WORD FROM OUR EXPERT
What should I be doing for my summer lawn?
Like all animals and plants, grasses live to grow healthily to the point when they can breed. From spring to mid-summer grasses put all their energy into producing seed, but we keep cutting off the flowering stem, except for Annual Meadow Grass (Poa annua spp.), which has the remarkable ability to adapt to its environment by producing flowering shoots that grow horizontally (ask any bowls or golf greenkeeper). The effect in general, and with ryegrass in particular, is an upright growth habit with energy being put into growing flower stalks. Our resident tuf expert Andrew Turnbull highlights some tips for you. Read on….
After mid-summer, the main flowering period for grasses, the grass plant can suffer from stress due to intense light levels and excess heat (temps above 28C for a week or more), and growth and vigour dips unless the grass is looked after. Raise the hight of cut, e.g. from 20mm to 25mm, and water twice per week during extended dry weather during the evening by soaking the ground, but not to point of puddling. During this period grass grown in some shade during late morning to late afternoon will be appear to be healthier than areas growing in full sunlight. This is when previous treatments of TurfSolv will come into effect by helping the plant to be protected against this kind of stress.
After the peak sunlight and heat period of July and August, grass goes into a vegetative growth phase. This is when the plant starts to grow more shoots and the sward thickens up. The plant is preparing for winter and is the period when excess carbohydrates are made and stored to be used when light levels are low and photosynthesis less. Heavy scarifying and thatch control is best done during late August to end of September as the grass recovers quickly. Follow up with low nitrogen fertiliser to prevent excess growth and carbohydrate usage by the plant, and apply TurfSolv to help it to build up carbohydrate storage for use during the winter.
By Andrew Turbull, MRes.