As we enter the beginning of the warmer days of summer, we can see our grass beginning to grow in earnest. After a long dormant winter, it's time to give it a little boost and attention.
We have compiled Summer Lawn Tips to help you get the most out of your lawn this summer.
1. Remove Thatch from the lawn
What it does: Thatch is an unwanted accumulated debris which sits between the soil and grass blades. Over time thatch will block sunlight, water and nutrients from getting to the soil below, thereby limiting, healthy growth.
How to do it: If you have a thick layer of thatch on the soil, it will be spongy to walk on. To remove a thick layer of thatch, it would be best to de-thatch first and then scarify. To de-hatch, use a de-thatching hand rake to remove old material. It’s best practice to mow the lawn first, then rake in one direction and once the thatch is loosened, you can use a leaf rake to collect the loose thatch from the lawn. De-thatching should only be carried out during the growing season.
2. Aerate Your Lawn
What it does: Aerating puts tiny little holes in the soil, allowing water, air and nutrients to efficiently reach grass roots. Allowing these nutrients to easily enter the soil creates a healthier, greener and more vibrant lawn.
How to aerate: First mow your lawn. Then wait for the next shower of rain and when the soil is wet this is the easiest time to aerate your lawn. Choose your tool of choice, a pitch fork or you might prefer to use a rolling lawn aerator. Push the tines down at least 6 inches into the soil and try to cover areas in straight lines so you don’t loose track and miss out on a patch.
4. Lime Your Lawn to Balance Acidity
What it does: The acidity levels of your soil affects how successfully grass grows. If your lawn is not thriving and fertiliser isn’t helping, your soil may well be too acidic. Spreading lime on the soil will restore the soil to the optimum pH level, between 6 and 7.
How to do it: You can purchase a PH testing kit in your local garden centre. If your soil falls below the recommended pH levels try adding some lime to your lawn. A a rotary spreader is very useful to spread the lime in a crisscross pattern onto your grass. Recommended application time is Spring and / or Autumn
Step 2 – Remove Moss, Weeds and feed your lawn
In late Spring / early Summer, it's time to feed your lawn. The type of lawn feed you use depends very much on the types of challenges your lawn is experiencing. Consider the following situations;
Moss on the lawn: Moss flourishes in wet, shaded area’s of the lawn. This makes late spring & early summer the perfect time for clearing moss infestations through scarification, de-thatching and treatments. However, if you have a persistent problem with moss on your lawn, it would be beneficial to treat and feed your lawn with a product that controls moss. Moss master is a recommended treatment for moss, it is rich in organic matter & slow release nutrients to feed your lawn. It will naturally digest moss and convert it into organic lawn feed. Moss master is also safe for children, pets and wildlife and will feed your lawn for up to 3 months. Lawn Sand is another tried and tested option for controlling moss, it will toughen the grass against diseases, increasing its immunity power, creating a greener lawn. Lawn sand is effective for killing existing moss, however, it won’t resolve a persistent moss problem. A useful added benefit of lawn sand is that it will help aid with drainage, helping water move through the soil more quickly.
Persistent moss & weeds on the lawn; The longer days of Spring and Summer will also bring with them the appearance and vigorous growth of weeds on the lawn. To control weeds and moss, a recommended treatment would be Westland Aftercut all in one lawn feed. This is an ideal treatment to use, it will fertilise the lawn and control weed and moss problems. It is an effective all rounder, removing problem weeds while feeding at the same time.
Neudorf Organic Clean Lawn is also a very good solution for clearing moss and weed infestations from your grass. It consists of 100% organic ingredients and naturally occurring micro-organisms which build strong and health roots in plants. It also includes a natural fertiliser which improves the soil & increases the surface area of the roots, resulting in dense and strong growth, thereby choking out weeds in a natural way.
Step 4 – Over-seed To Patch Up Gaps
Poor drainage or lots of traffic can cause lawns to become patchy and sparse over the winter months. Also, if you’ve removed a large amount of moss and weeds it’s likely there’ll be a few gaps in need of filling in. To fix these unwanted bare patches, loosen up the surface soil with a spade and then rake to make a reasonably level surface before spreading the grass seed. Spread the seed onto the patch and rake the area thereby settling the seeds onto the surface of the soil. If the weather is dry up to 2-3 days after sowing, then water gently with a sprinkler and the grass should begin to appear after about 10 days. A product we would recommend for overseeing patches of lawn is Smart Patch Repair. It contains 4 ingredients to optimise success of germination; water retaining granules to retain moisture, salt & ammonia neutraliser which repairs pet urine damage, aqua coated gel seeds to maximise germination and premium seed sowing granules.
Step 5 - Cutting your lawn
For grass cutting there is an important golden rule - the one third rule. The one third rule is about how much grass you take off every time you mow so its important to know the blade height at which you cut your grass. In summer time, keep your lawn mower at the highest recommended setting, the longer the grass, the more water it will retain and the more shade it will provide to the roots.
How to measure the height of your cut.
Take a take measure or a ruler and push it down into the grass and this will measure the height of the grass
Cut a section of your grass and measure it again and you will be able to tell what height the mower cuts at different settings
If your grass is for example 6 cm long, never remove more than a third of a blade of grass, or in this case, more than 2cm. The amount of energy a plant can produce is directly related to the surface area of the leaf. The purpose of a leaf of grass is to store and make energy. Grass is green because the cells contain chlorophyll which enables the plant to carry out photosynthesis. When you cut your grass, the plant cells loses its supply to generate calories, you are effectively putting the plant on a diet. By sticking to the one third rule you are avoiding that diet situation where the plants get weaker. Instead you're only reducing the plants calorie intake by a manageable amount.
Feel free to contact our garden centre in Cork for any gardening advice and tips on 021 4888134. We will be happy to assist you!