August: Long hot days, fun in the sun, summer holidays with family and friends. What’s not to love?
But for our lawns, this is the time of year when they can really struggle without some regular TLC.
The good news is that most lawns will recover fully from a drought or a dry spell. Even if lawns turn brown and dry during the summer months, they usually recover as soon as the rains return. It would take an extremely severe drought to kill off your lawn completely.
However, it’s still advisable to do a few simple things to protect your lawn from the worst effects of dry weather.
We’ve compiled a list of 8 top tips to help your lawn survive and thrive.
1 – Don’t mow so low
Raising the height of the cut helps to avoid weakening the grass.
2 – Mow less frequently
Allow your grass to grow a bit longer. You could even include an area of butterfly and bee-friendly meadow flowers and just sit back and enjoy them during the height of summer.
3 – Don’t be so tidy
Yes, you did read that correctly! Avoid the temptation to clear away the grass clippings when you mow as they will act as mulch and help to retain any moisture in the soil for longer. Take care to ensure the clippings are nice and small so that they don’t smother and damage the grass.
4 – Give your lawn a drink
Water the lawn every 7-10 days (if water restrictions permit), but don’t over-do it. Too much water isn’t just wasteful, it’s potentially damaging. It also makes the lawn less drought-tolerant, so in the event of a hosepipe ban, when watering isn’t an option, it will deteriorate more rapidly.
5 – Get your timings right
Water your lawn early in the morning or late in the evening. Watering in the hottest part of the day will increase evaporation.
6 – Nip it in the bud
Water when the soil gets dry, but before the grass starts to change colour. The grass will usually stop growing and start to go brown when the top 10cm of soil dries out.
7 – Use your fork
If the ground has become very hard, aerate it with a fork before watering to help the water to sink in.
8 – Work out how much water your lawn needs
Ensure that the water reaches a depth of 10cm. You can do this by testing some areas a few hours after watering. You’ll soon learn how much water your lawn needs and how long to leave your sprinkler on.
9 … And relax!
We thought we’d add this 9th tip because this is the time of year to be out enjoying your garden and making the most of the summer weather.
If you follow the dry weather advice, there’s every chance you won’t need to repair or relay your lawn in the autumn. If you have encountered problems, then you might want to consider relaying your lawn with drought-resistant grass mixes.
And remember: Prevention is better than cure. By having a maintenance programme this autumn and next spring, your lawn will be in great shape for summer 2018, too.