Brisbane summers are unpredictable to say the least. In any given summer season we could be inundated with torrential rains, parched by searing sun or swept away by hurricane winds, although over recent years it seems to be more like option D) All of the above. So preparing for the incoming summer season can be difficult considering all the factors that one may have to compensate for.
The first thing that you should probably do is to find out exactly what type of lawn you have. It may be some kind of Couch grass, Kikuyu, Sir Walter or Sapphire Buffalo, or even one of the Zoysia breeds of grass such as Temple Grass. The different type of lawn you have is important, as varying types of turf will have some specific requirements for care and up keep.
All the above-mentioned types of turf are tough and drought resistant for harsh Australian conditions.
Couch grass Cynodon dactylon would have to be the most common form of lawn throughout Brisbane. Couch Grass possesses a highly drought resistant nature and quick recovery times in high traffic areas. These very qualities make Couch lawns fairly high maintenance requiring regular mowing and control of underground rhizomes that can easily penetrate adjacent garden beds.
Common Kikuyu Pennisetum clandestinum would have to be the toughest of the bunch, having propagated from a single seed imported to Australia in 1919 from the Belgian Congo. Not surprisingly Common Kikuyu is hardy and weathers well under high traffic, making it the perfect choice for sporting venues, yet often draws criticism for its invasive nature and the high maintenance required to keep it contained.
Sir Walter, Sapphire turf and even Saint Augustine are all common names for the soft leafed Buffalo grass Stenotaphrum secundatum and are well known for being quite drought tolerant and capable of lush growth when well maintained. The Sapphire strain of lawn is renowned for being very soft ground cover. Having an almost spongy texture underfoot is well known quality of all breeds of Buffalo grass and the entire strain. Due to these factors and a comprehensive advertising campaign Sir Walter has been a very popular choice in Brisbane. Whilst Sapphire turf is a newer strain it is rapidly gaining popularity due to the finer texture of the leaves.
Temple Grass Zoysia tenuifolia is a very soft and lush lawn that is remarkably tolerant to wear due to a high level of silica in the leaf, yet it is this same quality that slows down its rate of repair should it become damaged. This form of lawn is best for medium to low traffic areas due to the slow rate of regrowth. Temple grass is not only drought resistant but thrives in hot temperatures, tolerating cold very poorly.
General maintenance tips:
One of the most important but least utilized methods of preparing a lawn for the oncoming summer months is to have the your lawn aerated or cored. Any kind of lawn will certainly benefit from being aerated. This process involves running over your lawn with a large purpose built machine, not surprisingly called a lawn corer or lawn aerator. The lawn aerator is often a self propelled motorised machine that will punch hundreds of little holes into your lawn and spit out trail of tubed earth behind it.
The primary reason to aerate the lawn is to allow the flow of oxygen to penetrate into the root systems giving the roots additional energy so the lawn may thrive even in inclement weather. The application of liquid fertilizer after aeration will only boost the strength of your lawn. Additionally your lawn will benefit from a greater capacity for drainage in the very wet summer seasons. This would be the very best way to prepare your lawn for the summer season.
Once summer arrives the care you provide your lawn will vary greatly on the given summer you are having. Should summer be hot and dry with strong winds; regular watering is required, preferably early in the morning or around sunset to give your lawn a fighting chance against the hot and dry conditions.
If there are great storms and buckets of rain are being dumped upon Brisbane landscapes, you should seriously consider having any impacted lawn aerated. You can get hand aerators to do this task for badly affected lawn that may not tolerate having a heavy machine running over it when it is waterlogged. You might also create channels to increase drainage from the lawn.
If the weather pendulum swings regularly back and forth between heat and rain then your lawn will thrive and the question then is: How do you keep the lawn under control. The only answer in that situation is to mow. How regularly and how low do you mow depends on the kind of lawn you have, faster growing lawns such as Couch and Kikuyu often requiring weekly mowing.
Thanks for reading our monthly Tips and Ideas section. Happy Gardening!