It’s the weekend in the middle of January, and the sun is shining outside with nary a cloud in sight. You decide to bring a lawn chair outside to soak up the sun, but you notice that your lawn now has ugly brown patches in it and many of your plants had somehow wilted.
Summer might be one of the most unforgiving seasons for your lawn and garden, and you’d rather skip it if you only had the choice. But there’s just no way you or your garden can escape the hot and dry Australian summer. With a little bit of luck and a whole lot of work, you can make the summer sun your plants’ friend and ensure that your lawn and garden get some tender loving care even during this scorching hot season. Here are some tips on how to ensure that your lawn and garden will thrive this summer.
The Right Amount of Water and Moisture
Apart from the sun, your grass and plants’ best friends are water and moisture. During the summertime, make sure that you water your lawn once every week. Allow your water sprinkler system to run for no less than 30 minutes to give the turf a good soak. But the once-every-week routine does not apply when it comes to garden plants especially if you live in an arid area. Thoroughly watering your plants once a day will be enough to keep them healthy. Never water your plants or your lawn in the heat of the day as the summer sun will evaporate the water quicker than it can get to the plants’ roots. Ideally, watering your plants and grass should be done during the early morning (or late in the afternoon) so that the roots can get much-needed nutrients before the sun gets to them. Bypass the leaves and keep your water bill low by watering at the plant’s base. If you want to save water, it’s alright if you wish to cut back on watering your plants and turf. If you used to water every day, then you can do it every other day to ensure that the plants are nourished even during summertime.
Overdoing it can also result in excessive moisture in the soil. Too much moisture can make the soil a breeding ground for diseases. The key is finding the right balance. Mulching at the base of the plant or allowing the clippings on the lawn to stay there after mowing slow down evaporation and decreases surface runoff. Allowing clippings to stay on the lawn also allows nitrogen to flourish in the soil. Summertime is a notoriously difficult season for plants, so put particularly thirsty plants together in one spot to maximize water and moisture.
Pruning and Mowing
To ensure that your garden thrives during summer and even all year long, one of the best things to do is to prune your plants. Ideally, it is best to prune as summer ebbs away, but anytime during summer would be good too. Do not, however, prune a plant in early spring.
The rule of thumb when it comes to pruning is to remove diseased, dead, and dying parts. Clustering and crossing branches also need to go. Encourage outward lateral growth by removing branches that are growing inward or those that have acute angles. But do not overdo pruning as this will also dry the plant out.
Your turf is under a lot of stress during summertime with an abundance of heat and the lack of water. Keeping your lawn healthy, however, involves more than just watering. Mowing plays a large part in keeping your lawn healthy, but there is the right way to mow your turf during summertime. The ideal grass height for summer is 3 to 4 inches, so give your lawn some TLC by raising the blade of your lawn mower to the highest setting. A higher turf keeps the soiler cooler and helps it retain moisture. If you don’t have time to mow the lawn or you’re going to take a vacation out of town this summer, have a trusted lawn mowing contractor maintain your lawn. Lawn mowing contractors can also do things to keep your lawn in tip-top shape, such as lawn aeration and vertimowing.
When it comes to fertiliser use during the summer, a good rule to follow is to fertilise less. As your turf is under a lot of stress during summer, it’s a good time to cut back on fertilising your lawn. Less nitrogen means that your grass won’t grow as quickly, but it also means that the turf will need less water.