Maintaining a garden in the warm summer months can be challenging at the best of times, but while the nation enjoys its second heatwave of the year, plants are feeling the brunt of it. Grass, in particular, will be feeling the pressure. The reduction in rainfall and warmer conditions combined with more foot traffic can put a lot of stress on the blades.
While grass tends to typically be one of the more robust plants in the garden, it will always need a bit more TLC in the summer.
Hot weather causes grass to lose water through its leaves in a process called transpiration.
The transpiration process helps cool the plant down, and it’s great for us, as it’s what gives grass that cold feeling when you sit down on it on a hot day.
However as the water exits the leaves, it can dehydrate the plant if not replaced. As rainfall declines during the summer months, your lawn needs a little bit of help to stay adequately hydrated.
Cass Heaphy from Paving Direct said: “There is nothing worse than your lush green grass turning into scorched, yellow straw.
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“Although hot weather in the UK may not come about often, when it does occur, many make the same common mistakes while taking care of the lawn.”
Ms Heaphy reveals six mistakes you might be making, and how to reverse them.
1. Not keeping your lawn healthy all year round
If you want to protect your grass throughout summer, the work actually begins in Winter.
Ms Heaphy said: “Healthy grass with deep roots is much more resistant to warm weather due to being able to reserve more water.
“Therefore, the best way to keep your lawn healthy in the summer heat is to make sure it is well-maintained in winter.”
You can do this through a number of means, like letting your grass grow longer during this period, sweeping up fallen leaves and debris, and aerating it frequently.
2. Cutting your grass during the day
As mentioned, hot spells tend to put your grass under a lot more stress.
A good way to alleviate this is to watch what time you mow it.
Ms Heaphy said: “Avoid mowing the lawn during the hottest times of the day, which tends to be from midday onwards.
“If you have to cut your grass, try and do it when the weather is slightly cooler, either first thing in the morning or later in the evening after sunset.”
3. Cutting your grass too short in summer
Although a short, well-mowed lawn might look a lot neater – especially while spending more time hosting on it, you may be tempted to regularly cut in summer.
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However, it’s key to ensure you don’t cut the grass too short, Ms Heaphy said.
Ms Heaphy said: “In summer, you should raise the blades on your lawn mower to the top.”
This way, the longer grass will help protect the soil from the sun and will in turn, hold in more moisture.
Ms Heaphy said: “The more moisture in your grass the less likely it is to dry out, keeping it nice and green.”
4. Watering at the wrong time of the day
To ensure your grass has enough moisture, watering your grass is naturally key during hotter conditions.
Ms Heaphy said: “You should avoid watering your grass when the temperature is at its highest, as this will lead to the water evaporating. Instead water deeply in the early mornings.”
That being said, make sure you’re not overwatering the grass as this can lead to the ground becoming waterlogged, reducing the amount of oxygen getting to the roots.
Ms Heaphy said: “Thoroughly wetting the soil once or twice a week will help your grass grow strong roots and help stop it drying out.
“The amount of water you need to give your grass will differ depending on the type of soil and even water type (soft or hard), so it is best to find this out first to avoid any damage.
“But, the majority of the time this will be around two to three cm.”
6. Not keeping your grass shaded
In summer, you might notice that your grass grows a lot quicker and stays greener when hidden underneath garden furniture.
UK grass struggles a lot more in the heat, so providing some shade for it to escape the hottest parts of the day will help it stay healthy and relieve some of the stress caused by the sun.
Ms Heaphy said: “Perhaps move your table and chairs around your garden to avoid one particular part of your grass growing more than others.”