Lawn Care Tips For Summer
Summer is the time to step back and enjoy your lawn as it provides the perfect backdrop to the colours of the garden. However, the grass itself doesn’t take a rest! Your lawn continues to welcome a helping hand as it copes with the increasingly unpredictable summer weather, and whether it’s keeping the edges under control or deciding to give the dry grass a drink, there are plenty of little jobs to keep you busy.
Summer can be one of the most challenging months for your lawn. It endures more wear and tear as people enjoy the outdoor weather; a dry summer can shrink the soil and damage the grass’s root systems; and many people forget a summer feed! So, let’s look at the some of the routine summer lawn care jobs.
Does my lawn need feeding in summer?
Your lawn needs at least four feeds a year, and summer is one of them. A summer feed should be high in nitrogen to promote strong, dense growth and resist weed invasion, so look for a 12-3-12 ratio. Our Vivid Green lawn feed is ideal.
Fertiliser granules need watering in to activate. Normally you can hope for some rain to do this but in summer you may need to do some watering yourself to get the feed working.
Should I use weedkiller in the summer?
Summer is certainly the favourite season for the most common lawn weeds. It can be a good idea to apply a weedkiller to keep these under control. However, don’t be tempted by the appeal of a combined feed-and-weed product as it is very hard to apply the optimum quantities of each and get the performance you need from them.
Do I cut the grass more in summer or less?
Whatever time of year, your mowing depends on how the grass is growing. Use the golden rule of never cutting more than one third of the current length and you won’t go too far wrong.
However, the grass will be growing at its strongest during the summer and you can expect to mow once or even twice a week in June and July. With all this growth there’s no wonder your lawn will appreciate its summer feed!
Summer is when you will need your edging tools the most.
If my grass gets dry in summer should I water it?
One of the frustrations in lawn care is that just as the lawn is looking its absolute best, along with the flowers and shrubs around it, a dry spell can see the green transform into a dead-looking brown turf. But the grass is not dead; the roots will still be alive and as soon as rain returns, so too does the green colour up top.
You can of course water the lawn in the summer, but you must be consistent and monitor the effects carefully. Otherwise you are not only likely to waste valuable water, but may also damage the lawn. The Modern Lawn Care book discusses this in some detail.
For example, if your lawn has a lot of thatch the water may not permeate to where it is needed most – the root systems. This is why some people water, see no visible improvement, and keep on watering until they actually over-water!
Poor nutrition can also be a cause for dull and dry looking grass in the summer months. No amount of watering will compensate for a lack of essential basic nutrients.
If you water, use the mornings and evenings as this will minimise water loss through evaporation. And, of course, if you have laid some turf, you must water it for several weeks if there is no regular rain.
The Turfgrass Growers Association has published a useful factsheet about managing lawns in dry weather. Read the TGA lawn watering advice here
Is summer a good time to do small lawn repairs?
If you have small patches where the grass has thinned out, June is a good time to sow seed; there is plenty of light and warmth without too much risk of a heatwave. Remember that watering is necessary both for germination and to help the tender seedlings grow into healthy grass plants.
If you are really keen, or have a luxury lawn, you will have other jobs on your to-do list such as top-dressing. Summer is the time when you most need to get out the edging tools as well. You may also need to tackle any diseases like red thread. You can read about all these and more in Modern Lawn Care by David Hedges-Gower.