June Hints

Cool seasons turfs should be mowed until shoot growth ceases. This provides a uniform looking turf going into the winter months. Letting the grass “go” into the winter can cause matting, and long matting turf is more susceptible to fungal diseases during the winter months.

Turf grasses can be the biggest weed of all when they invade garden beds, flourishing around young trees and sapping their energy. While glyphosate is highly effective in the warmer weather, weed control during the colder months, when some weedy plants are near dormancy, does not work so quickly.  By adding a minute amount of a complimentary chemical to glyphosate, your local ALMA contractor can ensure a more effective eradication of these plants.

Burr medic has started to become a nuisance in lawns, slowing down mowing and increasing the amount of clippings. Burr medic is prevalent in nitrogen-deficient lawns. Control it before yellow-orange flowers give way to prickly seed pods that attach themselves to almost anything that moves.

Chickweed and wintergrass have germinated and if left unchecked will crowd out the desirable turf grasses.

Daffodils that fail to flower are usually due to a lack of water the previous season. After flowering, the bulb needs to develop an adequate nutrient reserve to promote flowering the following year. This is obtained from the green leafy growth which needs to be stimulated by Tender Loving Care after flowering with sufficient water and fertilising to ensure the bulbs are plump and juicy to flower in the next season.

Most forms of daisy bush (Marguerite, Euryops, etc) have virtually stopped flowering They are best kept lightly pruned to prevent leggy growth.. Cut them back now, then trim them back again as soon as flowering slows down around October.

Lavender also responds well to trimming now, with a hard prune in late spring, when you can be quite brutal.

Roses flowering well into winter are particularly susceptible to black spot, smut fungi and mildews which are fungal diseases that spread quickly leaving black circles, black sooty smut and powdery on your rose leaves and other plants during conditions of high humidity and mild moist conditions.

Black Spot is seldom a problem in Adelaide from September to May due to our dry atmosphere.

Roses should be pruned in late June or July after the risk of overnight frosts and when the plant is completely dormant. The objective is to remove dead or old and diseased growth, to shorten healthy branches, and to open up the plant from the inside to promote healthy new growth.  ALMA has professional contractors in your area whose experience will enable them to manage your roses for optimum results.

 Do not fertilise warm season grasses (couch, kikuyu) in winter when the grass is dormant. There is barely any sap flow in the grass, which is unable to absorb the fertiliser. Raise the mowing height to retain more green leaf on the grass. This increases the photosynthesizing area of the turf leaf, compensating for fewer hours of sunlight that reach the plants. It will not overcome the effect of colder weather that forces the summer active grasses into dormancy (couch and kikuyu grow most rapidly in soil temperatures between 23 and 32oC). The effect of frost on the grass in early morning can be alleviated by running the sprinklers for one or two minutes every morning. The irrigation water is warmer than the frost, and this does help to maintain the soil temperature a little higher, and so keep the lawn green for longer through the winter months.

Fescue turf grasses are in active growth now. Rotary mowing height should be at least 4 to 5 cm and they respond well to frequent, light applications of Potassium nitrate fertiliser. Never apply phosphorus (that’s the “P” on the analysis label) as fescue is quite intolerant to even small doses of phosphorus.

Moss may have commenced to grow on damp shaded areas of lawn. Moss is usually due to three factors.

(1)  Poor drainage – either the soil is compacted, poorly constructed, or clay-rich and soggy; and

(2)  the soil pH is too high. Most turf grasses require soil pH to be between 5.5 and 6.5, slightly on the acid side of neutral.

(3)  the mossy area is heavily shaded.

Iron sulphate gives good control of moss and algae and will lower soil pH. Alternatively, your local ALMA contractor can apply an iron rich fertiliser to combat this problem.

Moss will quickly return unless poor soil drainage and overwatering are not remedied. Sow shade tolerant turf grasses such as Poa trivialis and creeping red fescue. Mow the grass a little higher to increase turf density and prevent it from thinning out and becoming susceptible to weed and moss invasion. A common feature of mossy lawns is an accumulation of thatch which chokes the turf grass. This will need to be raked out or scarified. Another reason for mossy lawns is underfeeding.