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Looking after your lawn in summer

Summer is the time of year to really enjoy your lawn and the benefits of all your hard work in the previous winter and spring. The good news is that it will also require less maintenance during the warmer drier summer months, leaving you more time for barbecues and the family.

Mowing

As temperatures hot up during summer the growth of your lawn will slow down. This means you can mow less often, never taking more than one third of the length of the plant off in any one cut. As always a sharp mower is essential. If temperatures become very hot mowing can actually stress your lawn so it is best to leave your lawn to grow longer. During dry conditions we also recommend increasing the cutting height slightly as leaving the grass a little longer will help trap moisture by reducing evaporation from the surface and encourage deeper roots to grow; all of which will improve drought tolerance. If the lawn is not growing at all due to drought conditions then do not attempt to cut it.

If you’re going away on holiday, especially for more than a week, it’s a good idea to arrange for someone to mow your lawn. Regular mowing is important to maintain your lawn’s appearance and if it gets very long during your absence you will need to mow careful to avoid significant deterioration in its condition.

Feeding

Whether you need to feed your lawn during summer will be dependent on weather and growth patterns. If the lawn was fertilised in late spring, this should provide sufficient nutrients to see your lawn through to autumn. A cooler, wet summer can result in nutrient drain and as a result additional fertiliser applications may be required to maintain lawn health.

Do not apply fertiliser during periods of drought as this may scorch the lawn.

Watering

Summer is the time when drought can occur and lawns may turn brown and straw coloured, but there’s no need to worry; this is natural and established, well-maintained lawns will invariably recover once the rains return. Newly laid turf must be kept well-watered, but established lawns do not need to be watered routinely. Lawns with a high content of fescues and rhizomatous grass types are deep-rooting and tend to be more drought tolerant. They will go brown during dry conditions, but colour will return when rain arrives.

Good maintenance at other times of the year, including aeration and appropriate feeding will help your lawn’s rooting and its ability to withstand and recover from periods of drought. If possible, avoidance is better than cure and the only way to prevent drought is to water the lawn.

Where possible, it is best to water at the first signs of drought, when the grass is still green but starting to show signs of stress, such as little growth and a dulling of the normal bright green colouration. If you can water try to do this evenly, in the early morning or evening, when the water is more likely to soak in. Remember to follow any local regulations when using water in summer.

Broadleaf weed treatment

Broadleaf weeds should be treated using a suitable selective herbicide. Alternatively weed them out by hand or using a knife/mechanical weeder remembering to get the root of the weed out.

Dealing with lawn pests

The most common lawn pests, Chafer Grubs and Leatherjackets, can cause significant damage to lawns. If you notice patches of poorly growing, yellowing grass check for signs of grubs feeding on the grass roots. These pests can be easily and safely controlled by applying a suitable nematode based product.

Enjoy your lawn

Looking after and maintaining a beautiful lawn is a rewarding experience and pastime. The results speak for themselves and are there for all to see. A grass surface is also one of the safest surfaces for you and your family to enjoy. There are other benefits to having a beautiful lawn, for example it is believed that standing barefoot on grass is a multi-sensory experience. It triggers within us deeply rooted associations with the smell and sound of nature and the vision of dense greenery.

A lawn is actually quite a resilient surface, but in summer some areas may suffer from a high level of use. A repetitive activity may create bare patches. If possible, periodically move items which are kept on the lawn, such as trampolines or football goals to give these areas a chance to recover. Once summer comes to an end, overseed or patch any bare areas of your lawn.

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Further information on lawn aftercare procedures and pests and diseases can be found in our Information Centre. You may also like our summer lawn care video and seasonal lawn care guide.