Last year we had a dry summer and as a result, many lawns in the UK were looking rather worse for wear. Even treated lawns can suffer in drought and nothing can keep a lawn green if it is not provided with enough water. If your lawns are looking stressed out again this year here is a little help and advice from us…
What causes lawn stress?
The summer months are the most stressful for British lawns. Any one of the following causes stress in a normal situation, in the summer they occur all at once!
- Heat stress – Our most common grass species are not suited to such warm temperatures. They lose water very quickly and in extreme cases the leaf cells can start to die as processes within the cells are affected.
- Drought stress – This occurs when water is evaporated from the leaf faster than it is taken up from the soil by the plant. Without water, the plant cannot produce energy or clean up free radicals. The cells of the leaf quickly start to suffer.
- Salt stress – More common in coastal areas but can also be caused by application of some fertilisers! The salty soil draws moisture out of the roots of the plant compounding the effects of drought stress.
The natural way for our lawns to deal with the above stresses is to go into dormancy until conditions improve. Once a lawn has got to this stage the only way to bring it back to life is regular watering. Waiting for the weather to turn, and for the rain to return, is usually the easiest course of action for you and your customer. The lawn’s recovery can then be aided with some or all of the following measures.
How to relieve a stressed lawn?
Aiding the recovery of a lawn in the late summer is very important as it will decide how the lawn fairs through the winter. If the lawn is not returned to health quickly then weeds and moss have an opportunity to grow and flourish.
- Water – Making sure the lawn has enough water is the first step to bring the lawn back to its former glory. Rain showers may provide enough but depending on the weather occasional watering/irrigation may be required. If you feel that localised dry patch is preventing thorough wetting of the lawn then application of a wetting agent may help.
- Aeration – Solid-tine or hollow-core aeration will help water be absorbed quickly into the soil. They will also create new air pockets to improve rooting conditions and lead to a healthier lawn.
- Light feeding – If it fits in with your treatment plan, a light feeding will provide the nutrients needed for the lawn to regrow quickly. Avoid applying too much fast release fertiliser as the lawn will be susceptible to scorch. A non-scorch feed such as Droughtsafe 19-3-9 or a medium-low nitrogen feed such as AutumnGreen 10-5-10 will do the trick.
Cover photo supplied by Heritage Lawn