When we have a long hot summer, lovely as it is, the war cry always goes out when our beloved green grass and lawns turn to an unsightly yellow brown colour.
We Brits love the green green grass of home and when we look out to barren land around our property it can be quite depressing. Once the rot has set in on the grass roots no amount of watering seems to bring them back to life especially if the sun keeps pounding the lawn with those damaging rays.
Millions of pounds are spent in the UK during the early months of the year preparing the lawn and giving it it’s post winter de-thatch and feed of chemicals ready for the grass plants to come to life and bloom into that traditional patch of green we all yearn for. It’s our own little Wimbledon or Wembley until disaster strikes, all the hard work, preparation and cost of the spring groom is ruined by a few days of sunshine.
Why? Well, it has to be said most of the problem comes from how we mow the lawn or cut the grass. Yes! Its lovely to have what looks like Wimbledon or Wembley with those envied stripes that catch the eye. Some of us even try to emulate the local bowling green. The problem is many of us don’t fully understand how these green patches come about. Well, it takes years of nurturing, expert qualified groundsman’s tending with expensive specialist equipment and lots and lots of money poured into perfecting these spaces ready for the games about to take their toll on the beautiful surface. After each event, the experts go to work on restoring the surface, always disciplined to ‘the height of cut rule’, ready for the next onslaught of activity, which costs a pretty penny annually .
The first thing to take the blame for an unsightly lawn is usually the lawnmower; how many of us believe it is the mower that makes the lawn? To a point it does, but it is the way in which it is being used that matters. There is no magic way toward a bowling green finish.
Traditionalists will prefer the cylinder mower with roller on the back and grass collector on the front; no doubt they give a fine cut on a well groomed lawn but the cost of a decent one of these is astronomical and so is the running costs of servicing, sharpening etc., and quite frankly for most of us a total waste of time and money. So, the alternative is a rotary blade mower on 4 wheels or 2 front wheels and a rear roller, they come in many forms, petrol driven, mains electric and now ever increasing in popularity is the cordless battery driven ones. Rotary mowers are the answer to most peoples needs but don’t expect them to turn your lawn into a bowling green.
The real issue here is how we cut the grass, because we want that perfect lawn we tend to believe the lower we put the height of cut setting, the smoother the lawn will look. That’s OK whilst we have moisture in the ground but as soon as the sun comes out beware, that’s when the grass plants (they are no different from flowers) begin to struggle and start to wilt, especially when cut to the bone, and there you have the reason for that unsightly yellow/brown wilderness.
What to do? Simple really! Normal de-thatch and lawn food prep in March, then the key is not to set your height of cut too low, keep it up to approximately 25mm or higher, water the lawn in the evening frequently and you should retain some semblance of a green lawn even during the hottest periods of the year.
Will we amateur green keepers ever adhere to ‘the height of cut rule’? Well, that’s up to you if you want the green green grass of home to remain pride of place throughout the summer but don’t blame the mower if you don’t.
Keep it up, keep it green! Enjoy your lawn.