The summer months can be stressful and damaging to your lawn, however, with a bit of planning and know-how, you can keep your lawn looking good through summer and have time to enjoy it too.
The number one tip is to take it easy in the heat of the day – tending to your lawn in the midday sun, even watering, is a bad idea. May we suggest a siesta instead? Here’s 10 more tips to keeping your lawn looking good through summer.
When to water
The best time of the day to water your lawn is first thing in the morning – this will allow the soil to absorb the water effectively without it being lost to evaporation, and the grass to go through the photosynthesis process. Your lawn requires sunlight for photosynthesis to occur – so watering at night will mean that your lawn won’t be able to effectively utilise the water it is getting. Watering at night can also leave your lawn damp which is prime for lawn diseases to take hold. Watering in the early morning lets your soil soak up the moisture and keeps your lawn hydrated during the day.
Train your lawn
To build a strong, healthy and good looking lawn over summer it is crucial not to water too often. Infrequent yet deep watering practices will train your lawn to develop a deep root system and build drought tolerance. Aim to water a few times a week, as the lawn requires it, rather than quick, daily waterings.
Avoid run off
Should water begin to run off or puddle on your lawn then it’s a sign that it’s time to turn off the sprinkler and/or move it to somewhere else on your lawn. If puddles have formed, turn off the water and leave it to absorb into the lawn – if water is still obviously sitting on the surface after 15-20 mins then you’ve watered too much.
Watch where you water
Ensure that you’re not a water-waster and that sprinklers are hitting the lawn and not paths and driveways. If you set your automatic sprinkler to run but it’s just watering hard surfaces the look of your lawn will suffer.
Water with cool water
Sounds simple but sometimes we need remembering that it’s not a good idea to water with warm or hot water. Hot water can even scald the blades of the grass and cause damage. If you have left your hose out in the summer sun ensure that you flush out any hot water before you commence watering your lawn.
Be flexible with water
Don’t water your garden when it’s raining or rain is due. Pretty obvious, but an easy mistake to make if you have an automatic watering system or timer set up. Turn the water off on days it is due to rain and be ready to water again if the rain doesn’t deliver enough water.
Air to breathe
Lawns need oxygen as well as water so it’s important to keep your lawn aerated. Aeration involves perforating the soil at intervals to alleviate soil compaction, allowing water, air and nutrients to penetrate deep below the surface. The easiest and cheapest method is to push a garden fork into the ground at 15 cm intervals over the entire lawn. An aerated lawn will also be better at absorbing water rather than letting it run off. For larger areas it may be easier to hire a machine to do the hard work.
Feed your lawn
All plants eventually deplete the nutrients in the soil and a lawn more so than others since it’s the one plant we tend to cut consistently, taking with it each blade’s personal store of nutrients.
Mow at right height
Raise the cutting height of your lawnmower during summer to keep your lawn looking at its best. The grass won’t dry out as quickly and the roots will be better protected by the longer blades. We suggest mowing your lawn every two to three weeks in summer to keep it looking tidy, though the need will vary if there’s been a lot of rain.
Deal with weeds
Controlling weeds early and often is better than spraying the whole lawn with weed killer and better for keeping your lawn looking good through summer. This can be done by pulling them out manually or better still but If there are too many weeds for this method then try ‘painting’ weed killer on the affected area; perhaps doing just one section of lawn each day.