July 2020 Lawn Diary
This Month in a Nutshell
Technically another easy month of keeping it tidy and keeping it green. Potential dry weather limits any grand plans so bide your time for lawn projects until the weather is guaranteed to have a cooler wetter trend.
Summary 'to do' list for July:
- Regular mowing
- Weed Control
- Seeding (if you can water)
Owing to Junes humid weather we've had Red Thread running amok in most lawns. Please see Pest & Diseases below for more information. Summary outlook for July courtesy of the Met Office:
Tuesday 30 June - Thursday 9 July A breezy and unsettled start to the period, with showers or longer spells of rain, heaviest and most frequent for some western areas. Temperatures are likely to be around average for the time of year. There will however still be some drier and sunny interludes. This changeable weather continues into July with sunshine, showers and perhaps some longer spells of rain possible for many. The rain however looks to be mainly in the northwest where it may also be cooler. The best of any drier and brighter weather will be across the south and east of the UK. Breezy conditions continuing, particularly for the north. Temperatures should mostly be around average for the time of year.
Friday 10 July - Friday 24 July Confidence through this period becomes low but signals show that a continuation of the changeable conditions are likely at first. This means spells of rain or showers mixed with drier and brighter interludes, the best of the drier weather in the south and east. Later in the period it is possible that there will be longer, more settled spells allowing temperatures to potentially rise a little above average, perhaps becoming warm at times near the end of the period. However due to the time of year there is the chance of triggering some thundery interludes, and if so these will be most likely across the south.
Regular mowing is the key to a great lawn; once a week if possible where moisture is good with the added benefit of being able to drop the mowing height a little. If, on the other hand things are dry then raise the mowing height (to the highest if necessary) to conserve moisture. In dry times you can also mow with the box off to recycle the clippings but check no weeds are seeding and the mower instructions allow this.
Finally, even if it's dry keep a reasonably regular mowing pattern (at least every 10 to 14 days) as weed grasses will take advantage of a weakened dry lawn.
For the mowing season you need to do two things: keep it clean and keep it sharp. If the grass is damp it can easily build up inside the mower so always give the mower a good brush, scrape or hose down after every use.
Secondly, if you do a lot of mowing, then be prepared to sharpen or swap blades this month to maintain a clean cut.
If conditions are suitable then we recommend as follows:
If you made a spring application of Lawnsmith® Spring & Summer fertiliser you should be considering your second application about now. Alternatively using liquid fertiliser every 4 to 6 weeks allows more control for the lawn enthusiast. Timing will depend largely on what and when you applied previously, recent growth and rainfall.
If this is your first application then stick with the Spring & Summer fertiliser range.
If you gave your lawn a feed with Lawnsmith® Extra-LONG fertiliser in spring you're sorted and your next feed should be in autumn if desired.
If conditions are on the wet/humid side then you most probably have red thread so check out 'Pests and Diseases' below and consider a higher than normal dose of fertiliser if fertilising is due.
If conditions are dry consider holding off until things improve.
The weeds are now in full swing with clovers and trefoils being very obvious so this is another great month for applying weed killer to the whole lawn either by knapsack sprayer or watering can if you have not previously done so. If you're using a watering can try the sprinkle bar for faster more accurate application.
If you've been diligent with your weed control and have few weeds then no need to treat the whole lawn but instead keep at it with a combination of spot treating individual weeds with a Ready to Use Weed Killer or manually removing them.
WARNING: Do not apply weed killer to dry or parched lawns other than as a spot treatment. Always read the label for advice on repeat treatments and safe use.
Wait now until autumn.
If you water this month do it in the mornings to reduce the likelihood of bringing on or worsening red thread. You'll need an inch of water (about an hour with the sprinkler) in any one place. If strange dry patches or rings remain even after regular watering see 'Pests and Diseases' below.
If the lawn is not too hard try using lawn aerators such as a rolling aerator or aerator sandals. This will keep the surface open so any shower is able to penetrate down to the grass roots rather than run off into the borders!
Summer is also a time of high lawn use so at the least you should be looking to use aerators or a garden fork on the most trafficked areas around clothes lines, path-to-lawn entry points, kid's goal mouth and postman's shortcut. Add grass seed to any worn areas after aeration then fertilise and lightly water frequently.
Please note that it is now too late to be slitting or using a hollow tine aerator. These increase drying so if conditions continue dry you are just compounding the problem. However, once the rains start and things cool down the lawn will love it.
Wait until autumn.
Renovation requires warmth and water to help the grass repair and recover so only undertake renovation if you can water if conditions are or become dry. Any turfing laid this month will require regular watering to establish and seeding may need light watering morning AND evening. If you do undertake some seeding, build a reserve of water in the soil by deep watering for a few days before adding the seed.
The disease to watch out for from May onwards is red thread; occurring as humidity levels rise. As July is a warm month (normally anyway!) you may get an outbreak if it rains. This years weather has caused some major outbreaks so read the red thread section for treatment and also read the recent 'Lawn Alert'.
In addition, if your lawn suffers from 'dry patch' or 'fairy rings' these will become more evident as dead semi-circles or brown patches during drying weather. Watering, very light spiking, fertiliser and a wetting agent will go a long way to relieving the problem.
As regards pests, yellow meadow ants appear to be very active, so if hills start forming in or around the lawn you'll need some ant bait stations or antkiller sachets. The sachets are brilliant for stopping the ants in there tracks but do be careful with the concentration - more is not necessarily better! The bait stations are best used as a preventative measure after using the sachets. If the soil is very dry around the ants nest it can be difficult to get the ant killer to penetrate deep enough to have an effect. Pre-wet the area for a few days before using the ant killer and even better if you pre-wet with added Wetting Agent.
Unlikely to be required until next spring unless you've over sowed.
Top dressing is an advanced lawn care procedure to reduce thatch and smooth the lawn surface. If you are not a lawn nut then I suggest you don't need to bother!
If you are then you should have your first dressing done and may be considering a second around now. Not a problem if growth is good. See top dressing advice.
With the potential for dryer months I'd put this off until autumn unless you can water the area daily.
Lawnsmith product categories from this diary:
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