As we head in to the Autumn it’s a time to reflect on the summer and the effect it had on the grass and the implications .
Normally the late summer highlights the poor state of many lawns following a dry period in September – this year due to the pattern of rain fall over the summer many lawns remained relatively green .
Many of us felt it was a wetter summer than 2020, but in fact the rainfall from June to September was similar to last year, despite that many people have said how difficult it was to keep up with grass cutting due to the wet weather.
In fact August this year we had less rain 40 mm over 3 days than last year last year 129 mm – over 9 days.
Where this year differed and very noticeable in August was the number of over cast days and lack of sun. It was also very calm, no wind to dry anything out and so grass remained damp, similar conditions continued in to September. Consequence of this is far more moss this time of year than usual , already where trees cast a shadow across lawns moss growth is quite rapid , so the first moss control application of the autumn will be much needed.
As we struggled to cut the grass – or cut it where it had not been able to dry off the roller on the mower flattened it rather than cutting , and cutting it short where it had grown long when it was possible checked the growth and left scalped areas which had to grow back and in some cases struggled leaving white straggly looking patches . This weather also benefited the creeping grasses that put out stolon’s and became straggly and now appearing as white patches in lawns where they have been cut back and growth slowed down . These areas are going to need to be scarified hard / cut back and possibly over seeded to improve the grass mix.
We have also seen far more disease on lawns – browning areas which look as if they are dyeing back through lack of moisture . Conditions have been perfect for Fusarium patch , Red Thread and Yellow rust , normally these would not be so noticeable in domestic lawns but with the conditions we have had this year they have exploded. Treatment with fungicides is an option – but expensive.
Weeds that we would not normally see in late August / September have continued to germinate with the moisture in the soil or survived earlier weed killer applications as the leaf was not dry enough to completely absorb the chemical when it was applied.
Speedwell is always a problem in grass and there are different types – but one not normally seen that has established it self in the last few months is “Thyme Leaved Speedwell “ this looks very different to the normal speedwell’s having a soft oval shaped leaf and small light Blue flower, it grows very flat along the surface and spreads by extending stems that then root – current moist weather conditions have been perfect for this. Finding a weedkiller that will control this will certainly be a challenge
Thyme leaved Speedwell