Summer is a time when you should be able to take advantage of all the work you carried out by way of lawncare in the Spring months. Mowing will be at a minimum - especially in hot dry spells - and other main cultural lawn care operations are normally carried out in Spring and Autumn. So, pull up a few chairs, get the BBQ going and put down the lawn mats for a picnic outside. What else is the lawn for, but to enjoy!
Generally, far too much mowing is carried out in the Summer months. Maybe out of habit, the mower is started every Saturday or Sunday. Maybe essentially because this is the only free time from your normal work schedule. How much better life would be if you realised that mowing frequencies should actually reduce in the summer.
Also - to help matters more - you can lift the cutting height of the mower blades to allow the grass to grow a little longer. This is good for sitting and lazing about on the lawn in the summer (we wish!) but is also helpful for the lawn!
A slightly longer sward of turf grass will help the lawn get through the summer more easily, by way of providing a barrier between the sun and the earth. Longer grass will act as a mulch - conserving soil moisture, which in turn allows for less watering, and greener grass.
Lawncare on new lawns laid in the last Autumn or recent Spring, will be the main exception to the lazy options outlined above!
Newly laid lawns will most certainly require regular mowing and possibly a little bit of renovation work to repair brown patches. It is rare for a newly turfed lawn to get by unscathed in a hot, dry summer. Those lawns laid in the Autumn will have a greater change of total survival, owing to the fact that their roots will have penetrated to soil to a depth of 5cms or more. Not so generally with spring laid lawns.
In a dry summer, watering a new lawn will probably be required every few days or so on newly laid lawns. When watering, ensure that there is soil penetration of 5cms or more. This is best carried out over time. A quick flooding with a hosepipe, will invariably lead to wet areas in some places and dry in others. heavy-drop sprinklers are the best way to get an even penetration. Normally, 2-3cms of water is sufficient.
Easy to measure with a few straight sided drinking glasses placed in the sprinkler range. Then simply measure the depth of water! Do this a couple of times and you will be able to assess how long you need to water to get sufficient penetration.
Mowing will be needed more frequently as a result of the watering. Keep the mower blades higher than normal to allow the grass to grow between cuts. You can cut every week - but at a height of around 3cms. The extra grass foliage will allow the newly planted grasses (plants) to play their part in helping the root system as is synthesizes food to send back to the whole plant!
Don't feed new lawns in the Summer months. If your preparatory work was carried out properly - no need! Any feeding will mean added growth of the foliage - at a time when the root system is at its weakest.
Now after suggesting to you that maintenance of establish lawns can almost - not quite - cease in the summer months, I have to explain how to go about the various tasks for those who absolutely insist that their lawn should be pristine green throughout the summer!
Watering the lawn is rarely needed on a normal established garden lawn. The grass varieties used are normally capable of withstanding drought conditions for many weeks. Yes, they will probably turn brown, but soon after any rainfall, they will revert back to the green lawn that we all love so much. Not going to get into discussions about the environment and water conservation. That is for your own conscience. (You may also be aware of the cost of unnecessary watering if you are on a metered system!)
The lawn on the left will recover within a week of being rained upon. It might not be pleasant to sit on in this condition, but it will do no harm. But no heavy footed games on this please! If you decide that you are going to water your lawn throughout the summer and just cannot bear the sight of a natural browning process, then do so at night, when the water has better chance of percolating down through the soil, rather than being recycled by nature in the way of evaporation. The evaporation aspect is always underestimated! Place a saucer of water on your patio for a few hours in the hot sun and see what happens!
Mowing The Lawn
If and when you have to mow your lawn, raise the mower blades to around a minimum of 3cms and forget about mowing under trees. Let the grass grow and form its own mulch under trees and overhanging shrubs.
Realise, that the grass is at its weakest during the summer. If you cut off the foliage, then the grass will attempt to regenerate that foliage. For it to do that, it will require soil moisture! It's a big circle!
Don't worry about a little browning - providing it is caused by drought conditions. You will have a greener lawn in the summer if you cut high!
Feeding the lawn in summer is not necessary - or desirable - unless you have decided to water regular (in which case you will not have read this far!) If you fertilise, you will be encouraging the grass to grow, use water, and ultimately require water.
You may end up with a green lawn by watering, cutting short and feeding. You may also scorch and kill the grassed if the fertiliser is applied wrongly. It happens a lot!
In short, summer is the season when grass grows least. Why try to go against its wishes. Just enjoy it!
Needless to say, maintenance tasks such as raking, scarifying or aeration is not an option in the summer. The grass plants (don't forget that they are plants) are easily ripped up by such operations in the summer.
Over-seeding, re-turfing, and any form of patching is best left until late summer, when there is normally natural soil moisture and dew to help establishment. Likewise with any moss-killing. However, early summer ifs a good time for applying Lawn Sand to deal with moss.
Summer is also a good time for spot treatment of weeds - which of course are happy to stay green in the summer months. A ready to use lawn weed gun will see off all but the most stubborn weeds. The day before, water the weed area with a can to keep them growing well. Lawn weed killers work best on weeds that are actually growing well.
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