Maintaining your lawn during this hot, dry weather

Whilst we all enjoy a proper British summer our lawns tend to take a bit of a beating. Lots of extra use from the kids and dogs, the family BBQ’s along with no rain, means your lawn is having a hard time. But don’t go and reach for the hose, your lawn may be looking dead and dull but it is not dead; the roots will still be alive and as soon as rain returns, so too does the green colour on top!
Here are a few helpful tips for helping your lawn through a barren spell.
• Increase mowing height to 35-40 mm – this creates deeper roots and more shade and shelter from higher temperatures.
• Keep your mower blades sharp as blunt blades bruise the grass leaf and they lose more water.
• Try not to concentrate wear in one place – move barbecues and toys like slides and trampolines around.
• There’s no need to feed your lawn if it is not growing during a drought, but your lawn really needs at least 4 feeds a year to keep the grass growth strong dense and to resist weed invasion. So, when there is a break in the weather it could be the opportunity to get out there and give it the boost it needs.
• Avoid blanket weedkillers as these may damage the grass – use a spot weedkiller if necessary to pick out the most tenacious broadleaf weeds that seem to do well no matter what the conditions. Don’t be tempted to use a combined feed and weed product at this time, it is hard to get the optimum levels of each and get the performance you need from them.
• For a summer feed, you want something that has high nitrogen levels to promote growth. Just check the spreading rate before you apply, too much feed, and if mother nature gives it a helping hand, and you may end up mowing a bit more often than you bargained for!
• You can apply a light dressing of topsoil to help keep moisture in the lawns soil and protect the grass root structure from higher temperatures. You ideally want a dry sandy loam or loamy top soil but this only really wants to be done if you have already have a good lawn, applying to a mossy or thatchy lawn will only make a mess and not benefit the grass root structure.
• Ensure you scarify your lawn once a year to remove matted and dead growth from the lawn – if this is allowed to build up, this acts as a barrier to any precious rainfall getting down and reaching the soil. Summer isn’t the time to be trying to do this, but worth bearing in mind for next year.
A bit of rain will soon have your grass looking green again and growing! So, you will have to get back out there with the mower, and this may be the time to look at getting a summer feed down to help give it the boost it needs before the onset of autumn.
A balanced lawn care process throughout the coming year will mean your lawn will be in even better shape this time next year, ready for another onslaught of water fights and BBQ’s.