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.

Fertilise your lawn

First it was…  “Darl, can you water the lawn?”  Then it was…  “Darl, the lawn needs mowing!”

But this weekend belongs to ME.  JUST ME. Well me, the beer and the football.  (I’m good at sharing). I’ve fired up the big screen and the North Queensland Cowboys are playing the Broncos.  Ahh…the serenity.

Bill’s lawn looks sooo much nicer than ours.

Oh Fair Dinkum!

How come his lawn is all lush and green?  Ours is just fine, weedy and pale.”

Dunno” I shrug, turning up the volume.

I don’t know why you can’t get our lawn to look like that.  It’s not rocket science!

She grabs the remote.  Now that’s like waving a red flag at a bull.  Grrr…

Howdy, fine neighbour.

If it isn’t Townsville’s Lawn Guru himself, King of the Turf and all that.  He’s cheerily poking his head over my fence.  And did I see him wink at Melissa?  (Where’s a water pistol when you need one?)

Well actually”, he continues, “there is a bit of science to a beautiful lawn like mine.

‘Beautiful lawn like yours…. you anal retentive…’  I mutter, under my breath.  He continues unabated…

You know how a good relationship needs good chemistry…

Again, was that a wink?  Why I oughta.

…and so does your lawn.  A good lawn needs nutrients to grow well.

But I’ve been watering it all the time, shouldn’t that be enough?

Actually”, he says, “you will need to water LESS if you fertilise regularly.

LESS WORK…now he’s got my attention.

Yes”, he continues. “Fertiliser will promote new leaf and root growth. 
And better ground coverage means less evaporation from exposed soil.

and our lawn will be greener?

That’s right, more green for less water. 
And while the grass is growing it’s converting more Co2 to 02.
That’s cleaner air for you and the family.

Bill has the nicest lawn in Townsville.” Melissa smiles sweetly at Bill. Grr…

And green healthy lawns are really calming…

I’ll give you calm.

We got our house valued the other day,”continues Bill.

Woohoo, maybe he’s moving…

The agent said our ‘beautiful green lawn’ really enhanced the value of our property.

I’ve got the number of a good removalist” I say, helpfully.

But you’re so helpful Bill, you can’t move!” cries Melissa

Shut up Melissa

Nah, I was just curious” says Bill
Besides I couldn’t abandon the best neighbours in Townsville when they need me.


You can have Bill around to your house, well, not actually Bill, but the team from Plant-em would be happy to give you some advice on getting and keeping great looking lawns… signup to the left to get our free ebook, or phone us for a quote.

Fertilise your lawn

Scene: It’s a quiet morning in a sleepy Townsville suburb.  The birds are chirping.  What a lovely morning to kick back and relax

Darl, the lawn needs mowing.
(Five words you DON’T want to hear)
Not Now!!!
But it’s really long.”
Not NOW!!!”
Aren’t you embarrassed?  The neighbours have all done theirs.”
Good for them.”
If you do it now, it’ll be cooler.  Besides, if you do it now…we’ll have time for….. other things later.” *Wink*
Now that’s something you DO want to hear.
She’s got me now.  I’m cornered.
I go to the shed and drag out the old rotary mower.Lawn mowing
I start it up…Vroom!
Love that roar. Hate this job.
I put the blades down as far as they go.
Ha!  Take that, lawn!
I figure if I cut it really short, then I won’t have to cut it again for ages…
Smart thinking, right?!
Huh?  Where did HE come from?  And how did he read my mind?
It’s Bill, The Lawn Guru.
What do you mean…wrong?”  I ask, annoyed
If you mow it that low, you’ll scalp it
Yep, that’s the idea, genius.
If you mow the lawn too low, particularly here in Townsville, you’ll burn it.
You’ll also give the weeds room to grow.
And why are you mowing NOW?  There’s still dew on the grass.  Wet grass will stick to the blades and make your mowing really uneven.
I tried to tell her, didn’t I?!
You really should have a mulching mower… it’s better for your lawn and it’ll save you all those trips emptying the catcher.
I like the sound of that.
Of course, if you want a really good finish, you could use a cylinder/drum mower.  They’re great for couch lawns, like yours.  But…
But what?
You need to mow twice as often with one of those.  But it’s worth it, that’s what the professionals use, you know.”
Twice a week.  Stuff that.
Well those edges won’t need doing for a while, at least.  I doused ‘em with weed killer last weekend.
Huh?  He’s doing that freaky mind reading thing again.
Now he’s frowning at my edges.
Well, they would look much nicer if you used a mechanical garden edger instead of chemicals.”
Sounds like the missus
You could have a square or a round edge.  And you wouldn’t have such wide furrows either.  That’s better for erosion problems.  But…
For best results, you really should do the edging every time you mow.
Sure thing, O Great Lawn Guru” I say, sarcastically.
I know he’s right, but I’m stuffed if I’ll admit it.
Although…it would be fun to make the neighbours jealous…
All right Bill….Maybe I’ll try it your way.

Plant ‘Em Turf and Irrigation: 0418 777 003 or email

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



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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.

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