Ever wondered how your neighbour gets such a green healthy lawn all year round, especially in summer when high temperatures and limited water really stress a lawn? Well the answer is pretty simple; a healthy well watered lawn will remain green and strong all year round. It may sound hard to do, but it is not, it’s about routine, and ensuring that what you do, you do effectively.
There are three key steps to a healthy lawn:
Many people think they are saving water by watering for short periods of time (shallow watering) when in fact they are actually wasting water and killing their lawn!
For example there is no point watering your lawn for 5 – 10 minutes every second day, as all this does is discourage the lawns roots from growing deep into the soil, after all why go looking for water deep in the soil if it is sitting in the top layer of soil?
What happens when you water “shallow” is, as the soil heats up during a hot day the top layer of soil dries out first. As this is where the lawns roots are, there is no water for the lawn, so the lawn becomes stressed or dies and looks horrible and brown.
So the best way to ensure you have a well watered lawn is to water it well, an application of 12mm (1/2inch) of water twice a week should be more than adequate for a lawn in a normal soil type. The amount of time it takes to apply 12mm of water to your lawn depends on your sprinkler system. A good way to measure how much water you put on your lawn is to use a rain gauge or a few straight sided containers placed around your lawn ( not directly under the sprinklers) and measure how long it takes to apply 12mm of water.
When to water
The best time of the day to water is early morning before the heat of the day. Watering at night is not a good idea as this encourages fungal diseases to grow in your lawn!
An application of soil wetter every 6 – 8 weeks will ensure that the water you apply gets down to the roots of the lawn and ensures the soil does not become water repellent. The added benefit of using a soil wetter is that it makes any fertiliser or chemical you apply more readily available to the lawn which in turn saves you time and money!
Feed the lawn regularly
Lawns are very fast growing in summer and need food to remain strong and healthy. Regular feeding, not sporadic infrequent feeding is the key to success. As for watering, regular applications of the correct amount of fertiliser will encourage steady growth and will build up the overall strength of the lawn; this will help the lawn resist disease and cope with the stresses of those very hot summer days.
Apply a good quality lawn food at the end of winter / early spring then every 6 – 8 weeks during the growing season. Then just before winter sets in make sure you apply once more, this will ensure the lawn has sufficient food for the for the winter months.
Regular mowing with the catcher on the mower is particularly important; if the lawn is left to grow too long prior to cutting it will suffer stress and look brown and unsightly. How often you mow depends on your lawn and how fast it grows, but typically in summer a lawn should be mown once a week then as required during winter.
Regular mowing encourages strong vigorous growth and discourages the lawn from becoming “thatchy”.
Do not be tempted to take the catcher off your mower, it is important to remove the grass cuttings as if they are left on the lawn they encourage thatch and fungal diseases.
So for a great lawn remember,
- Regular “effective” watering
- Regular feeding
- Regular mowing
are the keys to success!