I generally don’t like to repeat what I have said before , but comparing the weather this year with last its not so different from a rain fall point of view, and we had that very cold May and not the heat we experienced last May .
The release of the UN report on global warming released yesterday and the fires being reported in Greece and the USA demonstrate how real it is as is the periods of sun that we experience and the sudden torrential down pours that occur.
For lawns these conditions present a real challenge – watering grass is not always an option, and getting rid of excess water just as bad – soil health and structure is the best strategy to deal with this.
Its been interesting looking at the soil profile of lawns that are dying back – the dark patches seen on the surface where grass is suffering are so dry penetrating with a soil auger is a real challenge . The core extracted is often completely bone dry to the point of nearly being dust, and at the surface 2-3 centimetres is a thick layer of dead matted material that acts as a surface sponge when it rains – but prevents water getting through.
You can soon see if your lawn is suffering – if you leave foot prints on it when you walk across it and it seems spongy you probably have a build up of thatch, or moss ( or maybe you have it get to long, a comment regarding that in the final paragraph )
Hence the summer Bio feed we apply , which I have described as a spa day for your grass adds vital amino acids to help the grass recover from stress , and we add a vitamin tablet full of fungi and bacteria which help the soil recover and stimulate consumption of this thatch and turn it back into waste that the grass can feed on.
Lawns that remain looking green and lush now are those that have the benefit of a good healthy soil and open structure – likely to be those that are relatively new where the soil was cultivated to a good depth and roots have been able to go down and soil capacity for holding moisture is good.
Healthy soils are vital to support grass – they need a lot of beneficial bacteria and fungi to be supporting the soil micro- organisms, good soil structure is important to this and extreme weather conditions wet or hot always highlight the problems.
Scarification and aeration is so important in these circumstance – although both can be very aggressive and so need to be done under the right conditions.
Aeration punches holes into the soil , to allow water to get through and oxygen which will encourage root growth. There are different types of aerator tines – some will slit the surface , others will spike or take a core of soil out . Soil type will determine the best tine for the job – it should not be carried out on soils when too wet, ideally it is done when soils are dry , this can have the added benefit of shattering encouraging further cracks to appear in the soil around the tine . However aeration cannot be carried out when very dry – as the machinery will be unable to penetrate the soil as is the case now .
Now is the time to carry out work to improve soil structure – and through September , please don’t hesitate to call for a survey to look at the soil structure of your lawn.
One final point to mention – remember to keep your grass 2 inches long , it can be a bit shorter for fine grasses . When ever you cut grass aim to remove no more than a third of the length – and if you need to reduce the height , try to do it gradually . Also make a point of cutting grass in different directions, every time you go over the lawn the roller flattens it and it actually ends up getting longer which is why you should alternate cuts. Unfortunately with the weather or holidays you might get behind with the grass cutting – when it is cut back hard you are likely to see brown patches where all the top growth has been removed , it will recover once the light gets to it , but if that happens and you then go into a dry period you will need to water to help it along.