Autumn is the best time of year to be sowing a new lawn, or patching up the existing one.

There is nothing which can complement a house and garden more than a healthy, lush looking lawn.

A quality lawn can enhance your property and is an inexpensive way to improve the look of your home. There are tried and true methods to having a healthy lush lawn for yourself, that are not hard but involve seasonal, timely work.

Lawn grasses establish best either in autumn, from March to the end of May, or in spring from September to November.

The soil is still warm and autumn rains will soon moisten it completely. In areas where early severe frost can occur seed should be sown in spring from September to November.

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As long as preparation is thorough and water is applied, as necessary, a very good lawn can be established now.

A really good lawn can be obtained only by intensive soil preparation BEFORE sowing; once the lawn is established it is difficult to level off an uneven surface or eradicate undesirable grass and weed species.

The secret of a good lawn is firstly preparation before it is planted and secondly maintenance when it is established.

For an existing lawn maintenance doesn't have to be too consuming.

There are a few sprays on the market that will kill the broadleaf weeds in your lawn without affecting the grass. A spray once a year (more frequent if needed) will keep your weeds under control and prevent the grass from being gradually taken over by weeds.

'Yates Turfix' is effective against most broadleaf weeds including daisies, clovers, onehunga weed, catsear, chickweed, chamomiles, docks, thistles and dandelion.

If there are some hard to kill weeds such as cape daisy, hydrocotyle, creeping oxalis and clover then 'Grosafe Hydrocotyle Killer' is a better choice.

The third choice of spray is 'Yates Woody Weedkiller'. This is effective on onehunga (prickle) weed, clovers, convolvulus, docks, sorrel, cape ivy, thistles and buttercups.

Grass weeds such as paspalum can be a troublesome weed in a fine turf owing to its coarse growth. Along with other unwanted grass species they can be controlled by spot applications of 'Grosafe Glyphosate' during fine calm weather.

Care must be taken as this spray will also kill any desirable grass it comes in contact with. When the weeds have died and shrivelled up it is necessary to sow the bare patches with grass seed.

Sowing a New Lawn

There is a wide range of seed blends available to suit the particular requirements or the situation. One of the most effective ranges of Lawn Seed is the 'Superstrike' range.

It is a treated grass seed which offers protection from birds and contains insecticide to protect against insect damage, but it is not coated offering significant advantage in germination percentage and speed of grass establishment.

The "superstrike" range comes in a range of blends to suit different property conditions these blends include 'shady places', hot n dry', 'easy care', 'hardwearing' and 'stadium blend'.

Information is available in the garden centre on these blends so you can decide which one suits your property best.

The best way to ensure a good lawn is all in the preparation. If you are considering sowing a new lawn then pick up a 'Lawn Guide' brochure available in the garden centre, or ask for advice.

Putting in the hard work now will have you relaxing and enjoying your lawn in the months to come.

Have a good week.

Gareth Carter is General Manager of Springvale Garden Centre