Posts in Lawn Tips
How to prevent lawn frostbite
Frosted grass and dew

It’s quite chilly these days in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Lucky for us, we can turn up the heating. But just think how it must be for your grass out there. Our grass puts up with a lot, but sometimes the colder weather can be a bit too ‘nippy’.

 

Many plants go into dormancy over the colder periods and can lose their green colour. Freezing temperatures can turn your lawn brown, but don’t fret, this is perfectly normal. Don’t fertilise your lawn during winter, instead wait for the natural cycle to occur during the spring season. 

 

Hydration

Remember to water your plants and grass as they still need to keep hydrated during the colder months. Drought can occur even in winter which can cause roots to dry up and die. 

‘So, when should I water my plants and grass’, you may be asking?

The simple answer is: do it in the morning. This way the moisture has plenty of time to soak into the soil. If it’s done at night, sometimes it doesn’t evaporate well. This means it stays on the blades of grass and this encourages fungal growth. You don’t need to water as much as you would in summer, about half of what you would normally have done. It’s also a good idea to give your plants a water if you know a frost is coming. Plants that have cells full of water will be stronger against damaging cold breezes. Be careful not to over water though, try to reduce watering during cold spells. 

 

Cover plants

Move any indoor plants that are still outside under cover, or inside. If you have any outdoor plants you are worried about frosting over, try placing a frost cloth over them during nights to insulate a little bit. It’s best to purchase a commercially made frost cloth from a garden store. The fabric is light and woven to allow airflow and light in. It’s also thick enough to retain warmth in the soil. Just remember to tuck in your plants in the windy weather and weigh down the frost cloths with rocks or potted plants to keep them from flying away!

 

A frosted lawn

There’s something about a frosty morning and icy lawn that is magical. But don’t be fooled as the icy shards are dangerous little daggers to a blade of grass. A frosted lawn will bruise and break grass blades easily with a little pressure on the ice. This means yellowing grass and brown or black damaged spots when the grass dries. So if your lawn does have a frost over it, try to avoid walking or driving over it until the sun has warmed things up a little. 

 

Keep mowing your lawn in winter too,  most people mow their lawn a little less frequently in winter. Try to avoid mowing in heavy rain. It won’t kill you, but will make it a lot harder.  Another tip is to cut your lawn a bit longer than you normally would. A longer lawn reduces the risk of ‘scalping’ which is cutting the lawn too short - making it susceptible to weeds and further damage. The longer blades will help protect the root of the blades from getting damaged by the frost. 

 

 

Frosted plants

If your plants have suffered in the cold, don’t fear the worst, and don’t run straight for the snips.

  • Despite how badly you want to give them some love, clipping any dead looking branches immediately after frost will shock the plant. Wait until the sun has warmed them up for a few days. 
     
  • Keep watering plants after frost strikes as it will stimulate growth. 
     
  • Prune after several days of a frosty spell, this will give the plant a good chance to repair itself. Scratch back the bark to see if any branches are dead - revealing a tan or brown colour underneath or a healthy looking green. 
     
  • Delay wood plant pruning until the end of spring to give them more time to grow and show what parts of the tree are still alive.

 

Hopefully you feel a bit more prepared for the upcoming cold spells and remember: Keep watering, keep cutting the lawn, and look after your plants. But most importantly - don’t step on the grass!

 

Frosts in New Zealand can often be unexpected so we recommend you go out and grab yourself a frost cloth as we enter the cooler period. Your lawn will thank you for using these tips in spring, and hopefully your garden will fare better in times of frost too. 


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What grass is between your toes?

Grass is grass, right? Wrong. Contrary to popular belief, the type of grass your backyard has might be different to that of your neighbours, and the process of caring for it might differ significantly as well. In New Zealand alone, the average yard has a chance of being home to at least one of six types of common grasses, if not more.

 

If you’re looking to get to grips with lawn care, you might like to
know a little bit about that greenery in your own backyard.

 

Tall fescue grass

Tall Fescue

Out of all grass types in Auckland and surrounding regions, you are more likely to come across Tall Fescue, a hard-wearing, dark green grass, than any other. Tall Fescue is coarse in texture, bunches together, and stands erect even when trampled. If you’re interested in lawn care, this type of grass is most likely going to be the most recommended option for your backyard.

 

It fairs well in low-water situations, adapts to various soil types, and is more tolerant to everyday wear and tear than some of the more delicate grasses available. What’s more, the seeds are affordable when you’re looking to sow grass yourself, and lawn mowing is a breeze.

 

Tip: Plant at least 50 grams of seeds per square metre and mow down to a minimum height of 50mm.


Fine fescue grass

Fine Fescue

Fine Fescue is not necessarily one type of grass; instead, it’s a collective of many different Fescue grass kinds found throughout the country. Fine Fescue incorporates red, hard, sheep and chewings fescue – variations of each other but with defining factors. When you’re beginning to take a real interest in lawn care, ask for advice on the best type of Fine Fescue for your exact needs.

 

Rather than be quite broad in the leaf like many other kinds of grass on the market, Fine Fescue is more narrow in its appearance. In fact, its leaves are typically quite easy to spot because they are more likely to be needle-shaped opposed to broad. This type of grass tends to mat together quite well and is suitable for areas that don’t get a lot of sunshine, but it does tend to suffer when faced with impact. Therefore, if you have pets or children who love to play outdoors, Fine Fescue might not be the best option for you.

 

This type of grass, when faced with drought conditions, can also suffer more than most. It is known to go dormant for periods of time, before coming back to life almost wholeheartedly when autumn showers roll in. It’s typically quite clever at defending itself against black beetles and is also easy to protect from foreign grasses.

 

Tip: Mow down to a height of 30mm and be aware that the seeds are slow to germinate in the beginning.


Couch grass

Couch Grass

While Couch Grass is becoming a more common type of grass, it’s also quite an evasive one. Therefore, if you find yourself growing this rugged, robust grass, it’s helpful to read up on correct lawn care techniques. You want to be able to control it, rather than let it control you.

 

As it grows sideways, it’s a popular option for backyards that have a lot of foot traffic – such as those with children and pets. Even daily trampling is not enough to see it die away. However, if you live in an area with shade or frost, it doesn’t tend to flourish all that well. Instead, it waits for soil temperatures to increase before it takes off – often in the direction of your prized perennials.

 

If you live near the beach or your soil traditionally has high salt content, Couch Grass tends to be the best grass for these situations.

 

Tip: It has a highly intricate root system and has been known to overtake gardens and pathways. Get trigger-happy with herbicides to keep it on a short leash.


Kikuyu grass

Kikuyu Grass

Similar to Couch Grass, Kikuyu is another type of hardwearing grass that’s perfect for the family of pets and children to play on outdoors. It’s typically found around coastal areas of New Zealand and tends to be robust while handling all kinds of extreme weather. However, it does pay to have a bottle of herbicide at the ready, and a bit of lawn care knowledge as well. Kikuyu Grass, while hardy, can be a weed. Once it finds its way into your gardens, the roots embed themselves making it difficult to reclaim the area.

 

Tip: If you live in an area that’s typically quite sunny, Kikuyu Grass thrives.


Rye grass

Rye grass

This is popular as a sports field grass especially during winter as it has a positive recovery. Doesn’t like the shade too much and it needs ongoing watering. This is good for full sun exposure. 


Mixed blend grass

Mixed Blend

Mixed blend is not usually a highly sought-after grass type. If you have your finger on the pulse of lawn care, you would certainly opt for a more low maintenance variety such as Tall Fescue. However, if you do happen to have mixed blend grass, you’ll know about it.

 

Mixed blend, as the name suggests, is a mixture of various types of grass seed combined. When you sow it, it can germinate at different rates – with some areas thriving a lot better than others. Once it’s fully grown, however, it does take a little bit more maintenance than other varieties, such as with lawn mowing. It can be a bit more tricky to keep under control, can wander when given the opportunity, and can prove to be a breeding ground for various weed kinds.

 

Then, as it’s not always noticeable what blend it is, you can have trouble trying to find suitable herbicides to kill weeds but not the grass. It’s not an unattractive lawn type – being ideal for all kinds of backyards and scenarios – but if you have a choice, you’re better to go with Tall Fescue or another variety.

 

Tip: Make sure you edge this variety well, providing no freedom to roam to nearby garden beds.


The New Zealand climate can vary greatly depending on where you live, which makes certain types of grass seed suitable for some areas and not others. However, no matter where you live, you can rest assured that Crewcut can keep your lawn looking in tip-top shape. Just give us a call for all of your lawn mowing and lawn care requirements.


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