June 2020 Lawn Diary
This Month in a Nutshell
Apart from a few easy jobs just enjoy the garden and hopefully continued warm sunny weather.
Summary 'to do' list for now through June:
- Pest and disease control
- Weed Control
- Repair damage caused by wear and tear
Some of you will have been listening to radio 4 on Friday 29th May lunchtime. The discussion was with a southern water authority regarding increased water use during lock-down with particular reference to the increased use of the toilet, yes, it appears we go more when at home! Got to be fake news, yes? It gets worse. The 'experts' (water authority spokesperson and reporter) concluded the ideal time to water the garden was in the evening! You may not think that is fake news but I can assure you that watering the lawn in the evening will increase the humidity at the surface and cause an outbreak of the grass eating fungal disease red thread. Please only water the lawn in the morning so it goes to bed dry.
I'm not a gardener but I still think the garden should be morning watering as well. Cold water on cold ground doesn't evaporate hence time for it to get to the roots of a thirsty plant by the heat of the day. Water on warm/hot ground in the afternoon/evening will mean a lot will evaporate! IMHO.
This spring has been dry for all with only a few lucky ones getting some rain. Though we don't normally promote watering (see 'Watering the Lawn' below for correct method), this year is an exception with full reservoirs from winter flooding and people trying to make the most of life in lockdown. Hopefully we've helped some of you to stay sane!
The lesson... take every opportunity in good conditions to improve the health (and therefore drought tolerance) of your lawn with good lawn care practices including aeration, fertilisation, weed control and seeding!
As yet no reports of red thread but if humidity rises we may well issue an alert so please make sure you are registered for updates. Having said that, if your lawn is prone to this disease getting a good feed in now before the disease hits may be a very wise move.
June long range forecast courtesy of the Met Office:
Monday 1 Jun - Wednesday 10 Jun
The start of June will see a continuation of the current settled weather with most places staying dry and sunny. However, there is an increasing chance of seeing some rain or showers at times, especially across northern and western parts. It will be very warm initially but temperatures are likely to begin to return to normal towards the middle of the period. Towards the end of the period there may be a shift to more changeable conditions, with an increased chance of showers or longer spells of rain across all parts. The showers or spells of rain are likley to be most frequent across the northwest and possibly accompanied by strong winds. Any wetter periods are likely to be interspersed with some drier and brighter weather.
Thursday 11 Jun - Thursday 25 Jun
The start of this period is likely to see a continuation of more changeable conditions with spells of dry and sunny weather interspersed with showers or some longer spells of rain. Showers or rain are most likely to be seen in the northwest of the UK and they may be accompanied by strong winds at times too. Through mid to late June, overall drier and warmer than average weather looks to be more favourable in the south than wetter and cooler conditions. Northern parts however will likely see temperatures sticking around average for the time of year.
Regular mowing is the key to a great lawn. With June temperatures and a little moisture, growth should be at its best so regular mowing will produce a beautiful dense turf. Regular means at least once a week.
If conditions are or become dry then growth will be slow but do mow at least every 10 to 14 days to control coarse grasses and seed heads.
Finally adjust your mowing height to suit the growing conditions.
For the mowing season you need to do two things: keep it clean and keep it sharp. If the grass is lush or 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 mid-year to maintain a clean cut.
If this is your first application of the year use a 2-3 month slow release Spring & Summer fertiliser. It has good grass safety and will take you through until the autumn.
Similarly, if you made an early spring application of 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 soil moisture is available and growth has slowed with some loss of colour then consider an application to maintain looks, colour and health.
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.
Weeds should be well on the way now so this is a great month for applying weed killer to the whole lawn either by knapsack sprayer or watering can if you have not already done so. If you're using a watering can try the weed & feed sprinkle bar for faster more accurate application.
If you've been diligent with your weed control and have few weeds then keep at it with a combination of spot treating individual weeds with a Ready to Use Weed Killer or manually removing any obvious large weeds.
See Weed Identification for more detail and control methods.
WARNING: Do not apply weed killer to dry or parched lawns other than as a spot treatment.
Wait now until autumn.
If you water this month do it in the mornings to reduce the likelihood of red thread. This is also the time when dry patches or fairy rings start appearing in the lawn. They can easily spoil an otherwise great looking lawn so a little effort in this direction pays dividends. Some watering, a little very shallow spiking and applications of wetting agent is all that will be required from now until perhaps August. See Pests and Diseases below.
As discussed in Lawn Aeration Advice, aeration is highly beneficial if done properly. If conditions allow, using lawn aerators such as a rolling aerator or aerator sandals makes it the job relatively easy. At the very least you should be looking to use a 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 and fertiliser to any worn areas after aeration then water thoroughly.
Please note that it is now too late to be slitting or using a hollow tine aerator. These increase drying so if conditions are or become dry you are just compounding the problem.
Wait until autumn.
The late spring and summer months are the time the lawn is used most. If children and teenagers are enjoying playing outdoors then damage can soon occur. Getting on top of it early is a wise move. Rotate areas of use if possible and then water, spike and fertilise heavily used areas. Do the same for worn areas but with the addition of about 10 to 20 grass seeds per square inch.
Renovation requires water to help the grass repair and recover so only undertake renovation and seeding if you can water if conditions are or become dry. Any turfing laid will require regular watering to establish.
The disease to watch out for from May onwards is red thread; occurring as humidity levels rise causing severe disfiguring of the grass leaves. There are ways to reduce its impact with the careful use of watering and fertiliser so read the red thread advice.
In addition, if your lawn suffers from 'dry patch' or 'fairy rings' then as the lawn dries these will become more evident. Watering, very light spiking, fertiliser and a wetting agent will go a long way to relieving the problem.
Chafer Beetles may also be seen around the garden. A very common insect throughout the UK and Europe hatching in May to June - hence the name June Bug! If you see large numbers, have a read of our Chafer Grub advice as this may indicate a forthcoming lawn problem.
Finally, this is the month ants become 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 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 sachets.
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 there is plenty of moisture and growth is good. Application rates and frequency will vary depending on your goals and type of lawn so please read our top dressing advice.
With potentially dryer months just round the corner put this off until autumn unless you can water the area daily.
*Lawnsmith product categories from this diary:
Thanks for visiting the Lawn Diary
Have a great month