Summer heatwaves – when temperatures reach into the thirties and above – will take a major toll on your garden, and even your beautifully maintained lawn. While you can hide indoors with the air conditioning on, your turf is stuck outside in the blistering heat, subject to the vicissitudes of the elements.
The summer months in Australia make it more difficult to keep to your regular property maintenance jobs, and your lawn can show signs of stress very quickly as the mercury rises. Fortunately, there is a range of things you can do to keep your grass green, whatever the weather. Here are seven of our best lawn care tips:
- Know when to water. If you’ve kept your turf well maintained throughout the year, the good news is that it will need less water than you think during a heatwave. Regular watering allows grass to develop a strong root system that captures water more efficiently.
- But don’t flood your lawn. However, it’s important to understand how to tell when your lawn needs a drink – thirsty grass tends to look dull, and you might notice individual blades starting to curl.
- Water in the AM. Water during the early hours of the morning when evaporation is at its most minimal and the plant has more time to take advantage of the morning sun for photosynthesis. Night time watering facilitates plant diseases as the earth can get over-saturated.
- Give it some extra juice. A good dose of lawn fertiliser is a great way to ensure it has all the nutrients it needs to survive the summer heat. Apply liberally during spring and autumn to set your turf up for a long season of sunshine.
- Add air as well as water. Aerating your lawn gives it more chance to grow strong and sure. Use your garden fork to make holes approximately every 15 centimetres so that it can absorb water better and have everything it needs to thrive and survive.
- Opt for longer grass. Your lawn will benefit from a regular mow during the summer months, but it's best to set your mower blade higher to allow the grass to grow longer. Cut your lawn mowing by half if the weather is unusually warm – once a week should be enough to keep it looking neat without stressing it. Shorter grass blades reduce the energy available for healthy growth – letting your grass grow fosters stronger roots. You should aim to reduce up to one-third of blade growth at any one time.
- Weed manually. Weed killers can make your lawn less hardy so if you start seeing unwanted plants popping up in your turf. Consider pulling out the weeds by hand instead, or with the help of a fork or Grandpa weeder. If you notice lawn pests like chafer grubs (or that the birds are taking a more significant interest in your turf than usual), use natural nematodes (ask your local nursery) to cut down on their numbers rather than toxic chemicals.
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