July 2023 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)
June was a scorcher of a month with places still experiencing very dry conditions whilst other have had some rain and therefore suffering the red thread fungus. Please see Pest & Diseases below for more information. Summary outlook for July courtesy of the Met Office:
2nd to 11th July: A changeable start to July, with a mix of sunny spells, rain and scattered showers, some thundery, the latter two most probable towards north-western regions. Strong winds, potentially gales, are expected in northern areas but more moderate breezes elsewhere. Temperatures around average for mid-summer, potentially slightly warmer in the south and slightly cooler in the north. These conditions are expected to continue deeper into the period, with the south and east most likely to see the driest weather, while the north and west may experience the heaviest and most frequent rains and showers. That said, some showers and thunderstorms are possible further south and east too. Temperatures likely to remain around average, but may feel cooler in wetter areas.
12th July to 26th July: Current indications for evolution into the second half of July are uncertain, with the possibility of high pressure becoming slightly more dominant later into the month, pointing towards fairer conditions, particularly for the south. Rainfall, perhaps heavy at times and more likely in the form of showers or thunderstorms, is, however, possible in all parts of the country. Indications for above-average temperatures are stronger, meaning the occurrence of heatwaves carries a correspondingly higher likelihood. However, at the moment, there is no signal for exceptional heat in this period.
Is your Lawn Suffering again?
If your lawn suffered badly in the dryness last year, and even with your best efforts is suffering again then perhaps there is an underlying problem. This may be the cause: An Old Lawn!
If not and you want to assist your lawn we have help for
you in our Lawn Trends section and also wanted to draw your attention to the
practice of using a wetting agent as a preventative in our article How to Stop my Lawn Drying Out.
In our new section Lawn Care Problems we have added dozens of new articles to help you care for your lawn. They answer many of the most common and not so common questions and problems you ask us on a day to day basis. Here are the latest articles added during the last few months:
New for this Lawn Diary
From the previous Lawn Diary
Please visit the most import and current seasonal articles here
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 are also still very active, so if hills start forming in or around the lawn you'll need some ant bait stations or ant granules. The granules are brilliant for stopping the ants in their 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 granules. 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.
Thanks for visiting the Lawn Diary
Have a great month