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Taking care of your lawn during the summer

Date posted: 17 October 2013

As the temperatures warm up and we want to spend more time outdoors, our garden lawns tend to get well-used. This usage along with hot, dry weather can cause lawns to become stressed, worn and patchy if they are not given the necessary care and maintenance.

The good news is that it doesn't take a great deal of effort to keep your lawn in good shape -- all you need is a little time and the right garden tools and treatments.

Mowing

In warmer temperatures your lawn's growth may slow down, so only mow when necessary, use a sharp mower, and never cut off more than one third of the length of the grass in one mow. Avoid mowing your lawn if it has been damaged by drought because it will not be growing quickly and it could stress the lawn further.

Mowers vary in quality with some providing a better cut than others, and your local garden tool hire centre will have lawn mowers for hire if you want to test out a couple of types before you invest in your own. Once you do have your own mower, keep blades sharp - you will be able to sharpen rotary blades yourself, but go to a professional if you have a cylinder mower.

Feeding and aerating

You may or may not need to feed your lawn during the summer to keep it green and healthy. It depends on the lawn's growth patterns and the weather experienced during any particular summer. If you fertilise and apply moss / weed killer in late spring, this could carry you through to the Autumn with no need for further treatments. If you experience a cool, damp summer, however, you may need to give your lawn an additional summer application of fertiliser to replace drained nutrients. If you apply treatments during dry weather conditions, you will need to water them in to activate the feed.

If the ground has become compacted you may need to aerate it – either manually, using a garden fork, or for larger lawns hiring a hollow tine lawn aerator. The aim is to make holes in the ground at regular intervals over the surface of the lawn and then brush an appropriate lawn conditioner into the holes to help encourage a thicker, healthier lawn and boost drainage.

Watering

A lawn that is well looked after throughout the year will usually regain its former condition even after a tough summer drought. If you are going to water your lawn to prevent it temporarily turning straw-coloured, water it evenly, either in the morning or the evening when it will soak in better, and start at the first signs of drought -- while the grass is still fairly green, but is beginning to show the first signs of stress -- such as slow growth and a less glossy look.

Moss and weed control

If even after your springtime treatments you find moss or weeds in your lawn, you may need to apply some weed killer or moss killer. If you only spot small patches of weeds you will be able to get away with applying a selective weed killer, whereas if you find moss or larger areas of weeds you may be better applying an all-over spreader that conditions and nourishes your entire lawn at the same time as killing weeds and moss.

Seeding and repairing

Summer is not the best time for seeding and repairing your lawn - it is beter to do this in spring or early autumn. If you are keen to get on with it in the summer, however, be prepared to water it regularly afterwards while the seeds take.
 

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