Monthly lawn and turfcare information
These monthly bulletins aim to provide helpful information on lawn and turfcare, as a handy reference point for articles.
How often you need to mow in July is very much dependent on growth, which may seem obvious but heavy June rainfall will have had bearing depending on your location. Caring for the established lawn in July is usually similar to June with regular mowing but if it's hot and dry you don't want to cut too low as this can damage the grass. Hot and dry may also mean the ground has become compacted so before irrigating heavily, and infrequently, it's worth spiking so the water can penetrate more deeply which will encourage the roots to push their way down. The demand for oxygen by the grass and soil microbes is high at this time of the year so spiking with a garden fork will help aerate and keep down thatch. If the lawn area is extensive then an aerator or aerating attachment for the garden tractor will be needed. A lawn that's looking thin and weak may benefit from a light dressing of fertiliser or a turf conditioner and certainly when the effects of drought are visible, dull and brown grass, thorough irrigation is called for.
Turf grass comprises over 85% water so it needs irrigation to replenish, strengthen it and 'green it up'. Watering is essential for seed germination, cooling the plant and helping to prevent dry patch while pushing fertiliser granules into the turf and converting it for the plant to take it up. That said, continuous watering can also have a damaging effect and lead to disease, hence the rule of irrigating thoroughly once or at most twice a week. Professional groundsmen will have the benefit of being able to measure moisture loss but this is not practical for the home owner so vigilance is key. All too often light, infrequent watering is applied which only serves to encourage roots to stay near the surface. Heavy, infrequent applications will encourage a deep, extensive root system and a slight water deficiency, that is, letting the surface dry out causing a degree of stress to the plant also benefits rooting. Deeper root growth will produce a more drought resistant plant.
Some hand weeding may be necessary around this time, with the aid of a hand fork where the weeds are stubborn, to prevent weeds from seeding and returning next year. Ant nests can be an unsightly nuisance in mid-summer onwards and they create an ideal seed bed for weeds and moss. Brushing out the anthill, spreading it across the grass, will also expose the nest which can then be treated if desired with a proprietary ant killer.
The lawn will benefit from a summer feed and organic fertilisers are made from a wide variety of naturally occurring organic materials which release their nutrients after different periods of time. It's particularly important to strike the right balance when feeding at his time of the year. Viano Universal Lawn Feed has effective ingredients of nitrogen, phosphate and potash + magnesium (7-5-8 +3) and is ideal for keeping the lawn healthy and green, actively working over a twelve week period. Where the lawn is stressed due to drought, Viano Recovery is an organic fertiliser with effective ingredients mixed with Humifrist which acts as a plant growth stimulant. If moss persists Viano's MO Bacter has the answer to eliminating it without blackening the grass and used in late summer or early autumn will stifle moss development in winter.
Viano products can be purchased from the Pitchcare shop.