We would all love a garden that is green and lush all year round, but when the heat of summer hits and the rain stops falling, this can have a major effect on your lawn, killing your grass and the surrounding trees and plants. But don’t despair… there are a number of ways to tackle the side effects of dry periods and ensure your lawn stays healthy through these sometimes lengthy spells.
1 – Protect your garden’s biggest asset
Your trees should be first on your checklist as they are expensive to replace, and also provide a shade for parts of your garden, which in turn will keep it cool and less thirsty for water. The Blueberry Ash, Tuckeroo tree or Water gum are all great Australian native trees that protect your lawn (and family) from the summer sun. A helpful strategy for strengthening your trees during drought is to drill several holes about half a meter deep around the base of the tree and fill them with compost (keep away from the trunk though!). These holes will allow water reach the tree’s roots, keeping them hydrated and healthy. A planting auger attachment on the STIHL BT 45 will make this task a breeze.
2 – Love your lawn
There are two ways for water to escape your lawn: evaporation, which is when water escapes from your lawn’s surface, and transpiration which is when water sweats from the stems and leaves of surrounding plants. It’s also a good idea to aerate your lawn during the warmer months, as the compacted soil will allow the water to easily evaporate from it. It’s also important to water your lawn slowly and with sprinkler or fan hose. This will reduce the amount of water lost through transpiration. It’s also important to watch for and remove all bugs and pests as they come out into your lawn looking for food during dry conditions.
3 – Mulch away!
Mulch is key to protecting your plants and flowers during dry spells. Un-mulched soil loses twice as much water as mulched soil so 5-10cm of good organic mulch or compost will lock in moisture, reduce the soil’s temperature, prevent compaction, and suppress water stealing weeds. Even though Grevilleas, Bottlebrush and Kangaroo paws are all drought-tolerant local plants, they still benefit from mulch and a good drink through the hot summer. If you are able to water your lawn, water plants slowly and with a sprinkler or fan hose, as plants absorb water better this way, similar to how they do when it rains.
4 – Reuse, reuse, reuse
Be smart and conserve water in any way possible during hot conditions. Don’t go straight for the tap when it’s time to water. Collect roof water from water tanks if you can and use that first. Wet your soil slowly and deeply by using a sprinkler system or fan hose. This will avoid water sitting on top of your lawn, waiting to evaporate. It’s also the best practice to water your lawn and plants in the morning or in the evenings when humidity is high as you’ll lose less water to evaporation.