Autumn – a Season to Prepare
As the weather cools down, so does the soil
With the autumn season underway in Adelaide, it is the perfect time to prepare your garden and lawn for the cooler months ahead. In this month’s newsletter, we will cover essential tips and advice to keep your garden thriving throughout April and beyond.
Testing your soil
Worried about your soil’s health? Does it look dry and off colour? Now is a great time to give your soil a boost so that it can stay strong through the cool, wet season. Strong healthy soil is crucial to having strong healthy lawn and plants.
If you are not sure how healthy your soil is then a pH test will help!
The pH scale shows how acidic or alkaline your soil is, with 7 being neutral. The ideal pH for healthy lawn growth and colour is between 6 – 7. Optimal pH is essential for effective uptake of nutrients.
Soil that is too acidic (pH of 5.5 or below) may cause your lawn to be unable to uptake nutrients from the soil. Alternatively, soil that is too alkaline (pH of 8 or higher) can cause your lawn to not only become stressed but more susceptible to weeds and diseases.
You can test your soil at home using a Manutec Soil PH Test Kit or a 3 in 1 Soil Meter, both are available instore and online.
Treating your soil
One of the most effective products we have found is our Akers Winter Blend, which is a soil conditioner made from organic materials. It is a specialised composted granular with increased nutrients and microbial activity specifically created to build resilience in your soil, neutralise pH all whilst boosting growth and moisture retention. It will also help any future fertilising to work even more efficiently.
Akers Winter Blend is currently only available as a service, please contact our office to enquire or book a treatment.
Organic matter, such as our Winter Blend, is an ideal way to lower your soil pH if it has tested too high. Alternatively, if your soil is too acidic one of the best options is to add a granular lime, such as this one.
If you have hard or clay soil, autumn is also a great time to apply some gypsum. Gypsum can take a couple of months to activate in the soil, so applying through autumn gives it the best chance to improve the soil structure before spring growth starts again. This is particularly beneficial if you have recently cored or aerated your lawn as it is able to get into the lower soil layers easier.
Our 10kg Akers Granular Gypsum is available for purchase instore or online.
The start of cool weather also brings slower lawn growth. Although you may be inclined to leave longer between mows, we recommend continuing to mow at least once a week, but adjust your mowing height up a notch. A longer leaf will help the plant to absorb more sunlight and produce more food for itself, especially in more shaded areas.
Be sure not to remove more than one-third of the grass blade length at a time. This will allow your lawn to maintain its health and thickness, as well as avoiding mower burn which is important to avoid coming into winter.
Another important tip is to never mow while your lawn is damp or wet. This can damage the lawn by tearing and bruising the leaf, and if wet clippings are left on the lawn it can smother the grass. Mowing when the soil is soaked can also lead to ruts forming and an uneven finish.
If the tips of the leaf start looking torn after a mow it could be an indication that your mower blades need sharpening or replacing.
As the weather cools and rain becomes more frequent, you can begin adjusting your watering schedule accordingly. As mentioned in the last newsletter, monitor your lawn and the weather to ensure your lawn stays well hydrated. To check if your soil is getting enough water use a moisture meter, dig into the soil to manually check, or use a catch cup to measure how much water the rain or sprinklers are supplying. Water is one of the most important things your lawn needs to be healthy, so we don’t recommend relying on just Mother Nature!