Once summer officially arrives, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better spot to enjoy the warm weather than your lawn. Our lawns are the backdrop for barbecues, plush beds for sunbathing and football pitches for a high stakes match. But all of this summer activity can spell trouble for your lawn if the sun-thirsty soil isn’t properly looked after.
It’s possible to sow new seeds to damaged lawns in the summer, but not advisable. The soil is often too dry to take in new roots, so the chances of your hard work falling on deaf blades is much higher. That’s why it’s better to be prepared for this summer with a lawn care routine that’ll keep your garden looking green throughout drier months – lawns that are well-fed and well-prepared are much more able to sustain the hot weather. To get you started on a lawn care routine, here are some helpful hints and tips that’ll make your garden the talk of the neighbourhood.
This one seems like a no brainer, but watering your lawn this summer is key. We need water when the going gets hot, and our lawns are no different. You should ensure that your lawn is well-watered throughout the summer, providing it with at least an inch of water a week, and more when the weather is especially dry. Rain gauges can help you keep track of how much watering is necessary. It’s best to water your lawn in the early morning or early evening, as these are the times when the water is more likely to soak into the soil rather than evaporate.
If the odds aren’t in your favour and your lawn goes dormant, taking on a brittle, brown appearance, it’s better to call it quits until the autumn rather than overwater the grass in an attempt to revive it. You’ll get another chance when the weather cools at the start of a new season and your grass comes back to life.
How much and how short you should mow your lawn in the summer comes down to a fine science. It might seem counterintuitive to cut your grass frequently in an effort to help it grow, but mowing your lawn at least once a week is actually preferable in the summer because it helps promote healthy growth. However, grass that’s clipped too short is an open invitation for pesky weeds.
You should aim to keep your grass between one to three inches high, and use the clippings as mulch that can help keep moisture in. If your grass is too long when you clip it, that mulch can smother the remaining grass trying to grow, so it’s a good idea to only mow about 1/3 inch each time, if possible.
Tackling weeds and patchy lawns
Summer is the optimal time to weed out the baddies from your garden before they disperse seeds and multiply onto next year’s lawn. You can rid your lawn of weeds by hand or through the use of herbicides. Post-emergent herbicides are preferable, because they’ll kill the weeds on contact and won’t do damage to the surrounding area – they should be used sparingly, though, as too much strain on your already heat-stressed lawn can do more harm than good.
Fertilising your lawn in the summer means you run the risk of burning the grass and growing little blades that will struggle in the heat, so you should avoid summertime fertilisation. However, if the urge proves too great, you can tackle smaller lawn patches with liquid feed, while lawn spreader generally works better for larger ones.