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    Lawn guide: Should you repair or replace?

    How to make your lawn beautiful again

    Hannah | Oneflare

    Whether you have natural grass, sod or artificial turf, there may come a time when you need to do some maintenance to whip your lawn into shape again. For example, if your lawn has brown spots or is looking worn, it’s probably time to take action. Here we’ll explore whether you should be replacing or repairing your lawn in order to bring it back to it’s full glory.

    The best time to work on your lawn

    The best time to repair or replace your lawn is between late autumn and spring. During this season, your lawn is starting to hibernate in preparation for the peak growing season.

    If you need to repair your lawn, the best time is between late autumn and spring / Source: Old School Landscaping

    Signs your lawn needs to be repaired

    Signs that your lawn needs to be repaired include:

    • Bare spots in your lawn
    • Large areas of lawn that don’t look healthy
    • Areas of lawn that are burned
    • There are a lot of weeds in your lawn
    • Areas of the lawn look old or worn
    • Pieces of turf are missing or damaged

    The best ways to repair your lawn

    There are different maintenance techniques that you can use to revive your lawn. Here are some useful lawn maintenance techniques:

    1. Aeration

    Weeds thrive in arid, dense soil and plants starve from deprived oxygen and nutrients. Aerating your soil is the best way to achieve rapid repair. It breaks through thatched layers, enables roots to breathe and increases water and nutrient penetration.Aeration makes the soil more able to absorb water, and being doing this regularly you’ll likely reduce the amount of water needed to keep your lawn looking healthy all year round.

    To aerate your lawn, use an aerating tool to loosen compacted soil during autumn or early winter. After aerating put fertiliser, sand or compost over the grass to give added nutrients to the soil. Be sure to trim your lawn down before aerating in order to get as deep in the soil and root system as possible.

    2. Dethatching

    Dethatching is a process where you remove a layer of grass stems, roots, clippings and other debris that have accumulated in your lawn. Although having thatch is important, a build-up of debris can suffocate your lawn, causing it to look worn and dull. Too much of thatch can also prevent water and essential nutrients from seeping into the roots of the grass. An easy way to dethatch your lawn is to go over it thoroughly with a rake to remove the debris.

    3. Seeding

    Spread new grass seeds over your lawn if you have a lot of brown or burned spots. Spread more seeds than you need to make your lawn look thick and lush.  

    Signs your lawn needs to be replaced

    If your lawn is in really bad condition, maintenance techniques won’t be enough to save it. Signs you need to completely replace your lawn include:

    • The entire lawn is dead
    • Large areas of the lawn are dead and have not responded to maintenance attempts
    • The turf is damaged or worn
    Sometimes a lawn will need to be completely replaced / Source: All Lawns and Garden

    How to replace your lawn

    To replace your lawn, you first need to remove your existing lawn. Use a hoe to uproot the entire lawn, including the roots, and rake away all the debris. Then spread rich topsoil as a base for your new lawn. After you have done these steps, you can spread new grass seeds or lay new sod. Be sure to give your lawn plenty of water.

    If you are planning to lay artificial turf, you should still remove the old lawn and debris, but you don’t need to lay a rich topsoil, since artificial turf is not alive.

    Tips for maintaining your lawn

    Feed your lawn

    Nourishment is the key to maintaining a lawn that looks good. For a healthy looking lawn, ensure that it has adequate fertiliser. Fertilisers should be added in spring to promote good growth in the summer. Fertilisers can be bought at gardening stores, or in the gardening section of hardware department stores. When buying fertiliser, make sure you buy one specifically made for lawns. Lawn fertilisers may be organic, synthetic or a combination of the two.

    Prior to applying fertiliser, make sure that your lawn is free of weeds and is well aerated. To simplify your job, there are a number of fertilisers that come with added weedkillers. Apply fertiliser in even coats. Doubling up the fertiliser may burn the grass. Once you have added the fertiliser, remember to water it in.

    Remove weeds

    Removing weeds is essential to promoting healthy lawn growth. Weeds grow very quickly and easily and can hamper the growth of your lawn if given the chance to grow. Weeds should be pulled out as soon as they come in. There are special tools that you can use to weed while standing.

    Contact local gardeners

    Ensure adequate water supply

    Lawns need to be watered regularly for healthy growth. Lawns are best watered in the morning before the sun comes out. Make it a practice to water your lawn at the roots. This will promote growth at the deeper root level as well.

    Learn how to mow

    Make sure you mow your lawn the correct way. Never mow it shorter than 7.5 centimetres. Any shorter, and portions of your lawn may actually die off.

    Keep your lawn slightly acidic

    Plan to periodically — annually is best — test your lawn’s pH with a soil testing kit. You want it be slightly acidic at about 6 or 6.5. Any higher, and your lawn is too alkaline, lower and it’s too acidic. You can fix acidic lawns by spreading dolomite or garden lime. An alkaline lawn can be repaired by spreading sulphate of ammonia over the lawn. With any of these products, make sure to carefully follow the instructions and water them into the lawn well.

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