It has been a long hot summer here in the UK and although most of us have embraced the sun with days at the seaside and a glowing suntan, our lawns are not so enthusiastic.
The continued sun has caused a major drought which in turn has left our lawns longing for moisture, turning yellow or even brown and dried out.
Thankfully despite the poor appearance, grass is resilient and we would expect most lawns to have survived the drought. The limp and parched look is simply the lawn in a state of dormancy and will come back to its former glory once the moisture is returned to the soil.
Over recent weeks we have seen the weather break with rain showers coming back so we expect many lawns to be returning to their natural green healthy look. If however, your lawn is not improving it may have died and require some work. To determine if your lawn is dormant or dead we need to assess the soil.
Dormant Grass: A lawn which is dormant will present with brown/yellow leaves but the crown of the plant will still be green and with healthy off-white colour at the roots.
Dead Grass: Dead grass will present with brittle and brown blades, crown and roots. It will be easy to pull out of the soil.
Rejuvenating a dormant lawn
A dormant lawn will repair itself over time, however, there are steps we can take to speed the process up.
- Water the lawn as soon as hosepipe bans and water restrictions are lifted. A dormant lawn will require a lot of water to flood the lawn until there is almost puddles on the surface. This will return the moisture back to the soil and roots of the plant.
- Aerate and scarify the lawn to allow air to flow through the soil and remove any thatch from the surface.
- Fertilising a lawn will return lost nutrients to the soil and give the plant the boost it needs. 2-3 weeks post-drought a QUICK RELEASE: Spring/Summer fertiliser should be applied and watered in well at time of application. A noticeable difference will be seen within a few short weeks.
- Kill weeds and moss as soon as the grass has returned to full strength. Weeds and moss are a huge drain on soil moisture levels so the application of a Feed, Weed and Moss Killer will allow more moisture and nutrients to be supplied to the grass plant.
Repairing a dead lawn
Unfortunately, the only way to repair a dead lawn is to remove the old grass and reseed the area.
- Scarify to remove the dead material and expose the soil.
- Aerate by spiking to allow the soil to breathe.
- Sow your chosen grass seed and water the seedbed.
- Keep moist, little and often, to allow grass to germinate and establish quickly.
For further advice on the technique please see our video ‘How to Repair a Lawn’