6 Tips For Maintaining A Healthy Lawn At Sea
Maintaining a healthy green lawn can be difficult enough on land, so we were really impressed when we discovered there was a cruise ship that maintains real grass onboard.
The highest deck on the cruise ship, Celebrity Solstice, is covered in a lawn of luscious green grass. It is the only cruise ship in Australia to have real grass onboard.
Can you imagine the challenges involved in trying to maintain a thriving lawn at sea? There’s wind, salt spray, humidity and climate changes to contend with. Not to mention the fact that the grass is not actually taking in root in the earth.
The boat Celebrity Solstice maintains a thriving lawn on its highest deck all year round
Yes there are problems aplenty but the crew at Celebrity Solstice seem to have it figured out. The ship employs two highly trained lawnkeepers and an onboard Environment Manager who is tasked with overseeing grass maintenance, among other things.
To keep the lawn in peak condition, the keepers monitor the area daily and undertake vigilant pest control practices. The grass is mowed to precisely 35mm, as often as every day where conditions are warmer and every three days in cooler climes, using a non-gas emitting cylinder mower or reel mower.
The lawn is watered using automated sprinklers, sub-surface sprinklers, as well as old fashioned manual watering. Mineral and organic lawn care products feed and protect the grass, and of course deck chairs and high heels are discouraged.
The lawn consists of Couch grass during the warmer months. In places like Alaska, where temperatures are much cooler, the Couch grass is oversown with Rye grass seeds that germinate and provide green grass even in arctic conditions.
The grass grows on a porous base made of lightweight calcium clay, crushed and blended together with sieved and washed volcanic pumice. Not only do these materials have nutritional benefits for the grass, the calcium clay and volcanic pumice provide great drainage after rain and when the area is irrigated.
The Handyman staffers were really impressed with the quality of lawn care practiced at Celebrity Solstice so when Environment Manager Nick Asproudas offered to share his lawn care tips with us we jumped at the chance. Nicks says his tips for maintaining healthy grass can be easily applied to residential lawns. We agree. Nicks tips are in line with our own advice when it comes to keeping the lawn green and luscious. Here are Nick’s tips.
6 Tips For Maintaining A Healthy Lawn At Sea Or At Home
1. Cut with care
Never cut your grass too short – I suggest taking off no more than 10 of the leaf at one time because more than this can damage your grass.
2. Control weeds
While herbicides are great for preventing weeds from spreading, it can take days before the chemicals kick in, not to mention the damage most do to the environment. So if you have a smaller backyard there is nothing better than good old fashioned manual weeding – it’s what we do on Celebrity Solstice’s lawn – just make sure the whole root is removed from the soil.
A slow-release fertiliser is always best and won’t burn your grass. I recommend you fertilise every 6-8 weeks -just don’t forget to water your lawn after the application.
4. Water the lawn
It’s vital to water your grass all year around, but it is especially important to do so during Australia’s harsh summer months. Watering by hand is always best as sometimes sprinklers do not provide a sufficient amount of water.
5. Eliminate brown patches
Firstly, check soil moisture levels using a soil probe. If you find your lawn soil is quite dry, water it manually or use an oscillating sprinkler. If it isn’t, brown patches are often caused by a disease. If this is the case, isolate the area so nobody steps on the grass and apply a fungicide to stop the disease from spreading.
6. Mow with purpose
Change your mowing directions each time you mow your lawn to increase the density of your turf and reduce scalping. The round the clock technique works best, which involves changing your mowing pattern based on the numbers on an analogue clock. For example, one day you may mow from 12 to 6, another day from 9 to 3 and then another day from 2 to 8.