Autumn lawn care tips from our in-house expert

Published on 26 April 2022

Lawn expert Nigel Knape in front of two industrial mowers

Autumn is an important time when it comes to lawn care, according to our in-house turf expert Nigel Knape.

And Nigel knows a thing or two about growing lawns. He heads up our Irrigation and Turf Management Team, which looks after 35 hectares of local sporting fields and 57 hectares of irrigated reserves across our City.

With qualifications in horticulture and turf management, the team’s working days revolve around fertiliser, watering and mowing schedules to make sure our sporting fields and reserves are in the best condition possible, despite very high usage rates.

“Late April and early May is the best time to get your lawn ready for dormancy over the cooler months. The way your lawn goes into dormancy is the way it will come out in spring,” says Nigel.

“There’s still a bit of warmth in the soil so it’s a great time to prep your lawn. Things like mower height and adding the right fertiliser will make a big difference to lawns throughout winter and early spring.”

Nigel has provided some simple tips below to help keep your lawns looking lush and healthy over the cooler months.  

These tips are for Kikuyu or Couch grasses, the most common local types of warm-season grasses grown in Adelaide.

Nigel’s lawn tips

  • Grass height – For a rotary mower, set your grass cutting height to about 25 to 30mm.  
  • Mowing frequency – Mow fortnightly throughout autumn and winter.
  • Lawn clippings – Don’t leave them on your lawn as they will take too long to break down in cooler weather. Put lawn clippings, along with any leaves, into your compost or green organics bin, or use them to mulch around plants.
  • Fertiliser – Use an NKP fertiliser, with a breakdown of 18-10-9, to encourage plant and root health. Your local hardware store or plant nursery can help you select the right one.
  • Watering – Water your lawns a few times a week while the weather remains warm and dry. There’s no need to keep watering once consistent late autumn/winter rains arrive.
  • Weeds – Around late May, apply a generic broadleaf herbicide to kill clover, medic, creeping oxalis and dandelions.
  • Bare patches – Over sow any bare patches in your lawn with a generic seed blend.
  • Aeration – If you’re super keen, use a garden fork or hire a lawn corer to aerate the soil and improve drainage.  
  • Limitations – The location of your lawn can pose limitations beyond your control. Lawns need the sun to thrive. They will cope with morning shade but need the afternoon sun. If you have large trees, they will rob your lawn of moisture and soil nutrients, making it difficult to grow a healthy lawn.  

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