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How to keep your lawn looking good all summer

It's prime lawn care season, and while you're probably mowing your grass diligently to maintain a beautiful lawn, there are some other things you can do to keep it looking great year-round. 

According to the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, we’re in what might be Australia’s hottest-ever summer on record, thanks to an El Niño climate cycle.

TAFE Queensland has put together tips, tricks, and tools to give our lawns some extra TLC this year to keep them looking pitch-perfect this summer with the help of Andrew Milner, Educational Team Leader.

Andrew spends his days training the next generation of horticultural professionals, sports turf managers and landscape designers - so he knows a thing or two about lawn care.

First thing’s first – prep

There are a few things to consider before getting stuck into your backyard. Andrew suggests noting how much shade your lawn gets, soil type, bare patches, and what you intend the lawn to be used for; is it an urban sanctuary or the perfect field to kick to the footy with the kids? Understanding these elements will help you maintain it properly over the summer.

When you’re getting serious about your lawn, you’ll need proper tools, including possibly even a lawn roller.

Have you got the right tools for the job?

Whether prepping or maintaining your lawn for summer, you’ll need some key pieces of equipment.

If you’re starting from scratch and planning to completely overhaul your lawn, a walk around with a rotary hoe will help improve soil condition.

For those revamping an existing lawn, you can use a lawn roller when conditions are perfect to help smooth out any uneven lumps and bumps to get that perfect levelled look.

Equipment can be expensive, so Andrew recommends hiring your lawn tools to use the right tools without the hefty price tag.

“Hiring specialised equipment is cost-effective to ensure tasks are done well without overcapitalising infrequently used gear,” he says.

Timing is everything

During the summer, some grasses grow rapidly, so it is necessary to mow your lawn regularly. The best time to do this is on a dry day. Mowing on a wet day can damage the grass, clog the mower, and leave a poor finish. For those who enjoy clean lines, use a line trimmer to get a crisp finish along the boundaries of your lawn.

As for watering, Andrew’s rule of thumb is to irrigate every day in summer when the grass is young and cut back to every third day when the grass is older.

A hose at home will do the job perfectly, but if you have a bigger area, a built-in system might be something to consider.

Supplementing lawns with granular wetting agents is also helpful in summer. These ensure soils hold onto water for longer and watering can be reduced.

Feeding the lawn

Feeding your lawn is essential for its health, and it is important to choose the right fertilisers. During the summer, a fertiliser balanced with nitrogen and potassium helps provide regular growth for recovery and improved density with additional stress resilience.

“CK88 Fertiliser is a great multipurpose fertiliser suitable for lawns, gardens, fruit and vegetables and flowers,” says Andrew.

Remember to read the instructions carefully when working with fertiliser and apply it only in the recommended quantities.

Cleaning up

In some cases, leaving the grass clippings on your lawn after mowing can benefit the grass, as they will return essential nutrients to your lawn as they decompose – provided the clippings aren’t too long.

If your lawn cuttings have come across your pathways or decking, you can use a cordless Lawn Blower to clean up the area quickly. Blowing the turf cuttings away into an area and sweeping them up is the easiest way to keep your lawn crisp and clean.

Year-round maintenance

Andrew also stresses the importance of controlling unwanted weeds throughout the year before they take over the lawn in warmer months.

Non-chemical weed control can include regular mowing with the mower blades set higher in winter to avoid spreading competing weeds.

Weeds can also be removed by hand with a daisy weeder, which removes stray daisies, dandelions, and other weeds from lawns.

An extensive range of lawn weed herbicide spray options are available, from Weed and Feed hose attachments to applications that kill a broad range of weeds and simultaneously provide fertiliser.

Selective sprays also target and kill specific weeds, allowing your lawn to flourish.