Rolling lawns of luscious green grass beckons everyone outdoors, the young, the old, even the business suits. Well-kept lawns give a property a manicured look, showing that it is maintained and cared for. While adequate watering is a crucial element in this endeavour, it is only one aspect of the care that is required for the grass to truly thrive. Here is a look at the other considerations that are necessary for the care and maintenance plan of your turf, especially if you have a sportsfield.
The lawn is made up of three different layers. The luscious, green, healthy layer is at the top. The middle layer is dead and brown. It is mostly made up of roots, shoots and some inorganic elements. The final layer of the turf is the root system which is beneath the ground. This layer is responsible for absorbing water and nutrients from the soil. If the middle layer gets too thick, it can hamper the ability of the root systems to flourish, grow and absorb the water and nutrients that they need.
An overcrowded thatch layer will smother the lawn’s roots, preventing oxygen from penetrating the soil to the detriment of the grass, while it also interferes with water drainage in the soil (it can act like a sponge, trapping water). It also houses harmful organisms and insects that harbour and spread diseases, placing further strain on the health of your lawn. Scarification is one way of addressing this. Simply trim the thatch by cutting the grass quite low down to the ground when you are mowing the lawn, removing the brown layer along with the green top layer. Scarifying is recommended once a year to keep the thatch layer trim and thin. A vertical cutter or a lawnmower can be used for scarification.
Aerated soil can receive air and water while it keeps the thatch layer minimal (because the grass flourishes and stays greener, not adding to the dead layer). This is a fairly simple procedure: Poke holes through the grass that penetrate straight into the soil. This allows compressed soil that has become compacted to loosen and spread out, giving the roots a chance to receive more moisture and nutrients which naturally leads to better growth and healthier grass.
Providing nutrient-dense soil for your turf can be a challenge if the lawn is already established. This is why topdressing can be so helpful in addressing a number of challenges, and it can be implemented without harming the established grass if it is done with care, which is especially valuable to those who require even terrain for a sports field. Topdressing can resolve problems like uneven terrain, rehabilitation of settling soil (when water particles between soil particles decreases) which also improves the soil drainage, repairs areas with chemical and heat-stress related dry spots, while it boosts the fertility of the soil, minimising the need for fertilisers.
Topdress your turf with specialised products or lawn soil. Using a tool that is heavy but gentle like a rake, you can slowly spread the mixture over the grass. Spread it evenly until the blades of grass become visible from under the compost/lawn soil. Be sure to add more compost/lawn soil to areas that are lower to help create an even surface. This technique is best done after you have created aeration holes in the grass because it allows the compost/soil mixture to penetrate the soil via the aeration holes without causing compression.
Basically, an aggressive way to aerate the soil, hollotining or hollow coring, addresses an overgrown thatch layer in the grass by allowing the compacted soil to expand. This allows better drainage and a more efficient supply of oxygen to reach the roots of the grass. Hollotining is typically done by those with sports grounds, like golf courses. A smooth, even turf with minimal thatch layers helps to create a better surface for the sport. It also creates a visually appealing smoothness to the lawn.
Hollotining is done by removing cores of earth and turf about 13mm-16mm in diameter. The depth of the cores is determined by the reason for tining. The cores of soil and turf that are removed in the hollotining process are ejected from the ground, gathered and can be used for compost or disposed of. The holes that are left in the ground can be filled with growing medium for lawn, or they can be left bare. Hollotining is labour intensive and costly, but extremely effective at rapidly providing aeration to an area. This technique is highly recommended for grounds that frequently take a beating, like rugby fields.
As we see here, effective hydration, aeration, and a balance of the right nutrition are all important in building and maintaining the health of the soil. All of these elements are greatly enhanced when the layer of thatch in the grass is kept to a minimal level. Caring for your turf can be a challenging and costly task in property management. Allowing a landscape professional to keep your lawn luscious, thick, green and welcoming is what our business loves to do. Contact FSG here for any property, landscaping and lawn-related management, we love to hear from our readers.