Plants – Lawns



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Lawns

A lawn should be, amongst other purposes, beautiful and soft to play or entertain on. Before going through any effort it is important to know which grass grows well in your area, for grass also need specific conditions. There are fast and easy methods nowadays like ‘roll-on-turf’ for those who can afford it, but this is not the only successful option. With patience and thorough preparation any lawn can look healthy, providing lush carpeting outdoors.

Starting anew…

Again soil preparation is vital, but unlike most plants, lawn sites should be free from organic matter.

  • Start preparation on the site a couple of weeks prior to planting, for if there is any weeds, this is the time to get rid of it.

  • Work 25cm deep, through the soil, removing foreign objects and rake area level. Water the site regularly for a couple of weeks, encouraging the germination of any weed seeds. When actively growing, spray the weeds with a herbicide consisting of Dicamba, MCPA and 2-4D and wait for them to die.

  • Dig and rake through the soil once again, ensuring the texture is fine. Fertilise the soil now, but always remember that with grass one should stay clear from organic matter, for it could prove fatal. Sprinkle 2:3:2 and Superphosphate at the advised quantities over the site.

  • Ensure your site is level, for it makes not only mowing in the future easier, but the lawn will also look neater.

Now your site is ready for seeding, planting plugs, runners or laying your instant roll-on lawn.

From seed

Sowing is usually done during spring or summer and instructions are provided on the packaging.

  • Water regularly, ensuring the planting soil stays moist, even if it means several times daily.

  • Start mowing reasonably high at first, but as soon as seedlings have formed firm roots.

  • Apply 2:3:2 at six weekly intervals, until coverage is satisfactory, followed by L:A:N for good leaf growth.

  • Weed the planting site regularly.

From plugs or runners

This tried and tested method has proved very successful.

  • Plant the pieces of grass, or plugs, at about 18 - 22 p/m² and treat the same as for seeding.

  • Lay the grass strips, or runners, in grooves made in the soil, close for faster coverage if needed.

  • These runners don’t need continual moist conditions and are treated the same as seedlings.

Grass Chart for different regions





RegionVariety
Winter RainfallLM or Berea (Dactyloctenium australe); Bermuda ‘Jackpot’ (Cynodon dactylon var.); Buffalo (Stenotaphrum secundatum); Country Club (Paspalum vaginatum); Silverton Blue (Cynodon dactylon var.); Bayview (Cynodon transvaalensis var.); Florida (Cynodon transvaalensis var.); Gulfgreen (Cynodon transvaalensis var.);
CoastalBerea (Dactyloctenium australe); Bermuda ‘Jackpot’ (Cynodon dactylon var.); Buffalo (Stenotaphrum secundatum); Kearsney (Axonopus compressus); Country Club (Paspalum vaginatum); Silverton Blue (Cynodon dactylon var.); Bayview (Cynodon transvaalensis var.); Florida (Cynodon transvaalensis var.); Gulfgreen (Cynodon transvaalensis var.); Skaapplaas (Cynodon transvaalensis var.); Tifgreen (Cynodon transvaalensis x C. dactylon hybr.); Tifway (Cynodon transvaalensis x C. dactylon hybr.).
Regions with FrostBerea (Dactyloctenium australe); Bermuda ‘Jackpot’ (Cynodon dactylon var.); Buffalo (Stenotaphrum secundatum); Kearsney (Axonopus compressus); Harrismith (Cynodon dactylon var.); Newmix Sahara (Cynodon dactylon var.); Bayview (Cynodon transvaalensis var.); Florida (Cynodon transvaalensis var.); Gulfgreen (Cynodon transvaalensis var.); Skaapplaas (Cynodon transvaalensis var.); Tifgreen (Cynodon transvaalensis x C. dactylon hybr.); Tifway (Cynodon transvaalensis x C. dactylon hybr.); Tifdwarf/LMG (Cynodon transvaalensis x C. dactylon hybr.).
Semi-ShadeBerea (Dactyloctenium australe); Kearsney (Axonopus compressus); Gulfgreen (Cynodon transvaalensis var.).

The seven do’s of healthy lawns…

  • Mowing
    at least once a week is essential for a beautiful lawn, and if possible twice weekly during summer. Judge the necessary cutting height according to how fast the next mowing is needed, but don’t end up cutting into brown stems due to too short settings. The clippings can be used to sprinkle over the lawn, and so feeding it. (Grass clippings make are also good for mulching elsewhere in your garden).

  • Watering
    is of course vital and should be done at least once two-weekly. This will not only keep you grass green, but also repel insects like crickets and ants, for they prefer drier environments.

  • Aerating
    for better water drainage and enabling oxygen to reach the roots.

  • Fertilising
    betters your chance of a weed- and disease free lawn, but note that grass treated with compost is quite prone to fungal diseases. It is therefor important to only use chemical fertilisers, like L:A:N for green leaf growth and 2:3:2 for lawn matting. Tip: to rid your lawn of moles, use Ammonium Sulphate in the place of L:A:N, making it too acidic for the earthworms that moles area after. The worms will move and the moles will follow!

  • Thatch removal
    entails the cutting of your lawn so short that no green growth, but only brown areas are visible. After mowing, rake the clippings up rough enough for stolons to loosen and snap. Follow immediately with top dressing.

  • Top dressing
    is an effort well worth doing. Start off in spring by sprinkle 60g of both Superphosphate and 2:3:2 p/m² over the entire lawn. Spread clean, weed-free sand over and level by dragging a bar across. Repeat until grass is showing only just through the sand. Sprinkle 60g of 2:3:2 p/m² again over entire lawn, followed by a thorough watering. Water once weekly.

  • Edging
    every six weeks with a spade, shears or tool of your choice for a neatly edged lawn.

Popular choices for most areas…

Buffalo
Tolerates coastal conditions.
This vigorous growing species will be dormant in regions with cold winters. It is softly textured.
Cape Royal
Tolerates drought, heat and traffic.
This species grows reasonably slow, and has a medium texture
Dichondra Wonderlawn
Requires regular watering
A creeping, vigorous growing plant with kidney-shaped foliage, that is ideal for areas difficult to mow.
Florida
Tolerates drought, heat and traffic.
Dormant in cold, frosty winters, this grass species is finely textured.
Kikuyu
Tolerates heat, drought and traffic
Requires regular watering and well-draining soil
This very popular choice is mid-green and roughly textured.
Magennis
Tolerates reasonable drought.
Also used for sport fields, this fine grass should be kept short.
Outeniqua
Tolerates medium heat, drought and traffic.
This grass species will also grow in semi-shade and is dormant in the colder winter regions.
Speedy Royal
Tolerates drought, heat and traffic.
Popular for using on sport fields, this grass is lovely green with a medium texture.
Swazi grass
Requires full sun.
This grass is dormant in cold winter regions.

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