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17 July 2018

Caring For Your Lawn In A Dry Summer

This unusually long dry period is affecting gardens all over the UK, and this can be clearly seen when looking at lawns. Grass that is usually green and healthy at this time of year is looking parched and unattractive. When deprived of water, lawn grasses are likely to stop growing and start to brown, especially if the top 10cm (4 inches) of soil becomes dried out. However there are measures that you can take to improve things.

The most obvious thing to do is water your lawn, provided that you are not in an area with a hosepipe ban. There don't seem to be too many of these at present but I am sure the number will increase shortly. It is better to water well but less frequently, rather than giving your lawn a light watering every few days. Water early in the morning or later in the evening to minimise evaporation. Ideally water once the soil is dry but before the grass turns brown. If the ground is baked dry you can try to aerate it before watering to help the water reach the grass roots.This may be practical for a small lawn but probably not for a larger one, though you could target the worst areas.

If your lawn still needs mowing, raise your cut height, reducing the length of grass by no more than a third. Instead of collecting the clippings, leave the grass box off your mower and let them fall on the lawn, where they will act as a mulch and slow the evaporation of moisture from the surface. This can only be done if your clippings are very small otherwise you may smother the grass, which is also harmful.

If well maintained, the lawn will usually recover when the rain returns, which may not be far away as the school holidays are almost upon us. However, if the dry spell continues through the summer, many of us may find that our grass is suffering badly, becoming weak at the roots.
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