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17 May 2013

Summer Lawn Maintenance

Now that the summer has arrived, with hot, dry weather, you will probably just want to sit and admire your lawn without having to put too much effort into it's upkeep. The good news is that as temperatures rise your grass should grow more slowly, so only mow when necessary and don't take more than a third off the length of your grass. For best results make sure that your lawnmower has a sharp blade.

If you treated your lawn in late spring with a combined lawn fertiliser, weed & moss killer it should be ok through the summer. However a cool, wet summer can cause a loss of nutrients so a further dose of fertiliser may be needed to keep your lawn at it's best.

Drought can sometimes be a problem in the summer, at least in some parts of the country, turning your lawn brown. However it will soon recover following a good spell of rain providing it was healthy to start with. If possible avoid it getting too dry by occasional, thorough watering, assuming there are no restrictions on watering in your area. This is best carried out either early in the morning or later in the evening. If the ground is very hard, spike it with a fork before watering, to help the water to penetrate. Watering once every seven to 10 days is normally sufficient but don't overwater as this encourages shallow rooting of the grass and makes the lawn less drought-tolerant in case of hosepipe bans or holidays, as well as being wasteful.

If you have to mow your lawn in a period of dry weather, then raise the height of cut and let the clippings fall back onto the lawn rather than collecting them. They will act as a mulch and reduce the rate of water evaporation from the soil surface. However your lawn won't be growing in periods of drought so you should be able to have a rest from mowing.

Try to remove broadleaf weeds either by treating with a selective herbicide, a combined fertiliser, weed and moss killer, or by cutting them out by hand or using a mechanical weeder. Make sure you get the root out or you will be doing the same job again in the future.

There are various lawn pests eg. Chafer Grubs and Leatherjackets, which can damage your lawn. Look for patches of poorly growing, yellowing grass which might indicate that you have something eating your grass roots. You can use a nematode-based product to control these nasty nibblers.

Whatever the size of your lawn it is nice to see it looking it's best, so relax and admire your handywork.

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