In the summer, the lawn goes through a hard time. Heat, drought and daily use demand the utmost from the turf. With these tips, you can keep your lawn in top condition throughout the summer.
The art of mowing
To keep your lawn healthy, it is better to cut the grass more often and higher. Short-cut grass dries out more quickly in the sun and moss is more likely to grow in shaded areas. A rule of thumb: do not cut more than a third of the length. An ornamental lawn can be cut shorter than a lawn that is walked and played on. For an intensively used lawn, it is best to set the cutting height at 4 cm and in really warm periods at 6 cm.
A few more mowing tips:
- Do not mow in the heat of the day. Especially with summer temperatures, it is better to wait until it has cooled down a bit.
- Clean your lawn mower after every mowing and keep the blades sharp. Blunt and dirty mowers damage the grass, making it more susceptible to dehydration and disease.
- Mow, only if possible, in dry weather. Mowing wet grass is more difficult and taxing for your mower.
Tip: Avoid always pushing the blades of grass in the same direction by mowing in a different direction.
The right mower for your lawn
The different types of lawn mowers each have their advantages and disadvantages.
A reel mower cuts the grass between two blades, which gives a nice, sleek result. However, it struggles with long grass, so you will have to mow regularly with this type.
A rotary mower cuts the grass with a single fast-spinning blade. This is a coarser method than the reel mower and the result is somewhat frayed. If your lawn has an uneven surface, it is easier to work with a rotary mower than with a reel mower.
A robotic lawnmower is the ultimate in luxury and convenience. It mows the lawn while you watch from your easy chair. A disadvantage is the hefty price it comes with.
You can also choose not to drain the clippings, but leave them as food for the lawn. In that case, you need a mower with a mulching function which shreds the grass very finely.
And then there is the choice for the type of drive of your lawn mower. You can read more about this in A gasoline lawn mower, an electric mower with cord or a cordless lawn mower: which one to choose?
It is best to spray your lawn early in the morning and, unless it is very hot, no more than once a week. But, that one time that you do spray your lawn, it is essential to wet the turf through and through. By doing this, water will sink deep into the soil and the roots of the grass will also reach deeper. A little watering every day has the opposite effect: the roots remain on the surface and the grass will dry out faster. More watering tips can be found in Watering your garden.
A lawn needs not only water but also air. With a scarifier, you keep the soil “breathing”, so that the roots can develop better. Scarifying is also a good way to remove moss. Since it is quite a drastic treatment, you shouldn’t do it too often. Once a year, in the spring or fall, is best.
Nutrients disappear from the grass when mowing. And, a lawn must be well fed to withstand all those summer mowings. That is why it is advisable to fertilize not only in the spring but in June or July as well. It is preferable to use an organic fertilizer with a slow effect since in the summer, you want to keep the grass healthy but also not allow it to grow too fast.
In a well-maintained, dense turf, weeds are less likely. But, you can never completely avoid them. Unless you want a perfect ornamental lawn, a little weed isn’t such a problem either. You don’t have to fight it every day but remove it as much as possible before the seed can form and spread. Dandelions and thistles, in particular, are persistent infiltrators. You have to pull them out of the ground, taproot and all, with a weed cutter.
You can always sow bare spots in your lawn. Work the bare spots first with the scarifier to remove dead debris and keep the seed well wet until the new grass emerges.
Tip: Playground equipment or swimming pools quickly cause bare spots. Move them regularly to allow the grass to recover.