How to adapt your lawn care regime for a summer heatwave.
Caring for your lawn in a heatwave is a wee bit different to your usual summer lawn care regime. Left to their own devices, grass plants know exactly how to protect themselves against dehydration and searing hot temperatures. The trouble is, human intervention can sometimes thwart the way the plants are trying to behave. So here’s how to make that compromise between what you want to enjoy in your garden, and what your lawn needs to do for its own wellbeing.
- Increase the cutting height on your mower – let the grass grow long enough to shade the soil
- Remove the grass box when mowing – use the clippings as mulch
- Keep off the grass as much as possible to avoid stressing the plants
- Ensure really good ventilation by moving toys and furniture around the lawn during the day and removing them altogether when you are not using them.
- Decide whether you will water your lawn, or whether you can live with it being less green for a week or two.
- If you do decide to water your lawn, be Waterwise. More tips later.
- Apply liquid lawn treatments regularly to help the plants cope with drought.
- Enjoy your lawn – that’s what it’s there for!
Hot Weather Mowing Tips
We know that mowing is stressful for lawn grasses. Mother Nature designed grasses to grow long, set seed, recover nutrients from the leaves as they dry and then start growing again. As lawn lovers, we are constantly interrupting that process. Now I don’t know about you, but when I’m constantly interrupts me when I’m trying to get on with something – I sometimes get a wee bit stressed.
In hot weather, the grass is already under pressure to keep healthy before you or I come along and mow off the leaves that are shading the ground and keeping the roots cool. So, if we want our lawns to cope with a heatwave, we need to be a bit sympathetic with our mowing regime. Either that, or we have to try to mimic a different set of weather conditions. More on that later.
If your grass isn’t growing much because of the heat, then don’t mow it. Simples. Why would you want to be stressing your own body with physical work in a heatwave anyway? Its not good for you and it’s not great for the grass either. Have an ice cream instead.
Can’t resist mowing? Raise the cutter bar so that you can maintain the lawn at a slightly longer length for the duration of the heatwave. And if possible, do your mowing in the evening time to reduce the risk of the plants losing water to evaporation through the open wounds created by cutting.
It helps if you can take the grass collecting box of your mower in hot weather. Returning the clippings to the soil acts as a mulch with helps to reduce moisture loss.
To Water The Lawn Or Not To Water The Lawn – That Is The Question
Lawn grasses know exactly how to cope with dry weather. They avoid losing water through their leaves, by losing their leaves. That’s not strictly accurate, the leaves stay on the plant, but they become dormant. To you and me, they look dead, but trust me, the roots underneath are very much alive.
If you are happy for your lawn to lose its colour in the summer months then do nothing. It will recover as soon as we get a really good shower of rain and will be none the worse for the experience. Water is such a precious resource that the less of it we can use in the garden, the better it is for the environment. After all, a good proportion of the water you pour onto the soil will evaporate immediately and fly straight up into the sky before it can benefit the plants.
On the other hand, if you want your lawn to stay lush, green, soft and springy all through the summer, you will need to water it during heatwave conditions. Unless we have a hosepipe ban inflicted upon us, the choice is entirely yours. Read on for my tips on watering the lawn during a heatwave.
Watering Your Lawn During A Heatwave
So you’ve decided that you WILL water your lawn to keep it nice and green during the heatwave. For the sake of the plants and your water bill, there are ways and means of watering more efficiently.
- Only water if it’s really necessary. If the grass doesn’t spring upright immediately after you’ve stepped on it, it’s probably ready for a drink.
- Irrigate your lawn in the very early morning or in the evening so that there is less risk of the water evaporating in the heat.
- Thoroughly drench the lawn – there’s no sense in giving it a light sprinkle to settle the dust. The water needs to reach the roots. This way you only need to irrigate twice a week.
- Use an empty tuna fish tin to gauge how much water you have added. The video below will explain more.
- Frequent watering will wash plant nutrients out of the soil – replenish them with a suitable lawn feed.
- Regular seaweed treatments will help your grass plants resist the rigours of heat and drought.
Ask A Question About Caring For Your Lawn In A Heatwave
If you have any questions or worries about caring for your lawn in hot weather, head on over to the Premier Lawns Community on Facebook. The experts there will be able to advise you on how best to help your own lawn.
Subscribe to the Premier Lawns YouTube Channel where I regularly post videos about all aspects of lawn care.
Check out my Amazon shop for useful products to help you care for your lawn in a heatwave. The proceeds from your purchase will help me to create more videos and blog posts