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Late summer lawn care

Lawns form the very heart of the garden. Keep yours looking great with some late summer care with these tips from Andy McIndoe.

By late summer the lawn has had a long season of use. If it has been used as a play area it will have taken a fair amount of wear and tear; at the very least it will have had a lot of foot traffic.

Dry spells put the grass under stress and summer rainfall results in soft, lush grass growth. Maybe you’ve been away on holiday and it wasn’t cut for a couple of weeks? Then it has to suffer a major cut back to get it in shape. There is still plenty of the summer to go and things you can do to keep the lawn looking good.

Get your lawn looking good again after a hard summer of wear and tear. Image: Andy McIndoe
Get your lawn looking good again after a hard summer of wear and tear. Image: Andy McIndoe

Lawn care tips

  • Firstly regular mowing is essential. Grass makes a lot of its own food through its leaves, so try to resist the temptation to cut it too short. It will look better and stay greener if you keep it a little longer. Try not to reduce the height of the grass by more than one third every time you mow.
  • Cool evenings and early mornings are the best time if you need to get out the lawn sprinkler. Watering in the heat of the day results in lots of evaporation and much of the water never reaches the grass roots. There is no need to flood the grass: gentle watering for a short period over several days is far more beneficial.
  • In many parts of the world we are used to extremes of weather. Some lawns will have endured periods of drought, resulting in brown grass. Don’t panic, the grass is not dead it just goes dormant. As soon as there is adequate moisture it will start to grow and recover. Do not be tempted to sprinkle more seed on the grass to thicken it – it’s much better to do that later on.
  • This is not a good time to use slow release chemical fertilisers or triple action products, they can cause scorch to the lawn and there probably isn’t enough moisture to get them to the grass roots. If you are planning a granular feed it is best applied well into autumn when there is likely to be more rainfall. Now is a great time to use a liquid such as Richard Jackson’s Lawn Magic. This is the type of fertiliser that professional greenkeepers use throughout the growing season to green the grass and feed the roots.
  • If there are lawn weeds use a selective lawn weedkiller directed onto the weeds; there is no need to apply it all over the lawn. You will find this far more effective than the weedkiller in a triple action treatment. I recommend you apply it a week or so after you have treated the lawn with a liquid fertiliser. This means the weeds and grass are growing, quickly making the weeds more susceptible to the weedkiller and the grass in a better state to fill the gaps. Never use a general weedkiller on the lawn. Even if you are careful you will kill the grass as well as the weeds.
  • One final tip: If you have had play equipment such as a trampoline or paddling pool on the lawn, the ground will be compacted and the grass will find it hard to recover. Water the area thoroughly and spike it with a fork before you apply Lawn Magic. That way you will get the fertiliser straight to the grass roots.
  • If you would like to learn more about lawn care check out my online course at MyGardenSchool.

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