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Each month, receive tips on the top jobs needed in your garden as well as a wealth of information on a range of gardening topics. From sowing seeds to picking fruit, each month get access to information on the care and maintenance of your flowerbeds, vegetable plot and lawn. As with your own gardening diary, the journal is split into separate sections, each covering a different area of garden care.

Monday 7 July 2014

Lawn Care Guide – July

Brown drought or ‘dry patch’?

July’s lawn care is much the same as June with regular mowing, though if it is hot and dry the growth
rate may have slowed. In which case you don’t want the mower or cutting deck on a garden tractor to cut too low; raise it a notch. Frequent close mowing can cause damage to the grass. If the ground is hard and the lawn has become compacted it’s worth spiking it before watering so that the water can penetrate more deeply to encourage the roots to push down.

Earlier in the year you were probably dealing with worm casts, now it’s likely to be ants creating unsightly ant hills above their nests. Brush them away and apply an ant killer as directed by the manufacturer.

The lawn can benefit from a tonic at this time of the year, using a granular feed if you can water it in (or rain is forecast) or liquid feed if you can’t.  Persistent weeds can be dug out with a small trowel or fork and the area patched with grass seed if needed. Alternatively you can use a spot weeding spray but don’t apply an overall weedkiller during dry periods. Even if you don’t have a mulching deck you can still leave the grass box off the mower or ride-on and let the clippings provide the grass with some protection from the sun. They will decompose and act as a fertiliser as well.

As the lawn dries in the summer it can suffer from ‘dry patch’ which is where the soil has become water repellent – you get a patchy area of browning grass in some areas whilst the rest of the lawn is green. It’s symptomatic with compacted ground and thatch in older lawns. You can treat it in the short term by lightly spiking, watering with a liquid fertiliser and applying a proprietary ‘wetting agent’ which you can get online or from the garden centre. In the longer term a program of lawn maintenance will help. Prevention is better than cure. Don’t confuse dry patch with natural browning caused by drought conditions though.

Finally, if the weather has been damp and you have moss in the lawn it’s best to wait until autumn to treat it.

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