There’s no doubt about it — even the most seasoned gardeners have a hard time keeping their lawns green during summer.
We’ve researched the best tips for battling the heat...
Choosing the right grass
Counteract the hot Australian sun with a little forethought. Zoysia grass is highly tolerant of heat has very low mowing requirements. It looks great in summer, can be left alone in winter, and has low invasive properties so it won’t spread into your garden beds. It also recovers from neglect faster than others of its kind. Other types of low maintenance, drought-resistant grass include Couch Lawns and Buffalo Grass.
Know when to water
The best time to water your lawn is in the morning. This allows the soil to absorb water, and the grass will then go through photosynthesis during the day. Any later, and the sun will cause the water to evaporate and your grass will dry out. Watering at night doesn’t work as it creates a damp environment that’s prime for lawn disease.
Note: to build a strong and healthy lawn, give it a long soak two to three times a week instead of a short daily watering. This will create a deeper root system, which will help it fare better the next time summer comes around.
Mowing during summer
You’ll want to mow regularly but leave the grass as high as you can. You can do this by using the highest setting on your lawn mower. Taller grass retains moisture in the soil, and mowing your lawn will remind the grass it’s alive and will encourage growth.
Australia has tight water restrictions during summer, so it’s important you have back-up water collection systems you can use.
Install a rainwater tank beneath the downspouts on your gutters. You might want to consider including a ‘first flush’ device which will route the first 20 or so litres of run-off into a separate small tank. This ‘first flush’ water will contain dust, bird droppings and small leaves, so you can use this entirely on your lawn and reserve the second catchment for other purposes.
You can capture water within your home, too. Place a bucket in your shower to catch the first seconds of cold water while you wait for it to heat up. Leave the bucket in the shower until it gets full, and then empty it on your lawns.
Where available, in recent years most new homes have been connected to the ‘third pipe’ wastewater system, giving access to non-purified water for general usage. If you have this – it’s frequently a purple tap in your garden – you should always use it as your primary source to water your lawn.
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