While most people have early memories about riding a bicycle through some sun-filtered forest, getting their first proper taste of real Cornish, clotted-cream ice cream and believing really weird things like “if you eat a watermelon seed, a watermelon grows in your belly”, I have distinct memory of my grandad telling me that: some kinds of grasses thrive during the dog days of summer, while others suffer. I know, I know. My childhood must have been uber mundane, while my path into adulthood was somewhat carved out for me early doors.
Anyway, it turns out that dear old grandpops was a bit of a fibber because we’re now in the dog days of summer and we haven’t come across a single lawn that’s been thriving as a result. Of course, this is because we’re a pretty solid Northern Hemisphere country and our lawns love kicking back in cooler climes, which is why this recent heat wave has made your once lush lawn wilt before your eyes, turning a deep brown quicker than a skinless avocado left in an uncovered bowl on your kitchen table.
Thankfully, I’ve always had one eye on a martyrdom, and so I quickly sprung into action and brought you this midsummer checklist, all in the hope I can help your lawns survive these seldom moments of high twentysomething temperatures and remain healthy no matter what else the fires of Mordor throw at you. Enjoy.
It’s Feeding Time
If you’re a bit of a Keen Kevin and already managed to feed your lawn twice this year, you can go ahead and press that metaphorical skip button, and hold off feeding your lawn again until later on in summer. If, however – and it’s an almighty big however – you’ve been a bit of lazy parent and not fed your lawn in a while, I politely urge you to buck up your ideas, lay off those Budweisers you’ve got leftover from the World Cup, and give your lawn a good dollop of feeding this weekend, especially as the nighttime temperatures have started to drop a bit more. That said, if you’re quite happy warming a cold beer in your hand and have no intention of exerting yourself until the World Cup is well and truly out of your memory, then you could always give us a little tinkle on the telephone machine and we’ll just come and do it for you. Simple really.
Put Those Insects On The Windshield Of Life
In case you haven’t had time to whip out that microscope your Biology-teacher-uncle bought you for your eighth birthday to study your lawn yet, let us inform you of what’s going on: there are teeny-tiny insects attacking your grass with more ferocity than Trump attacking the media, women, ethnic minorities and just about everyone else for that matter. Anyway, the most obvious indication of an insect issue is seeing moths burst out of nowhere everytime you tread on – or mow – your lawn, especially in the early evening. Admittedly, these moths are harmless. They wouldn’t bust a grape in a fruit fight, as you say. But they do lay eggs that other insects are attracted to, like webworms and cutworms, and these slimy little suckers will thin out your lawn until nothing’s left but brown wisps. And they’re just one clique in much bigger insect party. The solution: an organic spray that will both protect your lawn and repel insects. It’s defence and offence all in one.
Time For A Bit Of Weed Pulling
We know how tempting it can be to strap a big, plastic Ghostbusters looking pack to your back and stride up and down your lawn spraying your weeds with some nose-wrinkling chemicals, but you don’t have to go to such extremes. In fact, I’m down on my knees begging you to condemn your weeds in a more eco-friendly manner, for your lawns sake more than anything. Exactly how you do this is your call. You might be happy pulling on a pair of gloves and yanking out your weeds, roots n’ all. You might have a bit of vodka left over from that out of hand day at the cricket, in which case mix it with some soapy water and spray away. Or you can mix some good old vinegar with soap and salt and do the same thing. Of course, if all that’s a bit too mad professor for you, try flicking on the kettle and pouring some boiling water on your undesirable weeds. Like we said, it’s totally your call.
No Place For Five-Star Fungus
If you’re reading this as circular patches of weird brown grass take over your lawn like some freaky and inexplicable crop circles, we might be able to help you identify the cause: it’s lawn fungus. You’re suffering from a solid case of lawn fungus. The same goes for any individual blades of grass stained with spots you might have noticed. It’s all to do with a lawn fungus problem. The good news is: a simple shift in the weather could be enough to cure you of your ugly lawn. The bad news is: it might not. That said, if your decaying grass circles do persist, then you might have to accept your lawn is prone to fungus and this will keep happening each summer unless you treat it with fungicide. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but swallow it you must.
Mow High, Always Mow High
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a trillion times: taller grass blades mean deeper roots, which means way better plant growth. It really is as simple as any biology lesson can be. It’s also why you need to stop reading this blog for half a moment, run out to your shed and adjust the deck on your mower so that it reads: really high. We’re talking about three-inches sort of high. This will allow your plant to stay healthy, hold its own against any sort of attack and survive the heat wave that is mid-summer.
Unleash The H20
We know there have been hosepipe bans and sprinkler sanctions and all those sort of local government warnings. But if you are able to get your hose out there first thing in the morning and last thing at night, then do it because this will be enough to keep your lawn from going dormant and brown and all South African-looking. By just giving your lawn half an inch twice a week, you’ll bless your plants with deeper roots. Of course, if you’re wondering how to measure half an inch, all you need to do is pop a couple of buckets either side of your sprinkler and measure the amount you catch. Like we said, though, do it first thing in the morning and last thing at night, when the planet is cooler and evaporation is nought but an idea.