During the summer months, we all want to make the most of our lawns. From entertaining family and friends with a barbecue, to simply relaxing, the lawn is often the location for much of the summer’s activity. With all this extra activity, our lawns can begin to look a little worse for wear by the autumn. However, with a few preparations and some helpful tips, your lawn can retain a healthy look all summer long.
The first thing to remember is that every summer will be different, in fact, every month and every season will be very different. It is all about adapting your own decisions on the lawn you have, the lawn you want and the weather conditions that we have to work with. For some in the South East that looks very much like drought conditions, while lawns in the North are getting a welcome drink courtesy of recent downpours.
Lawn care tips No1 – Keep it native!
We have just had a very wet spring, then a dry spring, and now a very hot summer, so no wonder our poor lawns are confused! Grass species are important when it comes to helping these plants along in our gardens. Native grasses adapt well in the UK, no matter what the weather. Our UK fescues and bents are a much more sustainable way to go when planning lawns in this country.
Weeds and moss
One of the most common problems with otherwise perfectly healthy lawns is the presence of buttercups, daisies and moss. All of us at one time or another have tried in vain to uproot these blemishes, only to find that they grow back in no time.
There are some excellent lawn weed killers available at most garden centres such as Viano Mo Bacter and Richard Jackson Flower Power Moss Remover & Lawn Feeder, which kill off broad-leafed weeds, but leave the grass untouched – and are also pet-friendly. For best results, do not cut your lawn for two or three days, then apply the weed killer on a dry day. It is also important that you do not use grass cuttings from your lawn, for composting or mulching, for a couple of weeks after having applied the weed killer because some of the chemicals may still be in the grass.
Aeration or spiking, is important for maintaining your garden’s condition. Use a garden fork to spike holes into your lawn at regular spaces to improve drainage. Aeration also improves airflow and makes it easier for nutrients to get to the roots.
If you do not aerate properly, soils will dry out much quicker. If you have the correct grasses, eg native fescues and bents, for your lawn, they will adapt and recover after their hot spell ‘siesta’ and you do not need to water at all!
Brown patches on your lawn can be caused by many things. One of the major causes, believe it or not, are pet dogs – their wee will burn the grass and cause patches.
If you do not own a dog, there are other explanations: Mowing your lawn too closely can cause patches. If your lawn is uneven, mowing too short could lead to your blade taking the top off grass located on slightly higher ground.
Also, if you’ve treated your lawn with insecticide or weed killer, getting the dose wrong can result in patches, too.
After applying weed killer or insecticide, patches can be covered by the use of high-nitrogen fertiliser, loam or sharp sand. Lawn feed would also improve the general condition of your lawn.
Regular mowing and watering are also important to remember in maintaining your lawn this summer.
Check the product is safe for animals and carefully follow the dosage instruction on the packet while applying as evenly as possible. If you can’t avoid walking on your lawn after spraying, make sure you have something to cover your shoes – a couple of carrier bags are inelegant but do the trick. Alternatively, consider removing weeds by hand or using other non-chemical methods.
Lawns are remarkably resilient and will recover from periods of hot weather after a good drink of rain. When we do have wet weather, mowing is a necessary pruning technique as growth is accelerated. The best thing we can do is to ensure blades are sharp, blunt blades stress grass even more. Do not crop lawns low to look like a Wimbledon lawn in this heat, this will just make them more thirsty, this is an unsustainable technique. Raise the height of the cut and this will ensure that the leaf blade retains moisture and nutrients and helps it get through the stressful dry period.garden, lawn care Last modified: July 14, 2023