As UK temperatures soar, Robbie from Premier Lawns shares his top lawn care tips for hot weather.
Lawns play an important role during the summer months. They act as air conditioners, keeping the atmosphere cool and supplying us with life giving oxygen. But to do that to their best ability – they need to be green. The benefits are reduced when your lawn switches to dormant (brown) mode to survive a drought.
This graph shows how the temperature of a lawn compares to other surfaces on a hot day
It’s fascinating to see this scientific research demonstrating how lawn temperatures compare to other garden surfaces on a hot day.
Thankyou to researchgate.net for this image
There are a number of steps you can take to ensure that your lawn stays green for as long as possible in the summer. These start earlier in the year with scarification, aeration and feeding. But if you’ve not managed to complete all of my five steps to a perfect lawn, don’t worry, you can still alter your lawn care regime to make a difference.
*I will link to my “5 steps” video at the end of this article.
Lawn care essentials for hot summers
- Raise the height of your mower blades – longer grass provides shade for the soil
- Avoid leaving toys or furniture on the lawn overnight
- New lawns must never be allowed to dry out
- Established lawns can survive without watering
- If you need your lawn to stay green, deep watering once or twice a week will help (watch my video for advice)
- Apply lawn treatments to boost your lawn’s heat resistance
Mowing your lawn in hot weather
The one thing you can do to really help your lawn stay green during a spell of hot weather is raise the blades of your lawn mower. When your lawn is slightly longer the grass blades will shade the soil and help reduce water loss due to evaporation.
A rather beautiful summer lawn
The length of your grass blades is said to be related to the length of the roots. When your grass is slightly longer, it harvests more energy from the sun and the roots use that energy to reach deep into the soil to reach the groundwater.
For a family lawn, I recommend maintaining it at around 6-10cm long. That sounds a lot but if you mow little and often you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how lush, green and deliciously cool your lawn will look.
When it comes to collecting the clippings during summer, I have a wee saying. “If it’s dry, let them fly”. In other words, provided you are only reducing the height of your lawn by one centimetre or less (NEVER remove more than ¼ of the length during hot weather) it’s OK to leave the grass box off. The tiny clippings will soon disperse and help to mulch the soil. If you are seeing big ugly lumps of clippings on the lawn, pop the grass box back on, the clippings will do more harm than good.
Move lawn toys and debris regularly
During hot weather, it’s crucial that your lawn has good ventilation. Air flowing around the grass blades will allow the plants to transpire. Transpiration is the horticultural equivalent of perspiration. It’s the plants’ natural cooling mechanism. Block it and the grass will literally cook itself.
Picnic rugs, paddling pools and even dog toys left on the lawn for any length of time can disrupt the plants natural cooling mechanism. Make it a habit to tidy up at the end of each day and try to put items back in a different place next time you use them.
On a similar note, it pays to change your route across the lawn regularly. That way you’ll avoid creating bare patches. Find a different spot every day for your afternoon tea every day. If you have children with goal posts on the lawn – move the goal posts a couple of times a week to give the grass a rest.
Watering your lawn in hot weather
I’m often asked about whether or not lawns should be watered in summer.
If your lawn is less than 12 months old, I strongly recommend keeping it well watered. Certainly newly laid turf (less than 3 months old) should never be allowed to dry out. The young root systems will still be working their way into the soil and may not be deep enough to access any water stored deep in the ground.
Mature lawns can survive perfectly well without watering. If the weather is hot AND dry, your lawn may change colour and take on a straw like texture and honey coloured hue but this is their survival mechanism. As soon as the rain returns they’ll green up again.
Having said that, to keep your lawn looking green and acting as an air conditioner during hot weather, careful watering is key.
Irrigate early morning and/or late evening to minimise evaporation. But more importantly, make sure that you use enough water to really sink deep into the soil. A quick sprinkle to settle the dust is a waste of good water.
When you give your lawn a good soaking the water will reach down to the roots where it can do some good. Deep watering like this also encourages deep root growth and makes the plants more independent in the future.
A good soaking once or twice a week is just the ticket.
Watch my lawn watering video for a full explanation and to find out how much water to put onto your lawn.
Summer lawn treatments
Growing and maintaining a beautiful lawn is all about keeping the grass plants in optimum health all year round. Just like us, health is heavily influenced by what’s happening around us and how well we are hydrated and nourished. A person whose metabolism is working well can adapt to almost any situation – hot, humid, busy or relaxed.
Ensuring that your lawn is well fed and the soil beneath it is in good condition will help it to stay healthy. And when your lawn is healthy, it will look good and also help you to feel good.
Lawns work hard during the summer. Not only are they subjected to some challenging weather conditions, they are used and enjoyed by countless pairs of feet. To help them cope I like to give my lawns a really good feed during the summer months. When the weather has been particularly hot, dry or changeable I also recommend a seaweed treatment to boost the plants’ metabolism.
If in doubt – seek professional health
It is normal for an established lawn to turn brown during a long period of drought but if you are at all worried about the health of your lawn, it’s wise to seek professional help.
Premier Lawns is owned by YouTube sensation Robbie Lynn and covers Belfast and the surrounding area. Robbie is always happy to advise people on lawn health and lawn care and offers a range of treatments to make your lawn look spectacular all year round.
If you have any worries – or if you just want your lawn to look better –Click here for Robbie’s contact details