The following advice is so you can learn the best way to water and fertilise warm season turf types like Couch, Kikuyu, Buffalo and Zoysia and won't suit cool climate lawns like Fescue, Rye Grass, and Blue Grass. For most parts of Australia you will need to water deeply and not frequently. It's only in areas like Perth with its extremely sandy soil that it is so much more difficult.
For Most Of Australia.
Watering once a week during summer is usually enough, provided the water is a deep one. It's much better to saturate the lawn utilizing a sprinkler for about an hour. This will guarantee the water gets in deep, and it will encourage the roots to follow the water down and grow deeper, making your lawn more drought tolerant. After the lawn has been in a few years, and it becomes very drought tolerant, you might be able to water heavily every 2 weeks in summer in some parts of Australia. If it rains, take that into account, and water less. In the cooler Months lawns rarely need watering if it rain occasionally.
A lawn will actually show you when it needs watering. The leaves will start to wilt slightly. In the event this happens it is time to water your lawn. Water restrictions make deep watering harder, as you are only permitted to water occasionally, and many times manually. In a way, more frequent hand watering actually wastes more water than deep infrequent watering, nevertheless you can only work to the rules. When the rules make it hard to practise deep infrequent watering, then just do your best within the rules.
With Warm climate turf like Buffalo, Couch, Kikuyu, and Zoysia, they may brown off when there is no water and water restrictions prevent irrigation, however when it rains again they will usually return. In low rainfall areas like inland Australia, grasses with underground runners will survive longer bouts of Drought. Buffalo is the only one without underground runners, therefore it's a little more important for Buffalo to not allow it to thin out due to long periods of Drought. Make an effort not to leave Buffalo brown from drought stress for more than 1 week if possible.
As Perth has sandy soils, the water will quickly leach through the root zone. Getting the roots to grow deep remains important, so during Spring, Winter, and Autumn, try deeper less frequent watering. Often you can get away with once weekly in the less hot periods. In the warm summer months, lawns in Perth function better if watered twice a week, which under the regular water restrictions is really all that is allowed.
Often Soil becomes hydrophobic, meaning it repels water. If you use a wetting agent, it'll allow the water to soak in again. Wetting agents are available in liquid forms that can actually be sprayed or hosed on, for instance Yates Waterwise Hose On Soil Saturator. Yates Waterwise Soil Saturator for Lawns is a product which contains Dynamic lifter and other elements, therefore it will also provide some nutritional benefits. Combination products like these make life easier. Another combination product is Scotts Lawn Builder with Wetting Agent. This has a slow release fertiliser, which feeds your lawn for around 10 weeks.
Fertilising your lawn.
Research conducted By Ozbreed Pty Ltd proved that Autumn is an essential time to fertilise your lawn. Fertilising in Spring for most lawn types is not enough. The minimum needed by a lawn is twice per year, but thats only if you utilize a slow release fertiliser, like Scotts Lawn Builder, or Yates Lawn Master. These fertilisers last 10 weeks per application. So a fertilise a few weeks into Autumn is critical, as is a fertilise in early Spring.
Unfortunately most fertiliser types lack special blends for appropriate times of the year. Recently for the very first time, Ozbreed released a special Slow release Spring Blend, and a Slow Release Autumn Summer Blend. Spring needs higher nitrogen levels, and Autumn and summer need lower nitrogen levels, and increased potassium levels for better root growth.
Summer fertilising is likewise important, however in Summer it is extremely important not to ever use a fertiliser high in Nitrogen. If you cannot get the special summer Blend from Ozbreed, then use half rates of the Scotts or Yates slow release fertiliser in summer. Excessively high quantities of nitrogen simply means extra mowing for no benefit. Too much Nitrogen in summer makes the leaves of turf grow really fast, and worse it can make it more susceptible to some diseases.
Why Slow release Fertiliser more suitable.
Non Slow release chemical fertilisers can burn lawns if not watered in well, but worse they quickly dissolve and oftentimes only work for a few days, with the unused portions generally washing away from the lawn, and often ending up in storm water. Slow release types dissolve over a long period, meaning they are safer for the environment, and better value as they simply keep fertilising week after week. Oganic fertilisers are better than easily dissolved chemical fertilisers, but they still release much quicker than a slow release fertiliser, meaning they do not work for as long.
Never use weed and feed fertilisers.
Weed and feed fertilisers are just not good for your lawn. Lawn professionals often do not agree on many issues, but this is one matter that finds common ground. They do not like weed and feed products. Weed and feed products have high rates of soluable nitrogen fertilizer that quickly leach directly into soil. Not only do they disappear quickly, often wash into drains and storm water, but they do hardly anything for your lawn's health. They simply encourage upward leaf growth, and provide a quick green up. They do very little for the roots, stolons and rhyzomes .
They might cause damage to your soil and the micro organisms within the soil. Those that work by burning the flat broad leaf weeds can, if they are applied on a hot day without watering in, burn your lawn. If you do water them in quickly they won't kill the weeds.
The ones with Chemicals will usually hurt Buffalo turf, and are highly inefficient. You spread the weed and feed all around the lawn, instead of just on the weeds that need killing. It's over use of chemicals. It has been reported that Canada is banning these kinds of products. Australia probably will not go this far, however if people avoid these types of products, it may be that the companies will concentrate more on their better products.