From the Crow’s Nest | HOME & GARDEN
If you’re starting from scratch and planting your own, Greaves recommends choosing the right grass type for the location being planted
as something that works in another environment won’t necessarily
work for Bermuda. Keep in mind that the time of the year you decide
to do so will have an impact. Temperatures at night should be above 65
degrees—typically between April and May would be an ideal time to
plant a new lawn.
Also, preparing your soil beforehand will ensure that you grow a
healthy lawn. Apply a light coat of fertilizer and make sure your soil is
in good condition.
To maintain your lawn looking fresh and green, procedures such as
watering, fertilising and mowing play a vital part. Newly planted lawns
should be watered once a day, preferably in the morning. Gradually cut
back from daily watering to get the lawn to maintain itself and then
during droughts water once a week to maintain the colour.
“Implementing a proper fertilisation programme will keep grass
healthy and minimise weeds,” says Greaves. “Irrigate when necessary
especially through periods of drought to prevent stress and scout for
pests and diseases as part of the regular maintenance. Lastly, lawns need
to be mowed regularly to maintain their look—ideally keep the height
to about 0.5 inches to 1.5 inches and use well-maintained equipment
with sharp blades to ensure a clean cut.”
Bermuda experiences a couple of lawn issues that you
should be on the look out for, Greaves warns. “In particular,
the once chinch bug-resistant hybrid St. Augustine grass
Floratam is now being severely affected by the chinch bug.
Floratam grass was developed by a couple of universities in the US back
in the ’70s and quickly became the grass of choice for warm climates.
Unfortunately, it has now lost the resistance to the chinch bug.”
The chinch bug feeds at the base of the blade of grass and can poten-
tially destroy a whole lawn. It has a black body with white wings and
when populations are high it is easy to spot them.
The infested lawn displays brown patches, which usually begin as
circular in shape. The damage usually shows up in water-stressed areas,
typically along the edges of the lawn along driveways. “It is important
to be on the lookout for any signs that your lawn is experiencing any
problems or is in distress,” says Greaves. “Get a correct diagnosis and
seek out professional help if necessary. And don’t let the problem prog-
ress too much if possible.”
A brown or dead lawn can really throw off your landscaping—
healthy green grass always creates a nice look and an inviting environ-
ment. Taking the time to care for your lawn on a regular basis will
ensure that it keeps its healthy look for years to come.
LAWN CARE 101
A beautiful green lawn is a key part of landscaping. Not only is it the focal point for your property, but
can also create a relaxing space or a place for children to play. Julie Greaves from Aberfeldy Nurseries
recommends homeowners follow these simple steps to ensure a lush healthy lawn.
Above: A St. Augustine grass lawn with a chinch bug
infestation. Inset: An adult chinch bug
WRITTEN BY ALEJANDRA NARANJO