With Australian summer officially starting tomorrow, warmer – and dryer – days are on the horizon. And while as a nation there’s no doubt that we love balmy climes and sun-drenched days a-plenty, there’s little doubt that scorching temperatures can play havoc with our gardens.
And while the reality is that we don’t have endless hours in the day to keep our lawns hydrated, with some clever gardening tricks and tips, it’s possible to maintain a garden to be proud of throughout the summer season and beyond. So if you want to avoid the onset of a browning, threadbare stretch of turf, and instead have a luscious, green garden to be proud of, here’s how to look after your lawn, in five easy steps.
Get to grips with a rake
The first step towards making your grass look gorgeous is vigorous and frequent raking. Using a rake will not only get rid of fallen leaves, twigs and other debris, but will also strip your lawn of dead and brown patches of grass (also known as thatch to the green fingered among us). Too much thatch will stop water and other nutrients from reaching the roots of the grass, and subsequently removing it will allow more light through to new shoots.
One of the most effective ways of looking after your lawn and keeping it looking fresh is to fertilise it. And while the best time to feed it is in spring in order to have a good looking and healthy lawn during the hotter summer months, if you haven’t already gotten around to fertilising your lawn, it’s better late than never. Fertilising your garden will provide it with much-needed nutrients that are necessary to reinvigorate the lawn, but be sure to rid your garden of weeds first, otherwise you’ll be encouraging weed growth as well. If you can’t get rid of the weeds yourself invest in a fertiliser with a built-in weedkiller. Be sure to apply the fertiliser evenly to avoid burning the grass and always remember to water the fertiliser in after applying it to your lawn.
It’s a sad fact of life that weeds comes with the territory of having a garden, and anyone with a lawn will know that if you don’t pay due diligence when it comes to upkeeping your garden, weeds can quickly take over. The best way to deal with weeds is to pull them out as soon as you notice them. Pull out weeds as you notice them coming in. The sparser the area, the more likely it is to become infested with weeds, so keep a regular check on your lawn for signs of weeds, and remove them as quickly as you can.
Hydrate your lawn
Just like all living things, water is a key ingredient when it comes to ensuring your lawn looks its best. The best time of day to water your garden is before the midday sunshine, to ensure that the grass is given ample time to soak up the water. A deep watering a couple of times a week is better than shallow watering as it will encourage a deeper root system. Prior to hosing your garden, burrow your finger down into the lawn. If it’s damp, don’t water.
If it’s been a while since your mower has been serviced, it might be time to get the blades sharpened on changed to ensure that when you do give your garden a mow, it’s an effective and efficient one. Avoid mowing your lawn too short which can actually have a negative effect by placing it under stress which can cause it to die off in parts. The optimum grass length is around three inches. If you’ve been mowing with a catcher over winter, switch to mulch mowing for the summer months.