Ask the Plant Doctor


Step by step instructions to establish new lawns or repair the worn areas

Step 1 : Dig and loosen the soil to a depth of 10cm. Remove any clods, pebbles, or stones and make sure that the top 2.5cm of soil is spreaded as fine and even as you can. Avoid "humps" and "hollows". (hint : rake in a "Groplus Lawn Food"). 

Step 2 : Divide area to be sown, into manageable sections (1 or 2 sq. metre segments). Sprinkle or spread the seeds at the rate of 30gm per sq. metre (approx. a handful) evenly over one section at a time. 

Step 3 : Once seed is sown, firm down the soil with a roller or by walking on it. This helps germination tremendously. Water daily to keep moist until the lawn is established. 

Step 4 : Commence mowing when the grass is about 10cm high. Set the mower height initially to cut the top 2cm off the grass. This thickens the grass and encourages root growth. Lower your cut at subsequent mowing until desired height is reached - around 5cm. 

Step 5 : After the lawn is established, regular feeding with a good lawn food is recommended to keep the grass strong, healthy & maintaining its color. And to keep down weeds. 

Common Queries

Q. Is fertilizer needed before I sow seed / lay turf?
Yes, fertilization is crucial (hint : use Groplus Lawn Food that does not contain a weedkiller). 

Q. What will kill weeds on my newly-sown lawn?
You don't need a weedkiller. Mowing the grass will rid majority of them. Just pull out any big ones. 

Q. How often should I cut the lawn?
As often as possible (recommend : twice a week if you can manage it). Don't let it get really long and then scalp it. 

Q. How high should I set the mower?
Adjust it to cut about an inch high for ordinary lawns or 1/2 - 3/4 inch if it's good, fine grass. 

Q. Is it really necessary to put fertilizer on a lawn? It's growing fast enough already.
Lawn fertilizer makes the grass greener. It also makes the turf thicker so that it is difficult for weeds to get in. 

Q. I can't afford to buy all that lawn fertilizer. Isn't there a cheaper way?
Use Horti Seaweed Fertilizer that costs far less to treat the same area and it's very effective. 

Lawn Care

Q. What is “slow release” nitrogen?
“Slow release” or “time release” nitrogen refers to a form of nitrogen which breaks down slowly from heat, water, or bacterial action remaining within the root zone for an extended period. Sulphur-coated urea, tankage, urea formaldehyde and organiform are all types of “slow release” nitrogen. 

Q. What do nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium do for the lawn?
Nitrogen is the element most responsible for deep green foliage and lush grass growth. Phosphorous encourages a strong root system. Potassium contributes to sturdy plant growth and disease resistance.

Q. How do I get rid of those thick-bladed grasses in my lawn?
Spot spraying can remove small clumps or patches of weedy grasses. However, if weedy grasses are throughout the lawn, renovation of entire area may be needed. 

Q. How can I keep moss from growing in my lawn?
Moss growth is encouraged by a variety of soil and environment conditions. Area with high acidity, poor drainage, compacted soil, and low fertility are most susceptible to moss. Also areas constantly shaded by tall trees or buildings are susceptible. Vigorous grass growth is the key to moss control. Reduce soil acidity with Horti Soil Sweet.

Q. My lawn looks dry in spots, but I water it regularly. What is it?
Check the spots for signs of insect feeding. White larvae found in the soil beneath these dry patches could be grubs feeding on the roots. If no insects are found, excessive thatch build-up can prevent water from reaching the soil. Use Horti Clay Breaker to insure water penetration. 


There is no way to prevent pests and diseases from entering a garden. A gardener must take measures against them if he is to get the full benefits of the work, and money, which he has put into his garden. 

Spraying with pesticide should only be used as a last resort when all other methods (e.g.: hand picking and water jet.) have failed and the pests are doing intolerable damage to the plants. In some cases, it is only possible to achieve control by using a chemical spray. 

Chemical Sprays basically kill pests in one of three ways and an understanding of the mode of action is an important facet of effective control and also ensures that the correct spray is chosen for the job provided the feeding habits of the pest are understood. 

Pests primarily feed on plants by either chewing the parts or sucking the sap. The major pests can be split into two groups depending on how they feed.







Caterpillars and grubs

Cuckoo spit



Leaf-eating beetles







Mealy bugs

Slugs and snails



Spraying Rules:

Choose the safest and most effective pesticide for the job.

Spray only the affected plants and if there is excess spray do not apply it to other plants at random. Such random spraying could easily result in the destruction of beneficial insects and an upsurge in the levels of hitherto insignificant pests.

Spray thoroughly to wet the pests, stems, buds and the underside as well as tops of leaves, without excessive run-off or spray drips to ground.

Avoid spraying on windy days, this is dangerous and inefficient because most of the spray destined for a particular plant will be blown elsewhere.

Spray in early morning or late evening, minimum hazard to bees. Spraying should not be carried out in very hot weather. At temperatures above 31C.

Do make sure soils are moist when sprayings or fertilizing. If necessary, water the plants to be sprayed beforehand. This is important because plants dehydrate very fast after the spray. Do make sure water regularly after spraying so as to avoid soil very dry and plants therefore under water stress.

If rain is predicated, delay spraying until another occasion.

Wash immediately after use. Do not eat, drink or smoke while handling pesticides.

Some insecticides or fungicides damage plants even when applied at the right time and using correct procedures. If used too frequently, arsenic may build up to toxic levels in the soil that can distort or even kill some plants. This is termed "Phytotoxicity".

Spray only the plants are suffering from pest or disease attack. Don't spread it all around the garden.

Make sure chemical are tightly closed and store out of reach of children, preferably on a high shelf or in a locked cupboard.

Always read the label before using any chemical. Pay particular attention to safety directions and first aid. Follow them, you will not go wrong.