Home' Smart Farmer : April 2012 Contents April 2012
By JOHN HUGHES
ATRACTOR and rotary hoe can
make light work of preparing a
lawn on a rural property.
The best time of year to rotary hoe
and plant new grass seed is autumn or
spring. These conditions are not too
hot or cold and give the seedlings a
chance to develop without being
exposed to extreme weather.
Before starting, you will need to
select the type of grass seed to use.
The choices are many, with some
more drought-tolerant than others.
There is a tendency in some seeds to
spread their roots and take over other
areas, which may or may not be help-
ful. Some do well under a full sun
while others cope better with part-
If you have a large area to cover,
buying bulk pasture seed could be a
budget solution. Consult a nursery or
research online to select a seed that
suits your requirements.
You will also have to figure out how
much you need. Calculate the area
you have to cover in square metres
and then contact the seed supplier to
understand details of the coverage
achieved per kilogram of seed.
The first step is to kill the grass and
weeds. This is often done with a
glyphophosphate-based product. If
you prefer an organic approach, sim-
ply cover over the area with old
sheets of metal, cardboard or newspa-
per until the grass is dead.
You will then have an opportunity
to work over the ground. Check to
see if there are hard objects such as
bricks or roots exposed, and remove
them before you start digging.
If the ground is relatively soft, the
soil can be dug directly with the
rotary hoe. If the ground is very hard,
it is more effective to first break it up
first with an implement such as a rip-
No matter what you use to break
up the soil, it is important not to dig
too deep in such a way that subsoil or
clay is brought to the surface.
The rotary hoe has a skid plate that
can be raised or lowered to control
the depth it digs. Initial passes are
done with the rear flap raised. This
allows soil to pass through the rotary
hoe in relatively large pieces so the
equipment is not overloaded.
In subsequent passes, the rear flap
can be lowered. This retains the soil
in the implement for longer so it is
broken up more finely.
Applying a lawn-starting fertiliser is
sure to help. Various conditioners can
also be added for clay or sandy soils.
For best results, consult a gardening
The rotary hoe makes it easy to add
the fertiliser: simply throw the
desired amount on top, make one
shallow pass with the rotary hoe and
the job is done.
An efficient way to level out the soil
is to first fit a tractor with a front-end
loader. Next, attach an old gate to the
tractor and add some weight on top
of the gate. Now dragging the gate
around acts like a rake and levels the
ground out nicely.
A number of passes are required to
achieve a good result. Before the final
pass, distribute grass seed. The final
pass will lightly bury the seed.
The most important element to
your seeds germinating and growing
is to keep the soil moist at all times
using a fine mist spray.
Give your new lawn time to estab-
lish by allowing it to grow about 10
centimetres high before the first cut.
Remove only the top 2cm on the
first cut and then progressively lower
In its first year, the lawn will need
more deep watering than subsequent
Safety is a high priority so always
use a tractor that complies with
Australian Standards, including roll-
over protective structures, seat belt
and protective covers.
Take on tasks within the capability
of the machine and operator and
ensure that the implements used
match the machine.
Follow all relevant safety warnings,
wear property safety equipment and
use common sense -- you should have
your lawn up and running without a
•Need to know more?
midwaysales.com.au or 1300 TRACTOR
(1300 87 22 86)
Rotary hoe prepares
lawn for green days
The rotary hoe is
a tough worker.
Put some weight on an old gate and
drag it around to level the ground.
Raising the flap on the rotary hoe
allows the soil to pass through more
Bulk-buy a budget solution
Fertilisers give head start
Ensure soil remains moist
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