Lawn Care Tips for August
Sunday, 1 August, 2021
Posted in August Lawn Care Tips
Crane Flies will be laying eggs on the lawn in August; specialist spraying can reduce the number of eggs laid, therefore reducing the volume of leatherjackets in the rootzone.
Lawn Pest Control
Crane Flies will be laying eggs on the lawn in August; specialist spraying can reduce the number of eggs laid, therefore reducing the volume of leatherjackets in the rootzone. A course of four to six spray applications during August and September can reduce leatherjacket infestations by up to 68%. This needs to be followed with an application of nematodes in September.
Lawn Disease Control
Red-Thread and Pink Patch are rife on a lot of lawns at the moment, fortunately both can be controlled relatively easily. Red Thread and Pink Patch tend to show as one disease, starting as small round patches of dying grass and getting larger and joining together as the season progresses. They can be very easily confused with drought but will not green-up after rain or irrigation.
The disease(s) show as red cotton-like threads along with small pink cotton wool balls, the round patches have irregular edges and will join together to form a general 'blotchy appearance' of yellow dead grass with a pink/red tinge. The disease(s) can be controlled with a fungicide, applied twice per season or 'fed out' with a very high nitrogen foliar feed. The disadvantage of using a fungicide is that it will also kill the beneficial fungi in the soil that help with the breakdown of thatch and will also kill the fungi that encourage strong root growth, for that reason, we prefer to feed out with nitrogen. Improving growing conditions by spiking, scarifying and applying correct fertilisers will also help to prevent disease attack.
The lawn is growing rapidly now but it may have sparse growth and weak colour, particularly if we are in a dry spell. The application of Spring fertiliser has lost its effectiveness by now so feeding is essential to help it through the late Summer months. Nitrogen is very easily leached-out during heavy rain (and irrigation) so needs replacing every season. Application of nitrogen fertilisers will help prevent diseases damaging the sward. Phosphate and potash tend to remain in the soil for a longer period. The fertilisers we use are manufactured here in Somerset and we've had fantastic feedback from customers saying that their lawns have never looked so lush and green.
We use two types of Spring/Summer fertilisers:
- 3-month combined fast and slow release. First application in April/May followed by second application in June/July.
- 6-month slow release which will last throughout the whole Summer. Applied from March throughout the Summer months. Activated by soil temperature. Ideal for general utility lawns, not suitable for fine turf.
There are advantages and disadvantages of both types of feed and we can advise on the most suitable. Both fertilisers contain slow-release nitrogen to encourage strong green growth, phosphate to encourage strong deep rooting (this will help survival in drought conditions) and potash to help build strength and disease resistance. I can also hand-mix and apply organic fertilisers such as 'dried blood' and 'hoof and horn' if you prefer.
We tend to carry out some form of renovation almost every month of the year. August tends to be a queiter month. The majority of work tends to be improving 'tired' lawns rather than re-turfing, which can be very expensive.
Re-turfing a tired lawn is very often a pointless exercise because the problems that caused the original lawn to decline will still be present after the new turf is laid... so, the cycle of decline starts all over again on the new lawn!
The main problems I encounter in Somerset are: Heavy clay soil, compaction, lack of feeding, pest/disease damage, mower scalping, bare patches, lawns in heavy shade, waterlogging, new lawns established from sub-standard turf, incorrect use of chemicals and general neglect.
A typical renovation will consist of some, or all, of the following:
- Lawn aerating (spiking)
- Lawn scarifying (severity depending on season)
- Lawn moss control
- Application of selective lawn weedkiller
- Lawn topdressing
- Lawn overseeding with the correct mix suitable for your soil/aspect (not possible with turf)
- Nematode application
- Application of lawn fertiliser
As the name suggests, this is 'vertical mowing', the blades will cut the growth of trailing weeds preventing them from being so invasive. It will also thin the sward and help remove dead leaf growth, therefore enabling lighter scarification in the autumn. Verticutting is a much lighter operation than scarifying, the blades don't touch the moss or thatch and remain in the leaf zone only. Verticutting can be carried out before the lawn is mown during the spring and summer but shouldn't be done in drought conditions as it will cause additional stress.
The lawn should be cut on a weekly basis in August with the height of cut adjusted according to growth and weather conditions. No more than one third of the grass should be removed in a single cut, any more than this will cause stress and stunting, this is why fortnightly mowing can cause severe yellowing. In dry/drought conditions the height of cut should be raised to reduce stress and yellowing.
Most people now tend to use rotary mowers, either petrol or electric. We offer rotary and cylinder mowing:
- Cylinder mowing gives a better-quality cut but is only suitable for fine flat lawns. The scissor action of the blades gives a superior cut.
- Rotary mowing is ideal for general mowing of utility lawns, the clippings can be collected or mulched. We have either pedestrian mowers or small tractor mowers.
We offer cutting widths of 16", 19", 21" or 30" in rotary mowers and 20" in cylinder. Prices are calculated on size of lawn in square metres... not per hour.