Un healthy lawn

Poor neglected lawn

I received this photo late yesterday from a friend with the question “what is wrong with my lawn?” My guess is that you may have a similar problem so I thought I might try and help you out with possible causes and suggested fix. After asking a few questions and getting responses all via text we were able to determine the most likely outcome and make some suggestions to fix the problems.

Problem 1. The ground was had and dry. The owner had been under watering, easy mistake as this time of the year it is normally raining or having periods of rain. this usually solves the dry hard soil issues.

Problem 2. Lots of dead grass with healthy green shoots. This is a good indication that something has gone wrong some time ago. Grub attack would be my first guess. but that has passed and the grass is on the way back now.

Problem 3. Automatic irrigation. Different types of sprinklers all set to run the same, but needed to be set to run for different amounts of time.

Suggested fix. Adjust the watering times to suite the current conditions (at the moment hot and dry) so increase. Apply a good quality fertilizer (Nitrophoska and Urea) blended with an organic type fertilizer to give the lawn grass that is left a kick along.

  1. Remember the fertilizer when applied can burn so apply in late afternoon and water in heavenly.


Now is a good time to applying either, Lime, Dolomite or Gypsum depending on you PH and soil test.

These products in their natural state are either stone or silt containing a form of Calcium which is also one of the six major elements required for healthy lawn and plant growth.

Lime comes from Limestone and is Calcium Carbonate with little or low Magnesium.

Dolomite comes from dolomite limestone and a source of Magnesium Oxide for soil low in both

Gypsum is a natural occurring product found or deposited in sedimentary rock in the form of hydrated calcium sulfate.  

Which product to use?

  • As a general rule Lime or Dolomite for low PH soils and Gypsum for soils with good PH range and low in Calcium.
  • Gypsum is recommended to be used on tight soils particularly soils high in Sodium with waterlogging, poor water penetration and crusting. The calcium from gypsum displaces the sodium which can then be leached deeper into the soil

How much do you apply?

  •   For an accurate assessment a soil test is recommended and is easy to do.
  • From experience on our farm and as general rule I would suggest approximately 1kg per 2 sqm of area.

How can you apply it?

  •   Weigh an amount into a bucket and measure and mark the area that this amount will cover at the recommended rate.
  • All of these products are fine and very dusty so be aware of the wind, you don’t want it going all through the house.
  • Gently spread the required amount over the marked area try and spread it as even as possible
  • If no Rain in sight hose into lawn to stop it spreading.

Helping you green the future

It’s hot and dry here in Townsville (if you don’t count the occasional showers meant to tease us); we’re all waiting patiently for the rains. When it’s hot and dry like this, it’s not hard to push your residential water allocation to the limit… but we all know that water conservation is a serious issue.

Buffalo Grass Lawn watering tips

Step on GrassYour lawn is a valuable improvement to your property, so some of that water needs to be allocated to keeping your lawns in tip top condition. If you’ve selected Buffalo Grass as your lawn type, you’ve made a great choice as it’s one of the more water-efficient of the lawn types.

When does my Buffalo Grass lawn need watering?

Seasons, temperature, rainfall, wind, soil condition and whether your land is flat or slopping, all play a part in determining when your lawn needs watering. To check if your buffalo grass lawn needs to be watered, step firmly on the grass, if after removing your foot the grass doesn’t spring back but, instead lays flat, this indicates that your buffalo grass lawn needs to be watered.

How often should I water my Buffalo Grass lawn?

Deep infrequent watering will help the buffalo grass develop healthy deep root systems that can extract water from a larger volume of soil than shallow roots that are developed by lawns that get light frequent watering. Watering once a week in the hot dry Townsville summer is sufficient for most lawns. However, you can skip 2 weeks of watering after heavy rains.Testing Soil

How much water should I put on my Buffalo Grass lawn?

Ideally, you should water enough to moisten the top 20 cm of soil. The amount of water required to do this will depend on the type and wetness of the soil. To test penetration, you could use a shovel to spread the soil after watering to check how far the water has penetrated. Or just push in a screwdriver to see how far it goes in.

Generally, this penetration can be achieved with 32 mm of water from your irrigation system, sprinkler or handheld hose. To measure how much water you are putting on your buffalo grass lawn, you can lay out a few containers to collect and measure the water that is being applied to the lawn.

NOTE: Avoid water run-off on slow penetrating soils by splitting the watering period up into shorter sessions, allowing the water to penetrate each time.

How long should I leave my sprinkler or irrigation system on my Buffalo Grass lawn?

Lay out a few containers and leave your irrigation system on for 10 – 15 minutes then measure how many millimeters of water is collected on average. Then calculate how long the sprinklers need to be left on to provide the 32 mm of water you want to apply and then set the irrigation system timer accordingly.

What time of day is the best to water my Buffalo Grass lawn?


The most efficient time to water your Buffalo Grass lawn is early in the morning before the temperature rises and causes water lose to evaporation. In Townsville, this could be between 5am and 8am. Watering in the evening should be avoided if possible as it can cause development of certain turf diseases.

Plant-EM is Townsville’s Buffalo Grass lawn and irrigation system specialists. Contact us for a free quotation on supply and installing buffalo grass lawn and irrigation systems.

Lawn Watering – how hard can it be, right?


Somehow I’ve stuffed this up too!

My lawn is water logged but I still have brown patches.


“Should I be watering more or less?” I ask Bill the Lawn GuruLawnWatering

“Well, it’s not quite as simple as that” he drawls, amused

“There are three main things you need to consider…”

“Yes…” I prompt, waiting.

He continues

“You need to consider soil type, climate and season.”

Hmm…  Maybe it’s not as simple as I thought.

“You have clay based soil, like most here in Townsville, North Queensland.  It’s very prone to water-logging and goes well with moderate watering.  On the other hand, if your soil was sand based, then you would need to water more often due to quicker drainage and less water retained by the soil.  Loamy soil is best.  Its water retention and drainage potential is perfectly suited to the Townsville climate.”

“What’s the deal with the Townsville climate?”  I ask

“It’s very hot” he says.

No kidding.

“and very wet and then very dry.  This means that you’re watering will need to be adjusted according to the time of year.  And don’t forget it’s always best to water first thing in the morning.  That way your lawn will retain the water far longer.”

“There’s one more secret that’ll make your life a whole lot easier” he continues.

Easier sounds good to me.

“How do you get water to your plants?”  He asks.

“Through council water pipes” I answer. (maybe he’s not as bright as I first thought)

He sighs?

That’s the sound that reminds me straight away which of us is the Newbie and which of us is the Guru.  Uh-oh.

“I meant, do you use a sprinkler or hose?”

Well, of course.

“Actually, I just showed my neighbour how to move the sprinklers while I am away.”  I say, proudly.

“Then you’re wasting your time”

“With a Set and Forget irrigation system, your watering is automatically adjusted to suit the season.  It covers a far greater area at a time, with much greater efficiency.  That means bye-bye brown patches.”

“So my brown patches will turn green?”  I ask, excitedly.

“That’s right.  Fortunately you have planted Broad-leaf Buffalo grass, so it should revive in no time.  It’s perfectly suited to the Townsville climate.  Of course, if you have lost some lawn, a watering system will help establish any new lawn.  And it’s easy to ‘Keep off the Grass’ when you have a watering system. “

If you need a hand installing an irrigation system, call Bill on 0418 777 003 or email him at



Broadleaf Buffalo Grass

Want a luscious, vibrant green lawn that is easy to mow? How about one that is hard wearing, fairly low maintenance and well suited to our tropical climate here in Townsville, North Queensland? Well…you can have your cake and eat it too!

Let’s take a closer look at the broadleaf variety of Buffalo Grass. Available locally this grass looks spectacular and when properly maintained will give you that show garden look.

Shade Tolerance

Let’s face it. All plants need sunlight to survive but some grow better in the shade than others. Broadleaf Buffalo Grass thrives in full sunlight and has a shade tolerance of about 75 to 80% making it well suited to most gardening applications in Townsville and other North Queensland areas.

It will happily take over moist, shady areas in the garden and copes very well with the constant cloud cover of our wet season.

Well Suited To Tropical Climate

Broadleaf Buffalo Grass is ideal for Townsville and the local tropical regions with really dry weather for part of the year and significant rainfall in others.

A study was conducted to test how long buffalo grass could survive without water.  The results?

Even after 60 days without being watered, broadleaf buffalo grass was one of the few capable of recovering from dull, to luscious green lawn.

Easy To Mow

Broadleaf Buffalo Grass is easy to mow.

To get best results, the trick is to mow after the dew has gone in the morning or while it is dry.  Stressed lawns are hard to mow don’t look as good either so keep this in mind when you are dragging the hose around.

In Townsville and the North Queensland area, we get a lot of rain over the wet season and it can sometimes be several weeks of intense growth before the lawn can be mowed. Broadleaf Buffalo Grass is one of the few grasses that copes well with scalping.

If you regularly mow your lawn it takes much less effort to keep it in great shape and control and eliminate the weeds.

And man it looks spectacular when mowed. 🙂

Very Dominant When Maintained

Broadleaf Buffalo Grass grows in a thick, luscious, dark green mat. A healthy lawn, mowed regularly, will keep weeds at bay with little need for the use of herbicides for weed control.

Low Maintenance

Buffalo Grass requires less maintenance than many other grasses which means lower ongoing cost outlays. It is relatively easy to look after, needing less fertilizer and less regular watering than other grass types. However, what is important is the timing and the amount of fertilizer applied. Apply incorrectly and it will cause the grass to burn. I will go into more detail about the ins and outs of fertilizing in another post but (at least in the Townsville and local North Queensland area) it is best to fertilize your lawn no more than 3 times per year depending on conditions.

Plays Well With Others

Unlike most other grasses, Broadleaf Buffalo Grass is relatively non-invasive because it only spreads via above ground runners. Because it has no underground runners it is easily kept out of garden beds and doesn’t pop up where it is not wanted.

For the above reasons Broadleaf Buffalo is the grass we have chosen to grow commercially here in the Townsville, North Queensland region. We’d love to talk to you about how it would suit your yard.

If you would like help selecting the best grass for your lawn, you can contact us by phone on 0418 777 003 or email us at

What is Lawn?

Lawn wateringLawn is a common feature of private gardens, public landscapes and parks in many parts of the world. They are created for aesthetic pleasure, as well as for sports or other outdoor recreational use. Lawns are useful as a playing surface both because they mitigate erosion and dust generated by intensive foot traffic and because they provide a cushion for players in sports such as rugby, football, soccer, cricket, baseball, golf, tennis, hockey and lawn bocce.

Check out our Lawn Care Tips.