Seasonal Spring Maintenance Guide: Keep your Garden and Water Systems in Top Condition!
The beginning of spring is the first indication that the weather is slowly heating up (although it may not feel like it just yet!) This marks the prime time for you to give your lawn some quality TLC as it reaches the end of its dormancy period and begins to spring back to life.
In order to ensure you provide your lawn the best opportunity to thrive during the warmer days to come, there are some fantastic lawn care tips and basic maintenance (such as weeding, feeding and airing) that you can carry out.
Now that winter has passed and the likelihood of regular rainfall decreases, it is time to start watering your lawn again using efficient and effective methods. The most ideal time of the day to apply water to your yard is during the early hours of the morning when evaporation is less likely to occur. If you find that your lawn is still in need of hydration, applying a soil-wetting agent to improved water penetration can be extremely beneficial.
While there are many ways to hydrate your lawn, not all methods are appropriate or ideal. For example, using a hose excessively can result in poor penetration of the soil, which can in turn lead to shallow-rooted grass that is more susceptible to damage from heat. For the most efficient and resourceful use of water, Smart Water would recommend using a quality sprinkler system operated via a smart controller.
Weeding & Mowing:
If you’ve taken the beginning of spring as the perfect opportunity to give your home a thorough clean, why not extend to your garden as well?
As lawn growth slows and mowing becomes a distant memory during the winter months, stubborn weeds tend to take hold. Depending on the variety of grass you have, spring weeding may be as simple as giving your lawn a particularly close mow or as time-consuming as spraying the weeds out individually. Where invading grasses have appeared, it is best to selectively remove them by hand to prevent damage or spreading.
Regardless of the extent of weeds and undesirable grasses, providing your lawn with a good mowing to remove debris and unwanted thatch is the ideal way to begin preparing your yard for the spring.
One of the best ways to assist a lawn in bouncing back to life following the colder months is by carrying out some general thatch control. Many grass varieties will experience a build-up of thatch during the summer which carries into the colder seasons – this is a thick barrier of old grass and other organic matter that has built up over time. Dethatching your lawn opens up the lawn surface for improved nutrient and water intake, cuts through rhizomes to encourage new growth, and provides an instantly cleaner lawn.
Turf should only be de-thatched following a period of active growth, however. For cool-season grasses, this is generally around early spring (but de-thatching in early autumn is also encouraged while the grass is still growing.) Warm-season grasses respond best to de-thatching in the late spring or early summer.
Feeding & Fertilising:
The beginning of spring is an ideal time to apply a fertiliser to your lawn, as it helps to ensure that your grass has had a good feed in preparation for survival through summer. In most Australian climates, it is a good idea to apply your fertiliser at the start of spring, then again 4-6 weeks later to help strengthen roots and improve overall health. Always check application rates and labels.
Spring is one of the most wonderful times of the year to spend in the garden – the sun has reappeared, days are warming up, and plants are bursting back into life. However, the beginning of spring time also marks the time to begin repairing and caring for your plants following the wet, cold season.
Weeding & Mulching:
Spring may bring weeds (such as clover and bindii) which can quickly take over a lawn. In order to prevent these weeds causing any long-term damage or prickling bare feet in the summer, it is best practice to watch out for the signs of weeds forming and treat them before they have a chance to spread. There are many methods of treating and removing weeds, from pulling them out by hand to spray-applying herbicides.
Once you have dealt with any existing weeds, add a layer of mulch to your garden beds. This will help to smother any weeds you may have missed, while preventing new seeds from sprouting. As an additional bonus, all gardens look refreshed and neat following fresh mulch!
Planting & Pruning:
This time of the year is ideal for pruning back shrubs, low-hanging trees, perennials and any other plants that have flowered during winter and autumn, as they have usually experienced increased growth and may require some cleaning up or shaping. It is important, however, that any flowering buds aren’t removed or trimmed, as this will result in a lack of flowers later on.
Feeding & Fertilising:
Fertilising your entire garden in early spring will help ensure strong, healthy plants throughout the growing season (spring to autumn.) Depending on the area you have to cover and the heartiness of your garden, fertilisers can be applied by hand as granular feed or sprayed across a larger area with the use of a spray bottle.
Spring has arrived and the days are slowly beginning to heat up again! Take this time to perform some basic irrigation maintenance to help ensure your system is operating at its best coming into the warm season. By performing irrigation maintenance tasks now, you can save on costs and help to improve the overall health of your landscape.
One of the easiest ways to identify problems or shortfalls within your water system is to perform a test run in order to observe where water is being applied and how much. If you notice areas are receiving too much or too little water, adjust your system to improve distribution uniformity.
If you don’t have the experience or confidence to assess your own system, get in touch with the Landscape Irrigation Experts at Smart Water! We specialise in the installation, assessment, maintenance and upgrades of water systems.
Replacing & Repairing:
Like most things that are exposed to weather and external conditions, sprinkler heads tend to become clogged or damaged over time. Damage can be caused by dirt and leaves resulting in clogging, roots cracking or growing into underground pipes, or by being struck by lawn mowers or other garden equipment.
Not all damaged sprinkler heads are able to be cleaned or fixed easily (depending on how damaged they may be) and some may require replacement of the units.
While you’re assessing your existing irrigation system or considering installing a new one, take the time to research products on the current irrigation market that could help improve the efficiency of your system, assist in conserving valuable resources, and ultimately bring your outdated system into the new age.
There are a number of useful accessories and innovative technologies you can integrate into your garden, from smart controllers that can be customised to suit the needs of your landscape to rain sensors that prevent the wasteful use of water in the event of rainfall. In this age of wireless communication, there are also WiFi modules available that connect your system to wireless internet for remote access and operation anywhere in the world.
Winter has ended and spring has arrived, which means the time for collecting winter rainfall has passed and the time to utilise that stored water is here! Ensure all components of your water system are in good working condition to get the most out of your rainwater harvesting system.
You should regularly check the quality of your water supply regardless of the season, and the beginning of spring is an ideal time as any to ensure the smell, taste, and look of your water is up to standard. The easiest way to identify whether you have a serious issue with your rainwater harvesting system or not is to test the quality of the water you have collected.
Use this time to check for signs of corrosion on or in your tank, look for evidence of animal or insect access, and ensure debris has not accumulated in your gutters or filters.
Frequent cleaning of your rainwater harvesting system’s components is recommended to ensure you are receiving the best quality water possible. Inspecting and maintaining your gutters, first flush diverters, downpipes and other fittings seasonally (or after storms) helps to prevent debris – such as leaf and plant materials – accumulating and polluting your supply. Trimming overhead branches and carrying out other garden maintenance tasks can also help to prevent the likelihood of materials building up.
Checking your tank for the accumulation of sludge is also essential for water quality. If sludge is covering the bottom, siphon it out or completely empty the tank. Professional tank cleaners operate in most areas and are able to empty your tank quickly and efficiently.
If you use your rainwater harvesting system to collect drinking water, using treatments to destroy any harmful bacteria and viruses present is essential. Animal and bird droppings, dust, dirt and decaying vegetable matter (such as leaves) can contaminate tank water and lead to the presence of dangerous bacteria, such as E Coli and streptococci.
Much like your rainwater harvesting system, spring is a fantastic time to check that your water pump is working at its optimum performance coming into the warmer months.
If you notice any of the following problems, contact Smart Water Shop for advice:
Reduced Water – If your water pump runs but doesn’t deliver water, there may be a fault within the pump. Pump impellers and seals may fail, and foreign matter or debris from the tank can clog the pump internals. Low water levels within a tank can also cause dry-run failure.
Stopped Pump – If your pump/motor system stops running, you may have an electrical fault or foreign matter seizure. These problems are often repairable.
Cycling – One of the most common problems with water pumps is shortened run cycles. If you notice your pump used to run for longer amounts of time and has recently started to run shorter or more rapid cycles, call Smart Water for service and support. Short cycles are often the result of faults within the pumps auto-pressure control or an indication of leaky pipes/taps. Over their lifetime, too many stops or starts will limit the reliability of the pressure control and pump.
A correctly selected and installed water pump will give many year of trouble free life particularly when installed properly in the first place. Always install your pump on an elevated base with a ventilated weatherproof cover over the top. Install a suction strainer and make sure plumbing is of the correct size.
Keep your filters clean and observe any water or air leaks. Attend to any problems promptly. Some maintenance you can resolve on your own, while other problems may require an experienced pump technician to remove the unit for repair.
Spring is almost here, which means it’s time to get some basic maintenance done on your pond! These tasks can help prevent future problems from arising during the warmer season, ultimately saving you time and energy later on.
It is important at the beginning of the season to inspect the overall condition of your pond or water garden. Each piece of equipment should be thoroughly checked for wear and damage (including pumps, filters, lights, all cables, tubing, and connections.) If significant damage or wear is found, repairing or replacing the damaged components prior to winter arriving is recommended.
For ponds or water gardens with fish or other wildlife present, giving your filters and filtration system a thorough clean coming into spring can help prevent significant issues popping up later on. Keep an eye out for the growth of string algae or green water algae, as well as the build-up of debris and pollutants.
Another way of effectively controlling algae growth is by introducing a number of additional plants into the water garden – these compete with algae for available nutrients in the water, which may help in starving algae out.
Be sure to remove all decaying leaves and flowers, accumulated sediment, soils and debris from your pond (as well as areas directly surrounding your pond) before they have the chance to decay and pollute your water.
Now that the days are warming up, there is no better time to begin enjoying your water garden again! Take this time to consider further improving the overall appearance of your backyard pond by introducing water features or fountains, adding lighting, or simply changing the rock work surrounding your water garden.
Spring is almost here, which means it’s time to get some basic maintenance done on your landscape lighting! These tasks can help prevent future problems from arising during the warmer season, ultimately saving you time and energy later on.
Inspecting your lighting fixtures can help you identify which ones are broken, failing, or aging, and allow you the time to upgrade or replace the units before winter sets in. Pay particular attention to the wiring – check for signs of wear and replace any damaged sections of wire or heat drink joints, in order to ensure your system remains waterproof in the wetter months.
If you notice that your fixture is too far gone – there’s excessive corrosion, the mechanical integrity has been compromised, or the lens has broken or is missing – then replacing the light may be more cost effective than having it repaired.
Checking if any lights have been accumulating excess dirt and dust is a quick and easy way of brightening up your yard. Lumens can be lost from dirt and bug matter building up on the globe and lens, so ensuring you keep your landscape lighting fixtures clean also ensures you’re receiving the most efficient light possible.
Replace your cheap fixtures, burned out globes, or broken lamps with long-lasting LED options – their long lifetime means they require less frequent replacement, and the ensuing labour savings and low-energy consumption justify the slightly higher input cost.
You can help prevent globes burning out from unnecessary over-use by installing timers and sensors to activate the lights automatically.