Whilst we may love a good heatwave, our gardens don’t feel the same. Most gardens aren’t prepared for extended periods of drought, and with heatwave length and frequency increasing year on year, here are our top tips to help your lawn this summer.
- Watch Out For Disease. Dry Patch and Red Thread are fungal diseases that can affect lawns during the summer months caused by specific weather conditions. Dry Patch is a condition where the soil beneath your lawn becomes so dry it cannot absorb water due to a fungus called Mycelium, leaving the grass on the surface to turn brown. This can develop in localised patches in your lawn, not just across the whole area. Red Thread is caused by damp and humid conditions, causing bleached looking spots within your lawn where individual grass leaves die off. Although RT is unsightly, it will not leave your lawn with any long lasting damage.
- Mowing. Raise the height of your mower during warm and dry spells to reduce stress of your lawn, between 25-50mm is ideal. Continue to mow regularly with a sharp blade, regularly changing the direction of cut.
- Watering. If your lawn is brown and patchy during the summer then the most likely cause is dryness. If your lawn is dry, then watering will certainly help to maintain a good colour and appearance. If you do water your lawn then do so in the evenings/early mornings (watering during bright sunlight can scorch grass) and aim to do this heavily 2-3 times per week. You are aiming to get the water into the root zone as this will have the most impact, a couple of heavy soakings with a sprinkler for 1.5-2 hours at a time (in each position required to cover the lawn) should achieve this. You can determine whether the water is reaching the lawn roots by applying the sprinkler then leaving alone for 24 hours before digging up a small core of turf and soil to see how far down the soil the water has reached. If the water hasn’t reached the desired depth then extend the sprinkling time next time you water. Do not use a hose or watering can, as this will not put on enough water to reach roots. Watering daily for shorter durations does not have the same impact and can encourage turf disease such as Red Thread as the sward often remains damp and humid as it doesn’t get time to dry out in between watering and the water is unlikely to drain right down in to the root zone where it is needed. Watering is especially important for newly laid turf or areas recently seeded where the root depth may be quite shallow.
- Mid-Summer Treatment. Although lawns may lose some of the lush green colour and become dormant during the height of the summer, it is still important to provide the grass with a balanced nutritional feed. At Will’s Norfolk Lawns we apply a 100% drought-safe fertiliser, meaning it doesn’t need to be watered in. This feed is important as when the lawn does receive a good drink, it will be able to utilize the feed and recover quicker.
- Plan Autumn Remedial Work. If your lawn has become thin or patchy during the summer months, now is a great time to plan any repair work to be carried out in the autumn. Scarification, aeration, over-seeding and top dressing is the perfect combination of treatments to revive and regenerate tired, even drought-stressed lawns.