How To Look After Your Lawn In Summer | Landscape Gardening Plants

How To Look After Your Lawn In Summer | Landscape Gardening Plants

By Todd Layt

Turf, gardens, patio pots can all suffer in our hot Australian summers. Over the years I have learnt some interesting ways to help get lawns, and plants through summer. I have also found some clever techniques to help reduce the work load. Some tips are simply good horticultural practice, whilst others are a little more creative.

Lawns

Apart from getting a tougher lawn type, which is usually not an option, there are many techniques that can help get lawns through summer, with less damage. Firstly, try raising the lawns mowing height. The theory is that the lawn will handle the summer, and dryer times more easily. The lawn will become healthier, more robust, and some claim the root system will grow deeper.

Personally, I find this mainly true, but with one proviso; I like to mow my lawn shorter in early spring, to help reduce thatch, and let it get a little longer as summer approaches. I find this particularly important with the Buffalo lawns. The better varieties of Buffalo have superb drought resistance, and a raised summer mowing height helps this. (By drought resistance, we mean they take longer to brown off).

I find Palmetto, and Sapphire buffalos have very good drought resistance. Some types of Buffalo however have very poor drought resistance, so be careful when assuming you are maintaining a buffalo with good drought resistance.

Turf varieties such as Couch and Empire Zoysia, have incredible drought tolerance, meaning they will survive long periods of severe drought, but they will brown off before the good Buffalo varieties. If a bad summer saw massive water restrictions, and no rain for 2 to 3 months, provided the soil was not extremely sandy, the couch and Empire Zoysia will survive, and green up when it rains.

The Buffalos may not. The biggest problem with couch of course is its aggressiveness at running into gardens, its poor shade tolerance and the fact that weeds invade it very easily. Empire turf has none of these problems. Kikuyu has the same invasive problems of couch, although even worse.

It is not as drought tolerant as Couch and Empire, and not quite as drought resistant as the better Buffalos. Cool season grasses, should be avoided all over Australia, except maybe Tasmania. Our hot summers, drought conditions, and water restrictions, are making them impossible to keep alive. Fescues, Rye grass, Blue Grass etc are on borrowed time in this country.

Now that I have explained the differences between the turf types, I can provide some more summer maintenance tips. read more…

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