Expert Turf  - Instant Lawn Turf | Taranaki, Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington

Lawn Advice

Many things can go wrong when you are trying to maintain a healthy and attractive lawn. Here is a list of many common lawn problems. No problem is too big and can't be solved. If you can't find a solution here or you need more information, we're happy to help.

Grass Weeds

Summer Grass

Summer grass refers to a range of grass weeds that arrive when the weather is warm. There are many different varieties of summer grass and they invade both gardens and lawns. They will appear where you have thin grass cover or they can also be blown in on the wind and invade a very good lawn. Some lawns can be treated with over the counter products while others will need to be treated with products under the care of an Approved Handler. Our staff are trained and can spray these grasses for you. To gain control over the infestation, we recommend spraying soon after they first appear and again another month later. Spraying too late in the season is ineffective.


Paspalum also has a grass leaf so is easily confused with summer grass. Unlike summer grass, Paspalum will continue to live past summer or will arrive during the cooler months. It is a very hardy grass weed and grows actively during summer putting up a tall, tough seed head. Paspalum is easy to control using Haloxyfop on fine fescue lawns only. Haloxyfop can be used with caution on lawns blended with fine fescue. It cannot be used on rye, tall fescue or kikuyu lawns. Please contact us for advise about how to control Paspalum.

Poa Annua

Poa Annua or 'Poa', as it is commonly known, is a very common turf weed and loves wet weather. It usually appears during the winter and spring and can be identified in a lawn by appearing lighter in colour with faster growth and with an obvious whitish seed head very close to the ground. As it is able to drop its seed between mowing, it can spread rapidly. It loves fertiliser, so applying a general fertiliser at this time will be detrimental to your lawn. Poa is very shallow rooted so dies out once the weather warms. This results in large bare areas appearing in the lawn at the start of summer. 

To control Poa it is best to ensure your lawn is very healty with a thick sward of grass as winter approaches. Special fertiliser containing herbicides and pre-emergents are effective at inhibiting the seeding and spreading of Poa and chemcal sprays are an effective control. Some products can be sold over the counter while others need to be used by an Approved Handler. Our staff are trained and can apply these products for you.


Kikuyu is an invasive grass that loves warmer weather. During summer when other lawns are struggling, Kikuyu will happily take over and thrive. Kikuyu will stay alive all year round but become dormant during frosts. To put it simply, some people love Kikuyu grass and some people do not. For those who don't want a Kikuyu lawn, while it can't be eradicated, fortuntately it can be successfully conrolled by applying Grazon. Grazon is a selective herbicide that is effective against Kikuyu and a range of broadleaf weeds.


Grass Grub

When grass grub invade your lawn they eat away at the tasty grass roots which causes the grass to wither and die under the heat of the sun. They typically revisit the same lawns each year as they the winged insects are attraced to large trees and lighting. Damage usually shows up during summer and to the untrained eye looks similar to a lawn that is lacking water. We have a preventative treatment that we apply to many lawns each November or December. Acelepryn®, an envirnomently friendly Pyrethrin based product, when applied to the grass is held within the plant. When the grubs begin eating they are instantly poisoned before damage can occur. Usually one application provides protection for three months. Heavy rainfall will wash the Pyrethrin through the profile and a second application may be needed.


Like Grass Grub, Porina caterpillars can also cause considerable damage to your lawn. Porina caterpillars live in tunnels in the soil and come up at night to feed on the grass. Their tunnel entrances can be found as holes covered in soil castings. Damage typically occurs in late autumn and during winter.

Porina can be treated by applying an insecticide later in the day before the caterpillars come up at night to eat. Most insecticides need to be applied by an Approved Handler. We have trained staff who can apply these products for you.



Most lawn diseases are caused by fungi and are harmless. They can occur very quickly and can disappear just as quickly when conditions change. Other diseases can cause damage to the grass and need to be treated.

Red Thread

The most common disease to occur in turf grass is Red Thread. Red Thread can appear at any time of year and typically occurs when the grass is lacking nitrogen. It is identifiable as a pink or red tinge over patches or large areas of grass. Upon closer inspection you can often indentify fine threads. The affected grass can look unsightly and discoloured. Treat Red Thread by applying fertiliser to the lawn to increase the nitrogen content. If this is not effective, apply Iron Sulphate to harden the leaf and resist the disease. 


During winter and wet seasons, moss can appear in some lawns. Moss will usually grown in damp, compacted soils and shady areas. Left untreated, moss will take over the grass and die when the weather dries out leaving bare patches. Treat moss when it appears with Iron Sulphate and consider aerating the soil and pruning surrounding trees to help prevent it returning.