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How to care for your lawn in hot weather

Fed up of dry, yellow grass in the summer months?  Here's how you can put a stop to it.

Yellow patch of grass caused by heat

Grass is a pretty resilient force of nature!  Think about it, grass survives through cold and frosty winters, wet and windy Autumns, hot, dry Summers and Spring which can be a total mixed bag!  It copes with being walked on, laid on and run on whilst still looking good, can you say the same for your other plants?  So it seems only fair that when, like us, it is struggling with the dry summer heat we take a few little steps to care for our hard-working grass.  

When it's hot the grass will obviously lose its water faster.  Once the grass runs out of water in the soil it will the go into survival mode.  What this means is that the grass will store water in its roots where it is much cooler, hence why your grass becomes yellow and straw-like.  Isn't nature clever!  Different varieties of grass will react differently to the dry weather, mainly due to some having deeper roots but it would still be beneficial to treat it all the same.  

So, what are these magical lawn saving tips?  Here we go...

1.  Water is obviously the main issue here.  Now, I'm not going to tell you to get your hose or sprinkler out every night, although it is the obvious solution, as we are already short of water in Summer due to a rising population.  If you want to water your garden more over Summer try recycling your water.  If you take a bath re-use your water and give your lawn a drink.  Unfinished bottles or cups of water, the kids paddling pool water, the dogs water bowl, literally anything will do the job.  You could go to the lengths of getting a water butt or placing buckets outside to collect rain water when it rains.  Make sure to water in the evening when it has cooled down to avoid burning your plants and conserve water due to evaporation.

2.  Keep off the grass as much as possible.  I know it's not easy to do when the weather is nice as all you want to do is enjoy your garden but if you can sit on the patio, do.  You want to put as little stress on your grass as possible.

3.  Don't leave furniture, toys etc. on your lawn for more than 48 hours at a time.  Again, this is to avoid stress and damage to your grass.

4.  Don't cut your grass as short as usual, let it grow a bit.  The longer grass will shade the soil and slow down moisture loss.  

5.  Let the short clippings stay on the lawn to create a mulch.  This will help to give the soil shade and retain moisture.

6.  Do not feed or use weed-killer on your lawn until it's green again.

7.  During Spring feed your lawn to prepare it for the (hopefully) upcoming hot weather.  This will build up the roots system.

8.  When it gets closer to Autumn and your grass is green again from all the rain, it's time to start preparing it for the next time there is a drought.  Aeration, scarification and topdressing will all help improve the soil beneath your lawn so that it retains water for longer.

Good luck and happy gardening :-)

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