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Caring for your lawn (when the weather is hot!)

Lawns do a lot for us apart from looking cool, green, and attractive - particularly in the summer months. They act as a sort of air conditioner, helping to keep the atmosphere cool and also giving us a supply of oxygen. But in order to accomplish that, they ideally need to be green and not brown!

Of course, keeping your grass maintained all year round is a very good start to helping it get through the summer, as a healthy lawn is much more able to cope with hot temperatures - healthy blades of grass and deep roots are more likely to keep a reserve of water. So regular maintenance throughout the year is key.

Here are some extra tips for keeping your lawn looking great when it’s hot outside:

  • Raising the height of your lawn mower’s blades is one thing you can do that will help your grass stay greener. Having longer grass will mean that the soil will get more shade, and this in turn will help lessen water loss from evaporation.

  • The best time to water your garden is in the morning before 9.00 a.m. This allows the water time to soak into soil before it has a chance to get evaporated. Whatever you do, don’t water on a hot sunny afternoon - the water will evaporate quickly before it has a chance to reach the grass’s roots, and is a waste of good water.

  • Young lawns in particular, say less than 12 months old, should be kept well watered. And certainly if you’ve got newly laid turf, say less than 3 months old, it is imperative that it is never allowed to dry out. As the young roots are still growing into the soil, they may not be quite deep enough to get at the water stored deeper in the ground. More well established lawns can better stand not being watered as frequently.

  • One good tip to keeping your lawn green is to water well and deeply, ideally every two or three days. By giving your lawn a good soaking, the water will reach down to the roots where it will do the most good, making them strong. Watering the lawn more regularly but more shallowly will actually have an opposite effect.

You want to avoid this!

  • If the lawn has been allowed to become too dry, the soil can actually repel water - it will just run off instead of soaking in. In order to help get water (and air) down to the roots, spiking the lawn will give it access.

  • If you have an area of lawn in direct sunlight that is starting to dry out and turn brown, give it some shade - put up a large umbrella or something similar.

  • When it’s hot out, don’t leave anything lying around on your lawn for any length of time - e.g. remove any items such as paddling pools, sunbathing mats or towels, or any children’s toys. Especially make sure you remove them at the end of the day (and if you bring them out again the following day, put them in different places.) This is so that the lawn has a chance to get well ventilated, and the air can flow around the blades of grass which will enable them to transpire. (Transpiration is the plants’ equivalent of perspiration - it’s the method by which they cool themselves.)

But don’t worry too much if in a heatwave you find your grass starting to go brown. Grass is pretty resilient and - especially if you’ve been regularly maintaining it up to now - should happily bounce back again once normal English weather reasserts itself, i.e. plenty of rain!

Written by Leslie Chetland

August 2022

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