

Earthworm Castings

Have you noticed little mud balls sitting on your lawn recently? These mud balls or castings are an eyesore when there’s lots of them, particularly if you like to cut your lawn nice and short. We receive many enquiries relating to this annoying earthworm activity but it’s actually one lawn issue that we do not recommend treating. With changing conditions and a bit of patience, these castings will stop appearing and your lawn can reap the benefits of the earthworms presence in your soil.

 

Earthworms

These pleasant creatures are actually brilliant for your lawns health and they are busily working away beneath the surface. If earthworms are present in your soil, it means you have healthy soil that contains a good amount of organic material, so there is no reason to worry about them. If anything, you should be more worried if they are not present, as this will likely mean that your soil is lacking in nutrients and a good amount of organic matter.

These mounds can seem like a bit of a nuisance to deal with, but they are a sure sign of success. Here’s why:

Earthworm benefits

  • Aeration of your soil
  • Breaking down of thatch
  • Increased decomposition
  • Creation of usable nitrogen in the soil

worm castings

Why would earthworms be considered a problem for your lawn?

Well the main reason you tend to notice that there are worms in your lawn is when they come up to the surface. During Spring and again in Autumn, or times of increased moisture, earthworms will rise to the surface and start leaving castings also known as mud balls. Castings are small mounds of worm excrement or digested organic matter, which is beneficial for your lawn. The only issue here is the appearance of these castings on top of your lawn, particularly if there are heaps of them.

earth worms

What you can do about earthworm castings

  • When the castings are dry, you can rake or brush them across the lawn. Much like an organic fertiliser this will then settle the castings into the roots and provide nutrition for your lawn.
  • During wet periods when there is no break in rainfall, instead of waiting weeks for the castings to dry out, in some cases you can simply pick them up by hand. These castings are then best added to a compost bin.
  • As worm activity is a sign of higher moisture levels, you can limit the amount of water your lawn is receiving to try and lessen their activity. When you do this, the worms will delve deeper into the soil in search of moisture. If rain and wet conditions have been persistent, then this can be particularly frustrating and the castings may stick around for an extended period. A very quick blast with a hose will help wash the castings in, lessoning their appearance on the lawn. The addition of even more water can obviously be somewhat counterproductive, so we only recommend doing this when castings are particularly bad and the additional water is minimal compared to the rain already being received.
  • Mow your lawn on a higher setting to lessen the appearance of castings in your lawn.

Limiting worm activity

  • Earth worms can rise to the surface to look for additional food sources like lawn clippings or leaves. By raking up leaves and mowing with a catcher you will reduce their food sources above the surface, letting them go back beneath the soil to look for food.
  • Top dress your lawn with a high sand content top dressing. This will help lower the moisture levels closer to the surface, encouraging them to go down into the soil. This is best done in the warmer months while your lawn is actively growing.

So next time you see these little mounds in your lawn, try not to cringe – give yourself a pat on the back, reduce their appearance as best you can and enjoy the benefits they are providing to your soil and your lawn.


 

As always, if you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to contact us for free expert advice on 1800ALLTURF (1800255873) or 07 5543 8304.