• Mow lawns lightly and frequently, producing short clippings that are best left on the lawn during hot weather to act as a moisture-retentive mulch. Any excess plant debris (thatch) can be scarified out during autumn maintenance. Mulching mowers cut the clippings even more finely than normal rotary blades, making the mulch less visible.
  • Cut summer-flowering meadows if the plants have shed their seeds – see our guide to meadow maintenance.
  • Resist the temptation to water established lawns, even in dry spells – grass should cope  well with drought and although it may die back, it will soon recover once rain returns. See our advice on caring for lawns in drought. Only new lawns (see below) need watering.

  • For lawns on thin or poor soil, consider applying a high phosphate feed. This will strengthen the roots for winter, rather than encouraging lush top growth that could suffer in the cold and weaken the grass.

  • See our guide to spring/summer lawn care.

New lawns

  • Water areas that were newly sown or turfed in spring every few days unless it rains, to keep them going through their first summer. Use collected rainwater or grey water if possible. If resorting to a sprinkler, only water for the minimum time needed to wet the roots sufficiently but not excessively – judge this by placing an open jam-jar on the lawn and run the sprinkler until 13mm (½in) of water has collected inside.

  • Cut new lawns every week or so,   as required, progressively lowering the height of the blades until they’re back at the normal level. But in hot weather, keep the blades high or   stop mowing for a while.
  • Use your new lawn as little as possible until autumn.

  • Prepare the ground if you want to make a new lawn this autumn by weeding and digging over the soil. Leave it for a few weeks to allow weeds to re-emerge, then hoe off to ensure you’ve thoroughly cleared the site. Alternatively, you could apply weedkiller


  • Browning of lawns is common in hot, dry summers and nothing to worry about. Avoid wasting water on established lawns if possible, as they will soon green up again once it   rains. However, if you want to keep    a small lawn green, use collected rainwater or grey water (washing-up water or bath water). Good autumn lawn care (scarifying and aerating) should help to reduce browning in subsequent summers. Also see our lawns in drought advice.
  • Smaller brown patches can have many causes, including dog urine, petrol or oil from a mower, weedkiller and fertiliser overdosing – see our guide to remedying dead patches on lawns.

  • Yellowing grass that contains small pinkish-red strands may be caused by red thread. This fungal disease is common on light soil in wet summers, when nitrogen can be washed away. A nitrogen-rich fertiliser should remedy the problem, but take care to use fertilisers sparingly to minimise environmental impact.

  • See all our lawn care advice.


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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.