All of the loving care and attention given to our lawns in spring is finally starting to pay off. Apart from setting off our beds, borders and other displays perfectly, a lovely sea of grass is the focus of garden life – it’s a place to play, relax, entertain and enjoy long, leisurely al fresco meals in the sunshine. Well, that’s great for us but it’s not so good for our lawns. Summer can be super tough for them as a combination of hot, dry weather and non-stop use will make an impact on appearance, while pesky weeds will flourish if ignored for too long. Fear not. It’s possible to keep them in shape with my five lawn care tips.
Whether it’s a place for sunbathing or a football pitch for the kids, our lawns are the centre of garden activity over summer. Alas, all of that trampling underfoot will take its toll and it’s inevitable that a once emerald gem will end up looking a little lacklustre. Don’t despair. It’s easy to give tired lawns a boost with a liquid fertiliser product, such as Richard Jackson’s Lawn Magic. Based on a professional formulation, it will green up grass quickly and encourage strong growth. It can be used at any point up until September, apart from in drought.
We can rely on rain to keep our lawns hydrated during much of the year but over a long, hot summer they might need a helping hand. In hot and dry weather you can prevent an emerald sward from losing its lustre by turning on the sprinkler first thing in the morning or early in the evening. As the weather tends to be relatively cool at these times, water has time to penetrate to the roots of the grass – avoid using sprinklers during the heat of the day as much of the water that lands on the surface is lost to evaporation.
Dealing with weeds
Nothing is more pleasing on the eye than a well cared for lawn but all too often they are spoiled by weeds. The odd one here or there are easy enough to remove by hand – use a two-pronged grubbing tool if it’s shallow rooted and a weed puller device on those with long tap roots. If the lawn is full of undesirables then it’s best to apply a granular lawn weed killer. Richard Jackson’s Lawn Feed, Weed and Moss Killer can be used from spring until early autumn, and will kill most weeds within three to five weeks. Do not apply during periods of drought.
Dealing with dry spells
Looking after lawns during extended periods of drought can be challenging for even the most turf-savvy gardener; no matter how often you water, the grass will start to turn brown. Well, my advice is to try not to worry too much. Grass naturally goes dormant after two to three weeks without watering, and can survive for up to six weeks without any moisture at all – most will bounce back once rain arrives in early autumn. During periods of drought, don’t apply fertilisers to the lawn and reduce foot traffic as much as possible, to help cut down on wear and tear.
Cut down on mowing
As the weather gets warmer, the growth of grass slows down and there’s no need to mow the lawn as often as you did in spring. As a general rule, it’s best to cut the grass every couple of weeks, raising the height of cut to a higher setting so only about a third of its length is removed – leaving the grass slightly longer enables it to cope better with drought as it encourages plants to become deeper rooted. Make sure blades are sharp as blunt cutting edges will rip blades of grass apart to leave a large surface area exposed, leading to greater loss of moisture.