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Raise the blades on the mower before cutting fine lawns. This will help reduce drought stress.
Mow lightly and frequently so that short grass clippings can remain on the lawn during hot summers to act as a moisture-retentive mulch. Excess thatch can be scarified out during autumn maintenance next month. Mulching mowers cut the clippings even finer than normal rotary blades, making the mulch less visible.
Lawns on thin soils may benefit from 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.
Avoid using lawn weedkillers in late summer - they will be more effective in the cooler, damper autumn weather.
Dig over any areas due to be grassed over later in the year. Leave them for a few weeks to allow weeds to re-emerge, and then spray with a weedkiller or hoe off to ensure thorough weed clearance before seeding or laying turf in the autumn.
Summer meadows may need mowing now if they have past their season of interest, especially in areas of the country where autumn comes earlier. In warmer parts of the UK, spring and early summer meadows that have extended their period of interest well into the summer could be cut now if not done already.
Browning of the lawn is very common at this time of year. Don’t water the grass unless absolutely necessary. It will green up when the autumn rains arrive.
Browning can be partially prevented next year by ensuring that the lawn is well scarified, aerated and drained later in the autumn, and that any soil compaction underneath is remedied before the following growing season.
On amenity and garden lawns, discrete brown patches are usually the product of dog waste, bitch urine, spilt petrol or oil, or weedkiller and fertiliser overdosing.
On finer turf, especially if it is underfed and frequently mown, patches can be the result of disease such as red thread (on sandy soils) and dollar spot (in damp weather). Feeding usually helps eliminate these problems.
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Things to do in the garden this month
Trees and shrubs
Greenhouse, conservatory and houseplants
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.