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Fertilising Grass in Adelaide Climates: A Comprehensive Guide

Title: Fertilising Grass in Adelaide Climates: A Comprehensive Guide

If you live in Adelaide, Australia, you'll know all about the Mediterranean-like climate, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. These conditions can present unique challenges when it comes to lawn maintenance, particularly in ensuring your grass is lush, healthy, and green all year round. Key to achieving this is the appropriate use of fertiliser, tailored to both your grass type and the local climate conditions.

To understand which fertilisers are suitable for Adelaide's climate and grass types, let's begin by understanding what's typically in most fertilisers.

Understanding Fertilisers

At their core, fertilisers are mixtures of nutrients that promote plant growth. The three primary nutrients present in fertilisers are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K).

1. **Nitrogen (N):** Crucial for promoting leafy, green growth, nitrogen is a key nutrient for most grass types.

2. **Phosphorus (P):** Essential for root development and promoting flower, fruit, and seed growth.

3. **Potassium (K):** Helps in strengthening plants and aiding in water movement and drought resistance.

These components are usually labelled in a N-P-K format on fertiliser bags, such as 10-10-10, indicating the percentage of each component.

## Selecting a Fertiliser for Adelaide Grass Types

Adelaide's climate is best suited to warm season grasses. These include Couch (Bermuda grass), Kikuyu, Buffalo grass (such as Sir Walter), and Zoysia.

In general, these grass types thrive with a high nitrogen content for lush, green growth. However, due to Adelaide's dry summers, they also need a good level of potassium to enhance drought tolerance. Therefore, a balanced N-P-K fertiliser, such as a 10-10-10, might not be the best option here. Instead, opt for a fertiliser with a higher ratio of Nitrogen and Potassium, such as a 20-5-10.

Application: How and When to Fertilise

When to Fertilise

Fertilising is recommended at least twice a year for optimal growth, with one application in the spring (September to October) as the grass begins active growth, and another in early autumn (March) before the grass goes dormant. Avoid fertilising in peak summer or winter, as the grass could be stressed from heat or cold.

How to Fertilise

When applying fertiliser, use a spreader for an even application. Over-fertilising can cause harm and create 'hot spots' that can burn the grass. After application, water the lawn well to help the fertiliser dissolve and seep into the soil.

Test Soil pH

In addition to nutrient content, consider the pH level of your soil. Adelaide's soil is often alkaline (pH higher than 7), which can restrict nutrient uptake. Most grass types prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH (around 6-7). If your soil is too alkaline, you may want to consider using sulphur-based products to lower the pH.


Maintaining a healthy lawn in Adelaide's unique climate requires understanding both the type of grass you have and how the local climate affects its growth. By choosing the right fertiliser and applying it correctly, you can keep your lawn looking vibrant and healthy all year round. Always remember to consider the specific needs of your lawn, including the type of grass, the local climate, and the soil conditions.

This guide provides general advice for the Adelaide area, but remember that individual conditions can vary. So, don't hesitate to seek out local advice or further testing if you're unsure. Happy gardening!

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