Sunday, 24 November 2013

How to kill weeds in a lawn.

          Any homeowner who takes pride in their lawn has one major enemy: weeds.
There is nothing worse than a lawn that has not been properly cared for and has
ugly weeds popping up all over the place. The first step to keeping your lawn free of
weeds is prevention.
          If you are preparing a site to plant a new lawn, be sure to get rid of any
weeds or weed roots by turning the soil to a depth of six inches and removing any
tubers or roots you see. Any weeds that may be present below six inches will not be
able to grow. To make the lawn inhospitable to any potential weeds, balance its pH
so that it is slightly on the acidic side. And be sure to establish a dense, lush lawn,
which will be better equipped to out-compete any weeds.
          Once your lawn is established, keep it well fertilized and watered so it does
not become susceptible to invasions by weeds. If you see any bald patches or areas
that are turning brown, overseed them with new grass right away, so there are no
spots where weeds can gain a foothold.
          Try to avoid mowing your lawn much shorter than 1/3 of its height. Doing so
can seriously weaken the grass, which will make it harder for the lawn to resist encroachment by weeds. If possible, try to have a strip of ground between the lawn
and the rest of the garden that can serve as a buffer from any weeds making their
way into the lawn from flower beds.
          But with even your best efforts, the occasional weed seed will wind up in your
lawn, and eventually you will see an ugly weed cropping up here or there. When
that happens, there are a few steps you can take to make sure the encroachment
does not become a full scale invasion.
          First – any time you do see a weed, remove it immediately. Using a garden
fork or trowel, dig down underneath the weed to remove not only the stem, but also
the entire primary and lateral root systems. Many weeds have the ability to spread
underground by sending out stolons or rhizomes, and the vast majority of them are
also able to grow back aggressively from just a part of the root. So make sure
nothing is left behind.
         You can also kill weeds in your lawn by having it treated with chemical
herbicides, or by using a store-bought weed killer to spot treat weeds. Spraying
weeds as they crop up will kill them off with certainty, and having the lawn treated
completely will ensure that no weeds are able to become established over the entire
growing season, although you will have to stay off your lawn for a few days after it
has been treated.
          If you would rather avoid using chemical weed-killers, there are other
methods available. You can kill most weeds by pouring boiling water on them, or by
smothering them with newspapers. Flame-treating weeds is a quick and easy way to
kill them off, although if you are not careful you run the risk of scorching your lawn
as well.

Grass Seed VS Turf

          A new lawn can be planted one of two ways: by spreading grass seed or
putting down new turf. Planting new turf allows you to have a new lawn established
much more quickly than spreading grass seed, which will take two to four weeks to
fill in, and can be more susceptible to various problems than laying new turf: you
have to thoroughly prepare the topsoil for new seed, take care to protect newly
spread seed from birds, water it on a regular schedule to keep it from drying out.
Planting new turf does require some soil preparation to ensure that it takes fully and
grows well over the rest of the growing season, but you do not have to worry about
birds or water it quite as thoroughly as you do seed.
          Planting seed has the major advantage that it will be considerably less
expensive than turf, however. If you have never sowed grass seed before, its is well worth investing 30 minutes to learn how to grow grass. You can visit our homepage to find the link to download our free ebook for planting the perfect lawn.

Turf costs much more per square foot than grass seed, and it is not always available in as many varieties as grass seed can be. While
you can put down new turf yourself, some people opt to have professionals do it,
which can be an additional cost. So you have to decide whether you want a lawn
that is more or less instantly ready, but costs more, or if you want to save money
but wait several weeks for it to become established.
          Whether you are laying down new turf or establishing a lawn by spreading
seeds, the first step is to prepare the site thoroughly. The first step is to turn the soil
over to make sure it is well aerated and has good drainage. It is also a very good
practice to test the soil’s pH to make sure it is in the optimal range for growing
grass. The top layer of soil can be amended with well-finished manure or compost in
order to ensure that it has a high level of nitrogen, phosphorus and other beneficial
nutrients.
          Grass seed can be broadcast by hand or with the use of a mechanical
spreader, which provides a more uniform distribution of seeds. To protect the seed
until it is established, you should cover the seeds with a light layer of hay or other
mulch (and I do mean light – you don’t want to smother the seeds). Protecting them
from birds with specially designed netting is also recommended.
          New turf should be rolled out parallel to the longer side of the lawn, and the
seams should be staggered so they are not right next to one another. Be careful not
to stretch the individual pieces of turf too much, as they will shrink a bit as they dry
out. If you are laying out turf on an incline, lay the pieces out perpendicular to the
slope, and secure them with stakes until the roots have gotten a chance to grow
into the topsoil.


          Grass seed should be watered twice a day, and using a timer to ensure
regular watering is a good practice. Newly planted turf should be watered
thoroughly when it is first laid out, and then with moderate frequency for the first
month after you put it down – once a day at most.

If you would like to lean more about how to seed a lawn, comment below, or send an email to tim@mckaysgrassseeds.com.au.

Guide to watering a new lawn

           Watering a new lawn is one of the most important things you can do to
ensure that it takes root properly and is well established. This is an important time
in the new lawn’s life – the amount of water you provide for it will determine a
number of later features of the lawn. This includes affecting how many seeds
actually sprout, which will determine how dense and lush the lawn will eventually
be. The density of the lawn will affect how susceptible to weeds spreading through
it.
          Watering levels also affect how deep the individual grass leaves’ roots will
grow – which will affect how well it can survive droughts and recover from damage.
In addition to establishing well drained soil, frequent watering is one of the most
important factors affecting root growth in new lawns.
          If you are planting a new lawn from seed, water it two or three times a day.
You want to ensure that you are watering not only frequently but also deeply: you
want to make sure you are soaking the soil thoroughly to a depth of about six inches
(9 cm). Light watering will produce healthy grass, but it will have shallow, weaker
roots that will not survive drought as well.
          If you are watering using a basic oscillating sprinkler, be sure to set an alarm
to remind you to shut it off after about an hour or so. You do not want to run the risk
of overwatering your newly planted grass seed or worse, washing away topsoil by
leaving the sprinkler running overnight.
          There are also relatively inexpensive automatic timers that can be attached
to any outdoor spigot and set to water the new seed automatically. This can be an
excellent long-term investment, because it allows you to simply set the timer once
and forget about it. Once your lawn is established after a few weeks, you can adjust
the timer to water more infrequently, and dial it back up in the event of heat waves
and drought.
          Depending on the kind of soil you are planting your new lawn in, you will
have to adjust your watering routine. If the soil in your garden is heavy in clay
content, you will have to water it rather deeply but less often, because clay soils do
not drain as well but hold water better. If the soil in the garden is sandier, you will
have to water it less deeply but more often, because sandy soils drain very well but
do not hold water easily. If you have a well balanced loam in your garden, you
should water it deeply and often.
          Do not simply decide on a schedule and stick to it rigorously. Weather
conditions such as high humidity or regular precipitation are going to affect how
moist the soil is. Overwatering the soil can be just as harmful to newly planted grass
seed as not watering enough. You do not want to run the risk of drowning your
seeds or seedlings before they get a chance to be established.


When to plant new lawn seed

          The best time for when to plant new lawn seed depends on a couple of
factors, including the region you live in and whether you are planting an entirely
new lawn or overseeding the lawn for other reasons. As a general rule, unless you
live in a very mild climate that has pretty stable weather conditions all year round,
you should not plant new lawn seed in winter for obvious reasons, and you shouldn't
plant new lawn seed in the heat of the summer months -unless you have the time to keep it consistently watered.
         So, that leaves spring and fall as the best seasons for when to plant new lawn
seed. If you are starting an entirely new lawn, spring is the best time to plant new
lawn seed. During the cool spring months, the grass will have a chance to get
established without being at risk for drought or soaring temperatures. Wait until any
danger of frost has completely passed – you do not want your new seeds getting
frozen to death out there.
          Most grasses grow optimally at temperatures between 50 and 65 degrees
Fahrenheit (10 and 20 C), so spring temps will be perfect for new lawn seed to
become well established. You should also avoid planting new seed if several days of
heavy rainfall are predicted. While new grass seed definitely needs a healthy
amount of water to help it get well established, severe rainstorms run the risk of washing new seeds away along with bare topsoil, which is something we definitely
want to avoid.
          Then, the grass will have all summer to finish filling in completely, and by the
time autumn rolls around, you will have a complete lawn that is robust enough to go
dormant and make it through the winter to be ready to wake up the following
spring.
          When overseeding lawn, you generally want to do it in the fall. There
are a few reasons for this. First of all, if you have a lawn that is composed of a warm
season grass like St. Augustine, Bermuda or zoysia grass, it will turn brown when it
goes dormant in the winter. If you want to keep it looking lush and green over the
winter, you will have to overseed your lawn with a cool season grass like rye. That
should obviously be done in the autumn months, preferably after there is no danger
of a heat wave but well before temperatures drop too low for grass to grow well.
          If you are only overseeding your lawn in order to reinvigorate it because it is
looking a bit sparse, you should do it in the fall as well. This way, you are not
stressing the existing grass too much by thatching or scalping it during the hot
summer months; your new seeds will still have enough time to get established
before the first frost date.
          If you are planting new seed to fill in the occasional small bare patch, you can
do it anytime that temperatures are not prohibitively high, provided you water it
well.



How to stop birds eating grass seed

          Planting a new lawn from seed takes a lot of work. You have to completely
prepare the soil beforehand. Generally, this involves tilling it thoroughly test its pH
to make sure it is optimal for grass seed, and amending it with well-finished fertilizer
or lime. That by itself is a few days’ worth of work. Then there is planting the seed
and watering it two or three times a day until it becomes established.
          So there is nothing worse than going through all of that effort only to find that
birds have gotten there before the seed has rooted and eaten it all. Not only does
that wind up making all of your effort wasted, it costs a bit of money, too. This is
true whether you are seeding an entirely new lawn, overseeding for the winter, or
just filling in patches and bare spots on the lawn.
          Fortunately, there are a few easy solutions to stop birds eating grass seed.
One of the easiest – and most effective – methods is to use bird netting. Bird netting
is available at most garden supply shops, and if it’s used properly, it will prevent
pesky birds from getting anywhere near your fresh grass seeds.
          Bird netting comes in rolls. Plant stakes opposite one another along the sides
of the freshly seeded lawn at intervals as wide as the roll, and then stretch the netting across the lawn from one side to the other at a height of two or three inches.
This will be high enough to stop birds eating grass seed, because they won’t be
getting to the seed from above, but still low enough to keep them from hopping in
beneath it.
          There are a few other steps you can take to augment the netting and help
make absolutely certain that you have done everything to stop birds eating grass
seed. Birds are frightened away by moving shiny objects, so plant brightly colored,
metallic pinwheels at intervals around the lawn. Or, if you do not have any
pinwheels, attach strips of shiny Mylar to the stakes you stretched the netting over.
          Birds are also easily startled by loud, sudden noises. Hang a few tin or
aluminum pie plates from string near the new lawn; when the wind blows the plates
will clang together, frightening away any birds that might be eyeing your yard. You
can also play recordings of songbird distress calls or raptor screeches in your yard,
which will also go a long way to keeping hungry birds out of your yard. MP3
recordings of these birds are available for free at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s
website as well as others.
          If you apply all of these techniques, you can rest assured that your new seed
will be safe from hungry birds. As a side note, it is worth saying that you will
probably not have much luck with stationary scarecrows or owl effigies. Birds are
not at all stupid, and after observing a motionless silhouette for a while they will
figure out pretty quickly that it isn’t real.



How to kill cape weed

          Planting a new lawn can seem like a big, challenging job, but it does not have
to be. There are a number of basic steps you can take when you are planting a new
lawn that will keep the overall labor and time spent to a minimum and ensure that
once your lawn is established, it will be lush and healthy.
         The first step when you are getting ready to plant a new lawn is to determine
what kind of grass will be best for your region. Certain grasses are better adapted to
colder climates, and others are specifically adapted to grow in hot, dry climates. The
variety (or mix) you choose is going to be determined largely by where you live.
          Popular cool season grasses include the bluegrasses, fescues, and rye
grasses. These varieties tend to be hardy, remain green year round, and are much
finer than most warm season grasses. It’s best to select a mix of either bluegrass or
fescue and rye grass, or else all three in varying proportions. Cool season grasses
are usually grown from seed.
          Popular warm season grasses include Bermuda grass and zoysia grass. These
varieties are adapted to regions that have very hot, dry summers and mild winters.
Bermuda grass is a coarse, drought resistant variety that grows best in full sun. It is
well adapted to growing in coastal regions, where the air is a bit more salty. Zoysia
is a slow-growing, lush grass that is heat tolerant but requires steady watering.
Warm season grasses usually go dormant and turn brown in the winter, but will
rebound in the spring. These varieties are best grown from sod.
          Once you have determined which varieties of grass are best for your region,
it’s time to prepare the soil for planting the new lawn. If you are planting a new lawn
on bare soil, or if you are establishing a new lawn where grass is growing sparsely,
start by tilling the soil to aerate it and break it up. Test the pH of the soil to
determine if it is alkaline or acidic. There are simple techniques for testing soil pH as
well as for correcting it if it is too high or too low.
          It’s always a good idea to amend the soil with Lime. This provides a healthy
balance of nutrients to the new lawn, and helps to ensure that it will be well
established and lush.
          Planting grass seed can be a bit involved, since you have to make sure it is
protected from birds until it is established. Water twice a day, in the evening and
early morning. Within 2-4 weeks you should see new grass growing.


Step by step for overseeding an existing lawn

          Overseeding the lawn is an important part of making sure that it remains
healthy and vibrant. There are a number of reasons to overseed an existing lawn:
you may have some bare spots in your lawn, or you want to improve the diversity of
grass varieties in your lawn or the density of the turf. Perhaps you want to give your
lawn a more vibrant color, make it less susceptible to disease, insect infestation, or
invasions by weeds.
          If you live in a climate that has hot summers and mild winters, you probably
have a warm season turf grass growing in your lawn. These go dormant and turn
brown during the winter; overseeding with rye grass is a great way to keep a warm
season lawn looking beautiful through the winter months.
         The best time to overseed your lawn is in the early fall; if you missed that
window, you can also overseed an existing lawn in the spring. You should avoid
overseeding an existing lawn in the heat of summer. The first step to overseeding
an existing lawn is to “scalp” it, or mow it down much lower than you typically
would. This helps to reduce the competition from established grass with the new
seeds, and makes sure they are not blocked from receiving sunlight while they are
getting established. Drop your mower’s cutting deck to its lowest setting, and go
over the entire lawn at least twice. Do not leave your grass clippings in the lawn;
remove and either discard or compost them.
         Next, remove thatch from your lawn. Thatch is the layer of dead and
decaying organic materials just above the soil surface. Use a garden rake to pull all
of the thatch out. It’s best to rake first in one direction, and then repeat at right
angles. If you have a very large lawn or tough thatch, you can rent a power
dethatcher from most garden centers. These are operated very much like a lawn
mower.
         Once the lawn is properly thatched, you should be able to see a fair amount
of the soil surface. If the soil is still fairly compacted, aerate it using a broadfork or
aerator shoes on smaller areas, or a lawn tractor with a tow-behind spike aerator.
Add a very thin top dressing of well-finished compost or manure to the
surface of the lawn. Less is more in this case: it is preferable to put too little manure
or compost down than risk putting too much down. Rake the compost into the lawn
with a thatch rake; make sure the existing grass is not buried in it.
          Select a variety of seed that will compliment your existing lawn and make
sure it is well suited to your climate. Follow the instructions on the package for the
application rate. Depending on the size of the lawn, you can either apply the seed
with a mechanical spreader like a rotary or drop spreader, or broadcast seeds by
hand. Gently rake the lawn to help the new seeds settle. Water the lawn generously,
and continue to water it at least twice a day until the seeds have become
established.

If you are on the lookout to buy grass seed online, visit our website McKays Grass Seed to see a wide variety of grass seed for sale.

Testing a soil’s pH level for a new lawn

         When you plant a new lawn, a very important part of ensuring that it is
healthy and grows well is making sure the soil’s pH level is right. pH is a assessment
of how acidic or alkaline (basic) something is, and it is measured on a scale from 0
to 14, with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. Water has a
neutral pH of 7. The best pH for all grass varieties is ever so slightly on the acidic
side of the scale, from 6.5 – 7.You can find out the pH of the soil in your yard rather easily. Home pH testing  kits are now widely available at garden centers and online, and they can give you
accurate readings in a matter of minutes. They can be very simple testing kits that
use paper strips that indicate pH by turning blue or red, depending on acidity or
alkalinity; or they can be electronic meters, which are more expensive but also give
a more accurate pH reading.
          Or, for a more thorough testing of soil pH, nutrient content, and levels of lead
and other heavy metals, you can send soil samples to a local agricultural advisory
services lab. They will provide a full workup of the soil content and pH and provide
recommendations for amending it. While this kind of thorough testing is not really
necessary for making sure your new lawn grows properly, the information can be
very informative and interesting.
          With a home testing kit, it is best to take a few samples from around the area
where you intend to plant your new lawn. If you are using an electronic meter, dig a
small hole, and fill it with distilled water, mixing it until it is nicely turbid (muddy).
It’s important to use distilled water, because it is truly neutral, whereas tap water
can be somewhat alkaline, and rainwater can be acidic. Insert the probe, wait one
minute, and record the reading. Repeat this in a few other locations. If you are using
paper test strips, take a few samples from around the yard, bring them indoors, and
mix them independently with distilled water. Place a few drops of each on a test
strip. The strip will instantly change color, indicating the pH of the soil.
         If your soil is too acidic, the best way to correct it is by adding lime to the soil.
Mix dolimitic or calcitic lime to the soil to a depth of about four to six inches at a
rate of a pound per 100 square feet. This should be done at least a week before you
intend to plant the new lawn. If your soil is too alkaline, the best product for large
areas is granular sulfur, although it is slow acting and will take over a month to have
an effect. Mix granular sulfur into the soil to a depth of four inches at a rate of one
pound per 100 square feet. After a few weeks, test soil pH again to see if it is having
the desired effect.

How to prepare soil for a new lawn

         In order to prepare soil for a new lawn, your goal is to make sure the soil is
nutrient rich, well drained and properly aerated. While most turf grass does not
grow very deeply – the roots of cool season grasses grow two to six inches – it is stillimportant to ensure the soil is not compacted so there is good drainage. You should
also work a healthy amount of organic matter into the soil if it is available. This is
called tilling the soil, and there are a couple of ways you can do it.
         There are two ways to prepare soil for a new lawn: you can either till the soil
by hand or use a Rototiller. If you are not planting a particularly big lawn, tilling the
soil by hand can be a good way to go. To prepare soil for a new lawn by hand, use a
sturdy spade to dig down to a depth of about six inches and turn the soil over. Break
up bigger chunks of the soil with the spade, or go over it with a rake of hoe to break
them up. Preparing the soil by hand can be a fair amount of work, especially if the
soil is very compacted.
          If you are preparing soil for a new lawn in a space that is too large to
efficiently work with a spade, or if the soil is too compacted to work by hand, using
a Rototiller can cut down on the workload considerably. These machines can be
rented from your local hardware or garden supply store. They take some getting
used to, so if you have never used one before, have someone at the store show you
how to operate it. The Rototiller has several blades that will quickly plow through
the soil and break it up.
         The next step to prepare soil for a new lawn is one that many people often
skip, but it is an important one that will ensure your grass is lush and healthy. Now
that the soil is nicely broken up, you should work organic matter into it. This can be
well-finished compost or manure or lime. If you have your own compost pile, great.
If not, you can try to find a local community garden; they often have plenty of
compost that they’re willing to give away for free. Otherwise, you can buy manure
at your local garden center.
         It is best to work the manure or compost into the soil to a depth of four
inches. Spread the organic matter at a rate of about four pounds per hundred
square feet. Work it in with a rake or hoe, moving backwards and taking care to
avoid compacting areas you have already finished.
         Ensure that no weed seeds are alive in the soil, spread black plastic over the
area and leave it for a week or so. This is a process called solarization. It allows the
sun to raise the soil temperature to levels that will kill any seeds or microbes. Now
you’re ready to plant your new lawn.

How to plant a new lawn

         When first learning how to grow grass from seed, planting a new lawn can seem like a big, challenging job, but it does not have
to be. There are a number of basic steps you can take when you are planting grass seed that will keep the overall labour and time spent to a minimum and ensure that
once your lawn is established, it will be lush and healthy.
         The first step when you are getting ready to plant a new lawn is to determine
what kind of grass will be best for your region. Certain grasses are better adapted to
colder climates, and others are specifically adapted to grow in hot, dry climates. The
variety (or mix) you choose is going to be determined largely by where you live.
         Popular cool season grasses include the bluegrasses, fescues, and rye
grasses. These varieties tend to be hardy, remain green year round, and are much
finer than most warm season grasses. It’s best to select a mix of either bluegrass or
fescue and rye grass, or else all three in varying proportions. Cool season grasses
are usually grown from seed.
         Popular warm season grasses include Bermuda grass and zoysia grass. These
varieties are adapted to regions that have very hot, dry summers and mild winters.
Bermuda grass is a coarse, drought resistant variety that grows best in full sun. It is
well adapted to growing in coastal regions, where the air is a bit more salty. Zoysia
is a slow-growing, lush grass that is heat tolerant but requires steady watering.
Warm season grasses usually go dormant and turn brown in the winter, but will
rebound in the spring. These varieties are best grown from sod.
         Once you have determined which varieties of grass are best for your region,
it’s time to prepare the soil for planting the new lawn. If you are planting a new lawn
on bare soil, or if you are establishing a new lawn where grass is growing sparsely,
start by tilling the soil to aerate it and break it up. Test the pH of the soil to
determine if it is alkaline or acidic. There are simple techniques for testing soil pH as
well as for correcting it if it is too high or too low.
         It’s always a good idea to amend the soil with Lime. This provides a healthy
balance of nutrients to the new lawn, and helps to ensure that it will be well
established and lush.
         Planting grass seed can be a bit involved, since you have to make sure it is
protected from birds until it is established. Water twice a day, in the evening and
early morning. Within 2-4 weeks you should see new grass growing.

If you have any more question on how to sow grass seed you can contact my email on tim@mckaysgrassseeds.com.au