Turf Maintenance

Turf maintenance involves mowing, pest management and fertilising operations.Push Mower

*NOTE – a pest is any plant / insect / animal in the wrong place at the wrong time. Therefore this includes weeds, lawn grubs and invasive grasses.

The amount of operations required is dependent on the time of the year, the environmental conditions, the lifecycle stage of the turfgrass and the turfgrass variety.

Intergrated Turf Pest Managementdog-lawn-th (ITPM)

Pest management in turf involves the use of a number of methods to reduce the detrimental effects that weeds, insects and fungi can have on turf. Coastal Turf employs the use of an Integrated Turf Pest Management (ITPM) system in our production system, this involves researching the pest and all of the available management methods (chemical, biological and cultural) to discover the best method of managing a particular pest. Coastal Turf does not believe in the sole use of regular chemical pesticides to control pests, but rather a combination of a range of methods to improve the production system and the surrounding environment. You can use this method in your domestic lawn also!

It is Coastal Turf’s belief that the best method of pest management is regular mowing. By mowing the turf regularly an environment is created that best suits the turfgrass, creating a much healthier turf and lawn that is able to out compete pests.

 

Specific Pest Information – Lawn Grub

Lawn Grubs (Spodoptera spp.) – feed of the fresh, young, green leaf of your turf just above the ground. They drastically reduce the quality and growth of your turf.  This photo below displays a typical lawn affected by Lawn Grub –

armyworm_damage

Common symptoms are  – brown, dry and brittle turf. Closer inspection reveals the leaf blade of the turf to be eaten by something (as this photo displays). The actual lawn grub looks very similar to a caterpillar. (as this photo displays). They are range in colour from bright green to dark green / brown in colour with black dots down there back.

CommonArmyworm-Larva-500

*NOTE – Lawn grubs are also known as ‘Armyworm’. This is because they start in one section of your lawn and work their way across the lawn along a set line, similar to soldiers in a battle.

Lifecycle – To best understand how to control and PREVENT lawn grubs it is best to understand there lifecycle. The lifecycle of the Lawn Grub is explained below –

Beet Armyworm Life Cyclepiknik

The adult Lawn grub is actually a moth, brown in colour. Please see the photo below –

armyworm_adult2piknik The adult female moth flies around at night and is attracted to well maintained lawns. She lays her eggs into soft cocoons on the awnings of your house, under side of leaves and even your clothes line. These cocoons look like this –

armyworm eggspiknik

These cocoons then hatch into the caterpillars (or LARVAE). These caterpillars are the ones (lifecycle stage) that do the damage to your lawn. They will live for approx 3 weeks if allowed to. However it is best get rid of them ASAP.

lawn grub identificationpiknik

 

So how do we get rid of Lawn grubs ?

Control Methods –

Chemical control: A range of insecticides are registered for the control of Lawn grub in turf.  These are readily available from your local hardware or nursery. If possible spray late in the day as the Lawn Grub / Larvae are active at night.

Cultural Control : By breaking the lifecycle of the lawn grub you are able to PREVENT any lawn grubs getting into your lawn in the first place. This is best achieved by keeping an eye out for the soft cocoons on your awnings and gardens and either brushing or hosing them off. This will kill the eggs, hence not allowing the Lawn Grub / Larvae to eat your beautiful lush lawn.

Additional info – Lawn grubs are more likely to occur after rainfall. This is because the grass is lush and green. Therefore keep an eye out for the moths and cocoons after rain.

*Turf recovery  – even if your lawn has been completely eaten by lawn grub (lawn looks brown, brittle and dead). Your lawn will recover. The best thing to do is –

1). apply a chemical insecticide to kill all of the existing lawn grubs (make sure that you do this first BEFORE fertilizing, as if you fertilize first you will only be ‘feeding’ the existing lawn grubs).

Robbie at Coastal Turf Uses and Recommends –

‘RICHGRO Lawn Beetle and Grub Killa’RICHGRO lawn grub Killa

This product comes in an easy to apply granule (sand) form. You do NOT have to mix up any sprays. Simply sprinkle the ‘RICHGRO Lawn Beetle and Grub Killa’ over your lawn and water in (even better do it when it is raining!). Your Lawn Grub problems will be gone within 3 days! It is best to concentrate on the areas that are closest to your verandahs, awnings and large trees.

‘RICHGRO Lawn Beetle and Grub Killa’ is available from all BUNNINGS stores and most good Nurseries and Hardware.

NB -It is important to remember that the reason that there are so many different types of lawn grub insecticides out there is because different people like to use different ways to get rid of Lawn Grub and sometimes grubs can become immune to one type of insecticide. Annoying but true. So although this brand is great it is not for everyone. The important thing is to get the active ingredient right. If you need any help with them give us a quick call or email and we will help you any way we can with the war an LAWN GRUBS!

2). Fertilize your lawn with ‘Scotts Lawn Builder + Grub and Insect Control’. Found in Bunnings aLBInsectkill_2.5kg_LRnd most local hardware stores. This product will fertilize your lawn to enable a quick recovery and will also ensure that NO lawn grubs survive. Again this is what Robbie uses. If you don’t want to go to this expense or feel this product is right for you contact us.

3). Water / irrigate your turf for 2 – 3 days after applying fertilizer to ensure a quick recovery !

I hope that this info helped !

If you have any questions specifically about turf please feel free to email them to us at coastalturf@gmail.com


Fungus – After alot of rain fungus spores from the air can infiltrate your lawn . Fungus causes your lawn to die off in large spots and can begin as looking like water damage. Like mold, fungus that kill grass loves wet conditions, and thrives in it. Unfortunately there are lots of different types of fungus, ranging from Dollar spot to Rust and others. There are different types of sprays and applications for the different types of fungus infestation. Coastal Turf recommends that your first point of call be your local nursery because they will know what is around at the moment, and can recommend the best way to kill them and fast.

Soft WeedsMow Mow Mow! The best way to make your turf grass weed free is reguar love and maintenance. And round up for the really bad ones.


Lawn Mowing Heights –

The single BIGGEST mistake that most Australian Lawn Owners make is mowing there lawn too low. The green part of your lawn is the part that absorbs sunlight and turns it into energy for the grass.  When the lawn is mown too low that green part of the lawn is taken away in the catcher. This therefore means that the lawn has to draw on the reserves that it has stored in the roots. These reserves will only provide enough energy for the grass to recover once. If that lawn is then mowed down to low AGAIN, the grass has run out of reserves and begins to die off.

scalped grass

An easy way to think about it is – ‘Your lawn is very similar to your bank balance’.

The green part of the leaf is putting money back into the bank account, when you mow your lawn you are paying bills, or taking money out of the bank account. The energy stored in the roots is your overdraft or credit card, you can borrow from it BUT you have to pay it back…… The idea is to have a POSITIVE bank balance, not a NEGATIVE one. Therefore it is very important to keep putting money back into your bank account (ie, it is very important to ensure that you have the majority of your lawn in GREEN leaf). This will ensure that you bank account (lawn) will remain positive (lush and GREEN). A great way to reduce the strain on your bank balance is to pay your bills weekly instead of monthly. This means that a lesser amount of money is taken out on each payment and provides the opportunity for your bank balance to grow. (ie, the best way to ensure that you have a lush green lawn is to mow more regularly and take a lesser amount of green leaf away each time.)

scalped and unscalped grass

Each variety of Turf / Lawn should be  mown at different heights. The recommended mowing heights of established turfgrass varieties (in Summer Months) are –

Turf Type Mowing Heights (Summer)
Frequency (Summer)
Wintergreen Couch 25 – 30mm 4 times per month
Queensland Blue Couch 35mm 3 times per month
Empire Zoysia Grass 40mm 2 – 3 times per month
Buffalo Turf 40mm 3 – 4 times per month
Carpet Grass 40mm 3 times per month
Coastal Mix Turf 40mm 3 times per month

 

 

The recommended mowing heights of established turfgrass varieties (in Winter Months) are –

Turf Type Mowing Heights (Winter) Frequency (Winter)
Wintergreen Couch 35mm 2 – 3 times per month
Queensland Blue Couch 40 – 45mm 2 times per month
Empire Zoysia Grass 45 – 50mm 1 – 2 times per month
Buffalo Turf 45 – 50mm 2 – 3 times per month
Carpet Grass 40 – 45mm 2 times per month
Coastal Mix Turf 40 – 45mm 2 times per month

***NOTE – These measurements are taken from the base of the turf/top of the soil.

Some other Great tips for mowing are –

  • Only remove 1/3 of the leaf area at any one time.
  • The lower you mow it, the more often you need to mow it.  (Bowling greens are mown daily)
  • In Summer mow Weekly.
  • In Winter mow every 2nd or 3rd week.
  • In shady areas increase the mowing height of the grass. (This creates a greater leaf area to capture sunlight).
  • Mowing is the best form of weed control. (The 2nd best is physically pulling them out. Do not rely on chemicals).

As the amount of sunlight (food for the grass /lawn) changes throughout the year, so too should your mowing heights change throughout the year. There is more amount of sunlight in summer and therefore your lawn can be mown shorter. There is a lesser amount of sunlight during winter (with shorter days) and therefore your lawn should be mown higher (to allow a greater amount of food (sunlight) to be captured by the grass / lawn.


Waterlogged Lawns –

Thanks for taking your time to view our info!461_happy_couple_standing_under_an_umbrella_together_in_the_rain

We have experienced an extremely wet summer this year. We have had rain days for approx 70% of the time (21 days out of the month), usually it is around 25 – 35% (10days out of the month). The Gold Coast Bulletin ran a front page story stating that there has only been 11 clear days in the last 2 months!

All of this rain / water has three (3) major detrimental effects –

1. The Rain Drowns the turf – (this sounds worse than what it actually is). Oxygen is vital for turf growth and development. Turf / plants absorb oxygen through the soil, when there is an excessive amount of rainfall the areas in the soil that were full of oxygen (called ‘pores’) are now filled with water. Therefore there is no oxygen available for the turf. Hence the term ‘drowning’

SOLUTION – ensure that you have adequate drainage and / or topdress your lawn with 5mm of course sand. As the sand is a larger particle size than the topsoil more spaces (‘pores’) for oxygen and water will be created. The topdressing with sand theory is similar to filling a large 44 gallon drum up with basketballs (sand) OR filling a large 44 gallon drum up with golf balls (topsoil). The particles are bigger and therefore creates more spaces for the oxygen and roots of the turf.

2. Lack of Sunlight – sunlight is food for the grass, the sunlight is absorbed through the leaves of the grass / plant (photosynthesis, remember yr 11 biology….) When there is an excessive amount of rain days then there is little or no sunlight for the grass to absorb. The clouds and rain days have taken away the food source for your turf.

SOLUTION – When mowing your turf lift / raise the height of your lawn mower. This will increase the amount of leaf area available to absorb sunlight. When the sun does come out regularly again, slowly move the mowing height back down. (Remember to only remove 1/3 of the leaf at any one time).

3. Lack of nutrients – with a lack of sunlight the grass is forced to draw nutrients from its reserve it has stored in the roots. This works quite for well for a short period of time. (it is similar to a kitchen pantry, it has food stored in it but if you don’t go shopping or re-fill it the food will run out…..) . The cloudy and wet days create a limited amount of sunlight and only a small window of opportunity to absorb nutrients.

SOLUTION – to help compensate for the lack of nutrients in the grass we need to make it as easy as possible for the turf to absorb nutrients from the soil. We can achieve this by applying a chemical fertilzier. The fertilizer will provide very EASY nutrients for the grass. This fertilzier application will not have the usual jump oout of the ground effect that it usually does in hot summer months, what it will do is provide a ‘LIFE SUPPORT’ system for your struggling turf.

The only other advice that I can offer is PATIENCE. Unfortunately we cannot control the weather, therefore we must manage ourselves and our lawns around it. Im sure that if you follow these tips and apply some PATIENCE your lawn will be back to looking like a bowling green in no time !