From May through to September we should start to see warmer dryer weather – the soil will still be moist in May but will start to dry out as we get further into summer. This time of year grasses will now be growing vigorously and weeds too but a dry spell will slow the growth down. Some of you will also notice unsightly annual meadow grass clumps appearing in your lawn, this will have been caused by seed from birds germinating in bare patches or in worm casts from spring (see tips below on how to control this). Cutting height and irrigation will play a big part in maintaining a lush healthy looking lawn throughout the summer, reading and performing the tips below will help you accomplish this.
Grass Cutting Height – Lowering the mower blades to cut at 1″ on a utility lawn can now be done. Increase your mowing to twice a week from may on-wards. Raking the lawn gently to lift up flowering shoots of meadow grass should be done before cutting. If meadow grass is not a big problem leaving the grass clippings on the surface in a very dry summer will help stop your lawn from drying out.
Cutting your grass too short (scalping) will damage a lawn and could also encourage moss in the autumn.
Weeds – These lawn weeds can be controlled with a selective herbicide but this will always depend on the weather. Summer is a great time to control weeds as they will be growing vigorously in the warmer weather.
Contact Lawn Therapy and we can help advise and deal with this problem.
Meadow Grass – Also known as Poa annua is a small native weed grass that seeds freely, even when turf is mown very close. Although it is usually an annual (living for one year only), there are strains which can be biennial (living for two years), or even perennial (living indefinitely).
Flowering heads can occur below the cutting height so raking before mowing will help lift these stems. Control is difficult but encouraging the finer grasses to grow by means of the correct fertiliser will limit the space for meadow grass to germinate and seed.
Meadow grass is also shallow rooting so aerating the lawn to increase surface drainage will weaken it and will also encourage the finer more desirable grasses roots to grow deeper. If infestation is extensive, control is much more difficult so avoid frequent watering in dry summers, as meadow grass is shallow-rooting and will be discouraged by drought.
Small areas of Meadow grass can be cut out using a sharp knife making sure you remove all the root then re-seeding should take place. Larger areas can be forked out in September and October back filled to level the lawn and then also re-seeded.
Lawn Moss – Although moss is not a big problem in the summer understanding why it accurs can help minimise it later on in the year. Lawn moss can be caused my many factors and minimising the conditions that moss likes to thrive in will help reduce the moss in your lawn.Cutting back trees and shrubs to help light and air get you your grass will help dry out the surface of your lawn and thus help reduce moss.Waterlogged lawns have poor drainage, this can also cause moss, aerating your lawn will help increase surface drainage and will also encourage grass roots to grow deeper.
Top dressing your lawn in spring and summer can also help increase surface drainage, thus minimising the conditions that moss like to thrive in, this will also help increase the fertility of the soil.
Scalping your lawn in the summer and autumn can also encourage moss to grow.
Underfeeding your lawn can also be a cause.
Removing the causes of lawn moss will result in the slow disappearance of the problem and the prevention of its return.
To speed up this process Lawn Therapy can apply a moss treatment to your lawn in spring or autumn and then after the moss has turned black 10-15 days later come back and scarify your lawn to remove the dead moss. Overseeding or lawn seeding should also take place now to thicken up bare batches of grass.
Watering & Dry spells- There are no exact rules to watering but a simple guide is water your lawn once a week under normal dry conditions and increase this to twice a week in abnormally hot weather.
Try to do this early morning or evening to reduce evaporation but change this to watering only in the morning nearer to autumn enabling your lawn to dry out a little towards the end of the day preventing moss growth.
During dry spells leaving the grass collection box off when you mow and leaving the clippings on the lawns surface can help keep the moisture in your lawn.
Dry Patch or Hydrophobic Dry Patch – During periods of dry weather a fungus builds up around the soil particles and will have an effect of repelling the water droplets in the soil. A severe case of dry patch will result in the soil almost being unable to absorb water and any rain will run across the surface of the soil like rain on a glass plate. The grass suffers as moisture is not reaching down to the roots. Aerating your soil by spiking or hollow tine aeration combined with an application of a wetting agent to tackle the fungal disease will improve the water absorption properties of the soil and benefit the grass. Dry patch is an increasing problem in our dry windy summers. Lawn Therapy can apply wetting agents along side our four seasonal treatments to help prevent lawns from drying out and help grass make the most of available moisture.
Lawn Therapy’s service is quick, affordable and highly effective. Call us today and you can also take advantage of our free Lawn Care Survey (or visit our contact us page). Lawn Therapy also offer additional lawn care services which your lawn may benefit from. These include scarification, aeration, overseeding, top dressing, Lawn Re-Turfing, garden pest control, grass disease control and Moss Control.