How To Keep Your Grass Green During A Heatwave
We might adore the long, hot summers but one thing around the house generally isn’t so keen - our lawns! Perfectly green, pristine grass lawns are something a lot of gardeners aspire to. After all, there’s nothing like the look of a beautiful expanse of turf to be a cool oasis, an escape from a busy world, and the ideal summer backdrop to all those garden parties and barbecues we have planned for the season.
Over time, however, hot and dry weather can cause parched, yellowed and thinning grass that looks less than impressive. Believe it or not, grass can actually get stressed by hot weather, leaving you with a lawn that is more patchy than palatial. So how can you best preserve your lawn during a heatwave?
Focus On Lawn Health
A healthy lawn is a resilient lawn. And so the real groundwork begins well before the heatwave season, with a program of regular maintenance to keep turf well watered and nourished around the year. A lawn care service could be an option if you need advice or want someone to help care for your lawn.
If you want someone to care for your lawn then you should look into how much a gardener costs per hour. By taking care to regularly water and feed your grass, and reseed patches that need it, you have the best chance of a strong bed of turf that will withstand hot, sunny, dry patches.
Keep Your Lawn Longer And Cut Regularly
These two things might sound counter-intuitive, but they are definitely building blocks in keeping your grass in great condition. When the weather enters a hot spell, adjust your lawn mower blades to be right to the top, so your grass stays marginally longer.
A longer blade on your strands of grass has the advantage of protecting the soil and slowing down moisture loss. This slows the drying out of grass that spells short-term discoloration and the erosion of topsoil that creates longer-term issues. The benefit of cutting the lawn regularly is that it allows a fine mulch of cut grass blades to cover the surface of the soil, another move to lock in moisture and nutrients when your lawn most needs them.
Keep The Lawn Aerated
If your lawn is consistently dry and overheated due to the summer weather, sometimes it can become hydrophobic. This means that the soil actually starts to repel water, and when you hydrate the lawn, water will run off the topsoil rather than sinking into the ground and getting to the roots of the grass.
You can help by aerating the lawn, which basically means poking holes in it using a garden fork. This channels the water downwards and allows it to reach the root systems of your lawn for better hydration. Regular aeration should always be part of lawn maintenance, as it helps avoid the soil becoming compacted.
Change Your Summer Feeding Program
There are certain products that you should avoid using on the lawn in hot, dry weather. Applying nitrogen, for example, is a big no-no. Dry grass can react badly to it, and it can cause more moisture to be leached out of the ground. Instead, switch to a potassium lawn fertiliser product or avoid applying anything during the driest conditions. Using a liquid lawn feed rather than granular pellets is also recommended during this time.
Use A Specialist Treatment
If your grass is really suffering, and you’re limited on how frequently you can water it - perhaps due to hose pipe restrictions - then using a water conserver treatment is a good idea. Simply to apply, these products help your lawn to use the water it gets more effectively for a better result.
It works to counteract the hydrophobic effect that very dry lawns can develop and prevents the run-off effect. It’s a good one to keep handy if you are expecting a spell of hot weather and to apply as part of your usual lawn care.
Keep Up With Your Watering Regime
Finally, the most important thing you can do to condition and care for your lawn in the summer season is simply to make sure it's regularly watered. Watering deeply and less frequently is actually a better strategy than frequent shallow watering.
This is because making sure the soil is thoroughly wet allows the roots of the grass to better soak up and store moisture to release into the blades over time, giving a fresh, green appearance. Water more often but not as deeply, and you’ll get grass with shallow roots. Early morning is the best time to water your lawn, so try to time it well.
Follow these tips and you’ll soon have a greener, healthier looking lawn for summer - but if it does turn yellow, don’t despair - your grass can be coaxed back to life after the dry spell has ended.