With the help of Blair Christiansen, Eden Park’s Turf Manager, Kennards Hire has put together a series of tips, tricks, and tools to keep your lawn looking pitch-ready this summer.
According to climate experts, Kiwis are set to head into one of the hottest and driest summers we have experienced to date, thanks to El Niño. Following a year of rain for much of Aotearoa, our lawns need some extra TLC this year to prepare for summer.
Blair Christiansen, Eden Park’s Turf Manager, spends 24/7 maintaining New Zealand’s most iconic piece of turf, even on his holidays. With his work regularly shown on the most public of stages, he knows the score when it comes to lawn care.
There are a few things to consider before getting stuck into your backyard. Blair suggests taking note of how much shade your lawn gets, soil type, bare patches, and what you intend the lawn to be used for; is it an urban sanctuary or the perfect field for a kick about with the kids? Understanding these elements will help you maintain it properly over summer.
Whether you are prepping or maintaining your lawn for summer, you’ll need some key pieces of equipment. If you’re starting from scratch and planning to completely overhaul your lawn, a walk around with a rotary hoe will help improve soil condition. For those revamping an existing lawn, you can use a lawn roller when conditions are perfect to help smooth out any uneven lumps and bumps to get that perfect levelled look. Equipment can be expensive, so Blair recommends hiring your lawn tools from Kennards Hire, that way you can use the right tools for the job, without the hefty price tag.
Blair said, “Hiring specialised equipment is a cost-effective way to ensure tasks are done well without over capitalising infrequently used gear. We often do this at Eden Park.”
During the summer season some grasses grow rapidly, so it is necessary to mow your lawn regularly. The best time to do this is on a dry day. Mowing on a wet day can damage the grass and clog the mower and leave a poor finish. For those that enjoy clean lines, use a line trimmer to get a crisp finish along the boundaries of your lawn.
As for watering, Blair’s rule of thumb is to irrigate every day in summer when the grass is young, and cutting back to every third day when the grass is older. A hose at home will do the job perfectly but if you have a bigger area, a built-in system might be something to consider.
Supplementing lawns with granular wetting agents is also helpful in summer. These ensure soils hold onto water for longer and watering can be reduced.
Feeding your lawn is essential for its health, and it is important to choose the right fertilisers. During the summer months, a fertiliser balanced with Nitrogen and Potassium helps provide regular growth for recovery and improved density with additional stress resilience. When working with fertiliser, remember to read the instructions carefully and apply it only in the recommended quantities.
“At Eden Park, we use a 20-4-20 NPK rated fertiliser at 25g/m2 every 8 weeks and it works very well. Wash the fertiliser in or apply in the rain as the grassroots take up the nutrition not the leaves.” Blair continued.
In some cases, leaving the grass clippings on your lawn after mowing can be beneficial for the grass, as they will return essential nutrients to your lawn as they decompose – provided the clippings aren’t too long.
If your lawn cuttings have made their way across your pathways or decking, you can use a cordless Lawn Blower to quickly clean up the area. Blowing the turf cuttings away into an area and sweeping them up is the easiest way to keep your yard crisp and clean.
Check out your local Kennards Hire branch for advice on equipment hire to get a lawn that is pitch perfect.
For the biggest summer sport and entertainment events in New Zealand, visit the Eden Park website.
This article was provided by Tom Kimber, general manager, Kennards Hire New Zealand, and Blair Christiansen, Eden Park turf manager.