The team at Coochie HydroGreen Mooloolaba know their lawns!
Over the past couple of months they have received numerous calls regarding brown patches and yellowing in lawns.
In virtually every case they have found the cause to be a lack of soil moisture, due to insufficient rainfall and inadequate watering.
When we get light showers, it’s easy to think that there is no need to water the lawn, however the fact is that effective rainfall has been almost non-existent since September.
During summer, water loss from your lawn (evapotranspiration) will be around 5-6 mm a day. This means that showers, hand watering and putting irrigation on of a short period are not enough to keep the lawn green and healthy during hot weather.
If your watering program is too brief, not done regularly, or applied too late (when the lawn is already stressed) lawns can dry out and suddenly develop brown patches.
Coochie HydroGreen strongly recommend using a rain gauge to get an accurate measurement of rainfall events so that you know when to water the lawn.
If your lawn goes brown, that means it is going into dormancy to protect itself from drought. Once dormant, Couch (Blue and Green) lawns will take a couple of weeks to ‘wake up’ again, even after good rain. These lawns are very drought tolerant and regrow from dormant runners, both above and below ground level.
Buffalo (Sir Walter, Palmetto etc) and Empire Zoysia lawns are not as drought tolerant as Couch.
When these lawns go brown the runners will start to die off and can take months to recover after a severe dry spell. Therefore, it is vital to keep your lawn well watered, even when we are getting light showers.
In these particularly dry times, the soil in these brown patches can become hydrophobic, which means the soil repels water. This is called Dry Patch.
The soil wetter applied in the Coochie HydroGreen mix will help to fix this problem, but the product must be watered in as soon as possible and the soil must be kept moist after that. Areas of Dry Patch are very difficult to wet and may need extra spot-watering.
Rule of Thumb: It takes much more water to revive a brown lawn than it does to keep a tinge of green going in a dry spell. So watering early is well worth the money.
You will need to use “nature’s moisture meter” (your finger) to check the moisture level in your soil.
Make a hole about 75mm deep with a screwdriver (or similar implement) and feel the soil. It should be cool and moist. The screwdriver will also help you to judge how deep the moisture is, because dry soil is generally very hard to penetrate.
Sprinkers, soil type and shade vary widely, so water the lawn for 15-30 minutes and then check the soil moisture. (Soaker hoses have low output and generally require at least 1 hour in each spot.) This will soon tell you if you are watering too little or too much.
The aim is to moisten the soil to a depth of 75-100mm to encourage deep root development. A good soak is better than a light watering every day, unless your soil is very shallow or sandy.
Water in the late afternoon or early morning to reduce evaporation loss. Watering after light showers or heavy dew is also a good idea as it captures the moisture before it evaporates.
The ideal watering frequency varies from 2-3 times/week in summer to once every 1-2 weeks in winter.
Reference: Coochie HydroGreen Mooloolaba 2016