Fix a Lawn that is patchy
If your lawn or grassed area is looking a bit bald it's time to fill in the patchy spots.
When a lawn looks patchy and full of bald spots, or perhaps you have more weeds than grass, it's time to purchase some grass seed and sow your lawn for fresh growth and a lush look.
Using packet seeds is far more economical than buying instant lawn, especially if you have large areas that have bald spots. And instant lawn is generally only available in the variety Kikuyu, which is not to everyone's liking. Additionally, with grass seed you get to choose between grass for sun or grass for shady spots.
Different types of grasses
There are various types of grasses that can be sown in our climate, both inland and coastal, and grasses that prefer hot and dry rather than wet. You can even select a grass species that stays green all year round, especially in the sub-tropical zones. Kikuyu is a favoured grass species but it might not be for every garden, since it has a tendency to quickly spread out and take over beds and borders. There are other grass species that grow in clumps and are, therefore, less invasive and easier to control.
If you don't have any bald or patchy areas in the lawn but you do have dips, sprinkle lawn dressing on these areas at the beginning of spring to even out the surface. New growth will soon start to appear and the lawn dressing will help bring it up to the correct height.
Sowing your own grass seed
1. Firstly, it is best not to sow seeds on a windy day, or you could end up with grass growing everywhere! In order to prepare your lawn for seed, rake the bald spots and sprinkle superphosphate over the area before raking this in.
2. Use your hand to spread the seeds over the areas to be planted and then use a rake to gently level the area and cover the seeds. The seed pack will advise any special recommendations or requirements for a particular seed species, so do read this before you begin.
3. The soil should be kept moist for the first two weeks. Also try to avoid walking on the seeded area for about 14 days, or until the seed has started to put out strong shoots. Remove any weeds that grow to prevent these from taking over.
Lawn maintenance tips
For a healthy lawn it is vital to trim correctly with your lawnmower. Only trim new growth when the grass is about 6cm. Don't set the lawnmower on a low setting as this will cut the grass too short and could result in bald patches of dead growth. As a general rule, it is recommended that you only trim the top third at any one time, leaving two-thirds of the grass blade to create a green, lush carpet
For constant growth the grass needs to be healthy, so make it a habit to apply fertiliser with the changing of the seasons - at least four times a year.
If your grassed area receives a lot of foot traffic, at the beginning of spring use a garden fork to loosen up the compact soil so that water and fertiliser can get down to the root system.