Drive Over

Drive-Over® is a Sakata Seed Southern Africa’s proprietary mixture developed specifically for the Southern African region. Many years of trials conducted at our local research station, as well as decades of field experience have contributed to the success of this mix. Drive Over® is planted on drive ways and parking areas for a cool, soft looking surface that has an exceptional ability to withstand the pressure of vehicle traffic. This mix does well in full sun and semi-shade although areas in the full sun are more susceptible to drought and stress.
Drive-Over® must be planted in concrete blocks, which have cavities for the grass to be planted into and solid sections to reduce the pressure of the motor vehicles on the grass. The fact that the grass plants grow in a confined area means that there is less soil to hold water, so irrigation frequency will have to be increased.
Many parking areas have shade netting to primarily reduce the heat on the vehicles, but which creates an ideal environment for Drive-Over®. This grass mix will stay green throughout the year, no matter how cold it gets! Even frost or snow won’t force it to go brown (go dormant). It is also important to make sure that this type of mixture can cope with the hot times of the year. This is why long term ongoing local trials are so important. We need to be sure that this grass looks good all year round.
Establishment
When?
Best times are spring and autumn. Avoid very hot or very cold times of the year.
Lay cement blocks and install irrigation
Lay blocks in a bed of gravel topped with river sand to ensure good drainage. Make sure that the cement blocks are level and install the irrigation system. An irrigation system is essential since the root area is limited and this grass is a temperate grass.
Add fertiliser and fill blocks. Add 25 g* of Super Phosphate and 15g* of 5:1:5 (per square meter of cement blocks) to the top soil. *This is a general recommendation made in the absence of a soil test.
Fill cement block cavities to 1 cm below the surface.
Sowing the seed
Ensure that you have the right amount of seed, i.e. 1 kg per 25 m². Do not reduce the sowing rate even though the cement blocks reduce the growing area as some seedling mortality is expected.
Broadcast the seed over the area as evenly as possible either by hand or by using a drop seeder (a fertiliser spreader will do as long as you have checked that it does not crush the seed).
To achieve an even spread, split the amount of seed in two, moving up and down with one half and across and back with the other. Sweep the seed that lands on the cement blocks into the cavities with a broom.
Covering the seed
Cover the seed by filling the cavities to the surface of the blocks. The seed should not be covered by more than 1 cm of soil.
Compacting
Compact the soil by using a roller. If the cement blocks prevent the roller from coming into contact with the soil then change the direction of the roller by 90 degrees. This step is very important as it brings the seed into direct contact with moist soil, reduces wash-aways and initiates capillary action (the movement of water upwards through the soil profile).
Watering
Keep the area moist at all times for the first two weeks until complete germination, after which the watering frequency should be reduced. You may need to water more than once a day. Avoid puddles.
Summary
  • Level the chosen area
  • After which the area is prepared by laying a bed of gravel (finer gravel is easier to work with) topped with a layer of river or silica sand.
  • The concrete blocks are then settled into the bed taking care to ensure that they are level and evenly laid.
  • The irrigation system should be installed before filling the cavities.
  • The cavities are then filled to 1 cm from the top with top soil. This top soil should have the required fertliser added to it before filling the cavities.
  • Seed should be broadcast or drop-seeded over the entire area. Any seed lying on the concrete blocks should be brushed into the cavities with a broom.
  • Cover the seed with 5 – 10 mm of topsoil, and roll (lightly compact) to ensure good contact between the seed and soil.
Maintenance
Mowing
Start
  • When grass is 9 cm long. Set the mower at its highest setting (no less than 6 cm).
Height
Sunny areas 2 to 5 cm (4 to 5 cm recommended as lower heights necessitates twice weekly mowing).
  • Semi-shade 5 to 7 cm (the shadier the site, the longer the grass has to be).
  • 1/3 rd RULE – Never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade at a time.
Frequency
Generally once a week (more if cut shorter than 4 cm). In winter approximately once in three weeks.
Type of mower
Rotary mowers are best for this type of grass (reel type mowers can’t be set high enough).
Irrigating
Installation of an irrigation system is essential as the confined soil cavity has limited water holding capacity, and the cement can heat up and dry the soil out more quickly. In addition, this grass doesn’t have storage roots/stems like Kikuyu so it cannot be allowed to dry out.
At maturity, irrigate 25 – 30 mm per week in summer (2 to 3 times a week) and 10 – 15 mm per week in winter (1 to 2 times a week). In very hot weather syringe lightly at noon. Remember to keep the soil moist but not soggy or waterlogged! This may lead to diseases.
Fertilisation
25 g (approximately half a handful) per m² of 5:1:5 or 3:1:5 four times a year (e.g. Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct). Don’t forget the April application to avoid brown tips in winter. Slow release formulations are recommended as lawns do best when fertilised little and often.
Pests and Diseases
Take careful note of the symptoms, i.e. spots on leaves, size and location of patches etc. and phone the Sakata Seed Southern Africa’s Helpline (insert the click through) or speak to a specialist in this field. Remember that insects and fungal diseases know nothing about straight lines, so if you see straight lines look for a man-made problem!
Healthy, actively growing lawn is less susceptible to everything so don’t skimp on fertilising (you can’t avoid regular mowing!).
Good air flow reduces humidity and helps to avoid disease (watch out for this in shady areas).
Don’t over water or underwater, both cause stress to all grasses.
Dog urine
Dog urine can sometimes cause scorching. This is more common with spayed bitches and in very hot weather.
If a brown patch develops pull the dead grass out, loosen the soil a bit, sprinkle some seed (available in small Top Up packs at most nurseries), cover with a thin layer of soil (just scratch it in) and trample lightly under foot. Less of a pain than continuous edge trimming Kikuyu, as long as you aren’t trying to keep four Alsatians on 100 m² of lawn!
Traffic
The combination of this grass ability to tolerate foot traffic, and the cement blocks capacity to absorb the bulk of a vehicles pressure, makes Drive-Over® a suitable choice for parking areas.
Weeds
The best way to avoid weeds is to have actively growing grass forming a dense canopy that does not allow light through to the soil surface. Fertilise and mow regularly and you will literally cut out the majority of problems. Ask a specialist before spraying a herbicide.
Aerating
Spiking or hollow tining: Use a garden fork or tining fork on highly compacted areas. Push the whole length of the tine into the soil to get good water and air penetration.
Top dressing
Never cover this grass with a layer of soil or compost. The grass will die.
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