5 easy tips to get your summer lawn back in shape: How to bring your lawn back to life in summer
A lush green lawn is a great asset, especially in summer when we want to be outdoors sharing our garden with family and friends. Green lawns help to reduce outdoor temperatures as they don’t absorb and hold heat as do hard surfaces such as paving. A lush lawn also provides a comfortable, safe space for children and pets to play. Another benefit of a well-kept green lawn is that it can act as a fire retardant in fire-prone areas.
Our easy lawn care tips will get your summer lawn in good shape and keep it looking good through the months ahead.
Our top 5 tips for the perfect summer lawn
1. Feed after spring rain
Lawns need fertiliser to feed the strong growth brought on by warming conditions. The best time to apply lawn food is after rain when the soil is moist. Applying lawn food to dry soil or when conditions are very hot can cause damage. Slow-release lawn foods such as Scotts Lawn Builder or Amgrow Buffalo Lawn Fertiliser tend to release nutrients over many months as the grass grows, so are a good choice for the greenest summer lawn. They're also great for promoting stronger root growth which will help your lawn survive a hotter, drier summer. Follow the recommended application rates on the bag, and for large areas, use a lawn spreader for even application. Feed again in summer and autumn.
2. Water regularly
Regular bouts of soaking rain help keep the lawn in good shape, but if dry conditions return, it is important to water the lawn to keep it green and growing (adhering to Level 1 Sydney water restrictions). Use a compliant watering system on a timer for best results. Position the watering system to avoid wasting water on hard surfaces. If the soil is water-repellent, water from irrigation or rain may pool on the surface and not soak in so the soil stays dry beneath the surface. If water isn’t soaking in, use a soil wetting product such as Wettasoil to improve soil conditions. A perfectly watered summer lawn should look beautifully lush and green.
3. Understand what the weeds tell you
A weedy lawn is often a sign of soil problems, weak growth or poor mowing practices. As well as hand-weeding or applying a weed and feed product (such as Scotts Lawn Builder Weed Feed & Green Up or Amgrow Buffalo Lawn Weeder), consider aerating the lawn to relieve soil compaction. Soil compaction makes it difficult for grass to grow, but often weeds such as bindii thrive in these conditions. Once you've removed the weeds and eased compaction, oversow bare patches with lawn seed or replant the bare areas with runners from healthy areas. Water new plantings so they become well-established, and avoid walking or playing on new lawns.
4. Mow little but often
The worst thing to do if you want a great-looking summer lawn is to mow so the dust flies. Removing too much leaf blade by mowing too close is called ‘scalping’. For a healthy lawn, raise the mower blades to leave length on the lawn especially during the hot weather. The recommended mown height for running lawns such as Buffalo is 35-65mm, with longer better. At the end of the day, lawn grass is just a plant like any other – it needs its green leaves to make food so it can grow and thrive. If it has been scalped, not only is your lawn unable to feed itself, the root area is also exposed to the heat. Bare patches that appear will be colonised by weeds, and the condition of the lawn will deteriorate. An uneven lawn surface can also be tricky to mow. Top dressing can help even out lawn levels and make mowing easier.
5. Avoid making tracks
Lawns can become worn by heavy foot traffic, parking, or leaving the kids' big toys – especially the trampoline – in one position. If there are worn tracks or patches, consider putting in a path or replacing a patch of lawn with paving for a seating area. Don’t park cars or heavy equipment on the lawn – if you do, the lawn will suffer. If possible, move the kids' play equipment around periodically to avoid heavy wear in a single area.