Let that greener grass be on your side, with these simple tips
Summertime is full of commotion. Between getting shrubs trimmed, seeds planted out, climbers tied up and the like, it can be easy to overlook your garden’s biggest green space – your lawn. Grass is a hardy and vigorous plant, and can withstand drought, sunshine, waterlogging – the lot. But if it gets bare, dried up and patchy, it can really affect the overall look and feel of your garden.
In the summertime, your lawn can be placed under a lot of stress, so it’s important to give it a little bit of extra TLC. By following a few simple tips, it’s easy to maintain your grassy areas, keeping them green, lush and full – perfect for rolling out the picnic blanket or enjoying a book. Here are my five most important aspects to take care of when you’re treating your lawn throughout the summertime.
Just as you’d fertilise garden plants using a good quality compost packed with nutrients, your grass benefits from a good feed too. In mid- to late spring, use a specific spring or summer lawn fertiliser as instructed on the packaging, when the soil is moist or when rain is expected. Chicken manure pellets are a great natural alternative to chemical lawn feeds. You can also feed your lawn later on in the summer, around August time, if it starts to look lacklustre. Make sure you follow packaging instructions and recommended timings, to avoid scorching your lawn.
This one takes a bit of forethought and preparation, as September or late spring are the best times to overseed your lawn. By adding extra grass seed to any bare, brown spots on your lawn, you’ll be able to keep its surface looking full and fresh to enjoy over the summer. I made an informative video with Silverline Tools that lays out some easy ways to treat bare patches on your lawn – watch it here.
Just like getting a haircut to trim off split ends, mowing your lawn is essential in keeping it healthy and vigorous. Make sure the blades of your mower are nice and sharp, to avoid tearing the ends of the grass blades and making them susceptible to infection. During warmer months, it’s important to adjust the mower to cut at a greater height, as longer grass shades the soil below and helps retain moisture. When you’re mowing at height, it’s a good idea to just leave the clippings on the lawn – they act as a natural fertiliser as they break down. Can’t say fairer than that!
You don’t necessarily need to water your lawn over summer, as grass is so hardy, but you may notice it looking a bit sad. If you feel a good watering is necessary, wait until the soil is dry but the grass blades have not yet turned dry and yellow. If the ground is really hard, spike it through with a fork a few times before you water, which will help the water to penetrate. It’s important to try to save water in your garden, and I’ve written an article letting you know some tips here.
Weeds can be a concern in any area of the garden, and it’s up to you to decide the level of weed growth you’re happy to tolerate. One person’s weedy wasteland is another’s wildflower meadow! Using weedkillers and pesticides may seem like the easiest and quickest option for treating any unwelcome growth. However, it’s important to weigh up the benefits and disadvantages of using chemicals. To start with, consider non-chemical methods like digging the weeds out, or aerating and feeding your lawn so that it grows more vigorously. This will limit weeds’ access to nutrients. Of course, the type of treatment will depend on the severity and the type of weeds you’re dealing with – this RHS article goes into some really helpful detail.