Regardless of the type of lawn you have, they all take a beating under the blistering Australian sun. But just because it’s blazing outside, doesn’t mean your lawn has to dry up into a dusty, brown mess. In fact, while you might not be able to water it as regularly as you like due to council water restrictions, there are several water-saving precautions you can take to help give your lawn the best chance.
Thatch is fallen, decaying plant matter, such as leaves from any deciduous trees or flower petals blown off in the wind, and it can build up pretty quickly if you don’t monitor it. It can block the sun from reaching the grass and soak up water, taking it away from your lawn’s roots where it’s most needed. Raking up any thatch lying about your grass can also help your plant thrive during Winter and give it the best chances of recovering come the following Summer. Removing thatch should be done in conjunction with aeration.
Aeration is the process of piercing the dirt beneath your lawn with small holes to allow the roots to breathe and allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate those roots directly. This can help your lawn roots grow deeper, which promotes stronger, healthier lawn growth. The main reason that many gardeners aerate their lawn is to counteract any compacted soils that may have developed due to heavy use. We suggest renting an aeration tool, as purchasing one can be quite costly and isn’t necessary for the standard suburban backyard.
Not all fertilisers are created equally and not every fertiliser will be right for your type of lawn. If you’re not sure what kind of lawn you have, ask a gardener or take a sample to your closest lawn supplier to help identify it and seek advice on which fertiliser will help it thrive. It’s best to only fertilise twice a year, during peak growth season, and not in the height of the summer heat, as this will create any benefits to your lawn.
The longer the shoot, the more drought-tolerant the grass, so raise your lawn-mower blade in Summer to give it a chance to grow deeper roots and shade the earth beneath, which in turn will discourage weed-growth. Sharpening your mower blades can also help, as a sharper cut will reduce the stress on your grass on hot days. You might even consider mulching your grass clippings during this time to encourage steady moisture levels.
Summer is prime time for pests to be on the prowl across your lawn. Insects such as chinch bugs, army worms, fire ants and mosquitoes are all on the prowl for new homes and if your lawn is dormant or drought-stressed, you put it at risk of becoming the bugs’ ultimate Summer vacation pad. Hit them where it hurts with lawn-friendly insect killer and avoid lawn damage before it happens.
This one has probably already been drilled into you by your local council, but it’s worth repeating, because lawn that is watered in the cool morning air retains the vast amount of moisture, which you would otherwise lose to evaporation during the middle of the day. So set your sprinklers to wake up before you do and get the most out of your lawn this Summer.