10 Tips on How to Protect Your Lawn in a Heatwave

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Looking for advice on how to protect your lawn in a heatwave?

The UK is often associated with poor weather – especially rain. But occasionally, we do experience sudden heatwaves in the build up to the summer months. Understanding how to care for your lawn correctly during hot weather can be what decides whether it thrives and survives or falls victim to the heat.

This guide will take you through our expert top tips for protecting and caring for your lawn during a heatwave in the UK. If your turf has already suffered, you can use these tips to help your garden bounce back and get ready to look great all year round.

Here’s our tips to keep your lawn healthy during the heat:

  • Mow your lawn correctly
  • Aerate your lawn
  • Water your lawn at the right times
  • Avoid artificial turf
  • Look after yourself
  • Add shade to your garden
  • Stop fertilising and avoid lawn feed
  • Keep foot traffic to a minimum
  • Get rid of the weeds
  • Use a water conserver treatment

Mow correctly and frequently in hot weather

An essential step in lawn care is a good mowing schedule. More importantly, in the hot summer months and especially in a heatwave, you need to know how to mow your lawn turf correctly. When you do come to mowing your lawn, make sure that you set the mowers blade height correctly.

RHS recommend keeping your blade height to between 13–25mm.

To help your lawn further in a summer heatwave you’ll want to make sure you mow at the right intervals. In summer, you want to look to mow your garden no more than once a week. In long periods of excessive heat, you should consider extending that to every 2-weeks.

Aerate your lawn

During a heat wave, your lawn can start to repel water. This isn’t the turf itself, rather the soil underneath it. This is otherwise known as becoming hydrophobic. When this happens, water will simply start to run off instead of being soaked up by the soil.

So if you want to keep your lawn green when summer strikes, make sure you make the effort to properly aerate it. You can aerate your lawn using spiked shoes or even a scarifier that has built in aeration spikes.

Not only will proper aerating help moisturise your turf, The University of Minnesota says that it will also help developer a deeper and healthier root system for future growth.

How to water your lawn

It wont be a great shock to learn that during hotter weather, lawns become dehydrated and tend to dry out due to the heat stress.

During periods of drought, don’t water your lawn too much. Established lawns don’t necessarily need watering because when normal rainfall resumes, the dry patchy areas will recover on their own.

However, if you have recently installed new turf, you’ll need to take a different approach. In this scenario, you’ll want to water the new turf every 7-10 days until its established – using a sprinkler system can be very effective in ensuring an even watering.

Depending on where you are in the UK, you may experience a hosepipe ban. In which case, avoid using mains water, and consider using stored rainwater from a water butt or even discarded bath water or washing up water.

Avoid installing artificial turf

For most, installing artificial grass may seem like a good option to help protect against intense heat. In fact, it can have the opposite effect. In hot weather, artificial grass can retain heat which is a big no no if you have children and tiny little paws running around.

Despite having the lush green look all year, synthetic turf is a plastic-based product and although we stock it and can supply it – it’s not great for the environment. If you’re set on laying a new lawn, we’d encourage you to stick to natural turf if possible and work on a reliable summer maintenance routine.

Look after yourself – This is non-negotiable

If you find yourself struggling in the heat, don’t hesitate to get yourself inside, rehydrated and cooled down. It’s important to look after yourself when working in the garden in hot weather. It’s very easy to lose track of time and become over-exposed to the sun.

Drink plenty of fluids, apply sun cream regularly and make sure you take regular breaks. Keeping yourself healthy, will contribute to keeping your lawn healthy too.

Unfortunately, the data doesn’t lie. A 2023 study by Taking Care revealed that 12,003 people in England died from heat-related causes during summer periods classed as heatwaves.

Add some shade to exposed areas

You already know how a little shade can help your lawn in extreme heat. Just take a look at the grass under your garden table or kids trampoline. It’s almost always green and healthy when you compare it to the rest of your lawn.

One of our favourite tips for keeping your lawn healthy in the heat is to add in some shaded areas. This doesn’t need to be an extravagant landscaping project. Something simple like adding a parasol into the ground for over-exposed areas can really make a difference and give the lawn needs it requires.

Some other ways to add shade for a healthy lawn could to:

  • Plant some decorative trees in hot spots
  • Use a windbreaker
  • Add a garden sail or pergola

Reduce feeding or fertilising

Give your garden a break and stop fertilising your lawn in hot weather.

Lawn feed and fertiliser contains nitrogen. Adding more to your grass in hot weather won’t help things, especially in a heatwave. Dry grass has a pretty bad tendency to react badly in hot weather when fertilised as the feed itself actually sucks more water out of the grass which will only lead to more dry, brown patches and even worse… scorch marks.

So help protect your grass and avoid feeding until it cools back down.

Try to keep traffic to a minimum in the sun

Another of our great lawn care tips during hot temperatures is to avoid stressing it further by allowing a lot of traffic to cross it. During heatwaves, your grass is already under a lot of excess stress from the sun – allowing too much traffic on it will only damage the grass blades and roots further.

A few more reasons why you should avoid walking on your grass in hot conditions:

  • By walking on it you’ll add additional damage to already bald and patchy areas.
  • You’ll compact the soil further, meaning that it will take longer for healthy grass to bounce back. not to mention you’ll leave visible footprints that can effect the aesthetic of your turf. 
  • Walking on it will increase the recover time.
  • Walking on it too frequently, could end up causing permanent damage and even kill your grass.

Crackdown on weeds

As part of your summer lawn care routine, now is the time to really take a stand and crack down on those pesky weeds! Whether its on the main lawn or around the lawn – get yourself armed with your weeding tool of choice and get rid whilst the hot weather dries them out.

Removing your weeds at any time is good advice, but especially during a heatwave.

Apply a water conserver treatment

If you want your lawn to stay and maintain a healthy appearance, using a water conserver could be a good option for you.

These are sometimes referred to as a soil wetting agent, but in simple terms, they help the soil retain moisture as they allow the water to penetrate it with ease which can be great for root growth and health in hot summer conditions.

A few other reasons why you might want to consider a water conservation treatment include:

  • Reduced water bills
  • A more even distribution of water which helps reduce dry spots
  • Much deeper root development and growth
  • Less heat stress on the grass

We hope you’ve found this guide to maintaining a healthy lawn in summer useful. If your garden is struggling and you’d like some extra advice or help, you can contact our team of experts any time.

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