For much of Australia February is a month of extremes. For those in the south it is often the hottest, driest and most UV extreme month of the year. For those in the north on the other hand, it can be the rainiest and most humid month of the year.
Australia is a big place, with a wide variety of climatic extremes. This means that the techniques involved in taking proper care of your lawn in February will vary greatly depending on where you find yourself in this wide brown land.
So what should you be doing to ensure your lawn thrives this February? Let’s take a look at what makes for good lawn maintenance in both the tropical and temperate parts of the country at this time of year.
February Lawn Maintenance in the North
For those in the tropics February will mark the height of wet season. The likes of Darwin and Cairns experience upwards of 400mm of rain during the month, creating real issues for plant life that may not have evolved to deal with such extreme conditions. So what can you do to help your grass get through?
Hold off on fertilising
The warm conditions and plentiful rain will have most grasses growing exceptionally fast during the wet season. But unfortunately the constant moisture can make it difficult to mow. The aim is to slow down the growth as much as possible, so applying fertiliser is a no-no.
Apply Gypsum and Lime Instead
Rather than actively promoting growth with a fertiliser, take the opportunity to improve the quality of your soil instead. Gypsum is what’s termed a “clay breaker”; it works to loosen the compacted soil that has been settled by the constant rain. Lime helps to keep the soil’s pH up, as excessive rain will eventually turn the soil acidic.
Capitalise on Mowing Opportunities
Breaks in the weather are few and far between during February in the tropics. When the sun does peek its head out from behind the clouds you want to ensure that you’re ready to go. Keep your gardening equipment fuelled and in good working order so that you’re ready to pounce when a mowing and snipping opportunity arises.
February Lawn Maintenance in the South
While the heat of the tropics remains down south, the rain does not. Southern cities, particularly Perth and Adelaide, traditionally experience next to no rain during February. This lack of moisture is combined with intense, bone-dry heat, creating a truly challenging environment for your lawn. Here are some of the ways you can help your grass to beat the heat.
Irrigate in the Mornings
The dry heat of February will evaporate any moisture in an instant. This is why smart irrigation is key to having a healthy lawn. The best way to water your grass during a dry spell is to irrigate early in the mornings, giving it a good soak 2-3 times a week. Deep watering promotes deep root growth allowing your grass to reach your property’s water table. Watering early in the morning will give your lawn a chance to soak up the moisture before it’s evaporated, but will also allow it to photosynthesise with the morning sun at the same time.
The heat of February will already be putting a strain on your grass – you don’t need to be adding to its stresses by hacking off large sections of blade all at once. Be sure to keep to the 1/3rd rule during February – “never cut more than 1/3rd of the grass blade off at any one time.” If you’re irrigating your grass properly then this rule will mean you’ll be mowing every weekend, but your grass will look all the better for it.
Aerate Your Soil
Finally, it’s important that your soil can breathe during such a trying time of year. Aerating your lawn, either with a pitchfork or a purpose-built aerator, will relieve the stress on your lawn’s roots, and will promote healthy growth.
Sure, February is a month of extremes no matter where in Australia you may be, but by taking care to apply good maintenance practices to your lawn, you’ll find your patch coping with these extremes extremely well.
Do you have any other lawn maintenance queries? Don’t hesitate to contact the friendly team at McKays!