It’s thirsty work for a lawn during the summer; let’s look at the problems and how we can help.

It may be raining men in Aretha Franklyn’s world, but that masculine precipitation is of no use whatsoever to your dry lawn, as it struggles to cope with soring temperatures and long periods without water.

You may be wondering why your lawn in turning brown and what you can do to help it remain healthy throughout the summer.

Drought and heat

When temperatures rise and rain doesn’t fall, lawn grasses become dormant. Brown grass leaves are a good indicator that your lawn is beginning to suffer from drought. The plant protects itself from death by withdrawing available moisture to the roots, causing leaf die-back. When moisture returns the lawn will soon recover, however you may want to water your lawn so you can enjoy its lush and healthy appearance throughout the summer season.

When and how to water

The biggest mistake made when watering a lawn is too-little, too-often. To help your lawn to become more drought resistant add enough water to encourage a deep root run so grass is more capable of finding water in the soil when things dry up. To green up a browning lawn add one inch of water once a week. If you simply want to ensure you lawn doesn’t die completely during a severe drought add half-an-inch of water every two weeks. To measure how much you are watering simply place a container on the lawn under the sprinkler spray.

Alternatives to watering

Science is a wonderful thing and a number of products have been developed for the management of tennis courts, golf and bowling greens. These products, not available on the high-street, can help to improve the water retaining ability of your lawn. Help to make grass plants more drought resistant, and greatly improve the appearance of your lawn during dry periods. Speak to a lawn care professional for more information; you may be surprised how effective and affordable this is compared to running up a large water meter bill.

Fungal disease

Warmth and moisture can help promote fungal attack of your lawn grasses. Brown patches on your lawn may be an indicator that your lawn is under attack. Watering and moisture from dew add to the problem. Early diagnosis followed by the relevant treatment is essential. It’s important to examine the area of grass around that which is dying in order to correctly diagnose the problem. If you have patches of brown on your lawn speak to a professional who will be able to help put it right.


Grass plants require a neutral pH level to enable them to access available nutrients. High pH could well be a contributing factor to grass browning once it becomes stressed from high temperature and low rainfall. Ask a professional to take soil samples and test the pH. If necessary a correctional treatment plan will address the pH balance and give your lawn the opportunity to thrive.


Lawns support a variety of insects, most are beneficial. Your lawn could be under attack from its two greatest pests. The first is the chafer grub; the young of the cock-chafer beetle. The second is the leather jacket; the young of the crane fly. Both of these pests damage the roots of grass plants and can be a cause of die-back during times of heat and water stress, when the lawn struggles to compete with its hungry nemesis. Correct nutrition and treatment plans will keep this problem under control.

Doggy doo – doggy don’t!

If a dog uses your lawn as a toilet then the nitrogen and other compounds in the dog urine can cause grass scorch. This is especially noticeable during periods of dry weather as the rain isn’t washing the urine through the soil and diluting it. There are products on the market to help reduce the impact of dog urine on your lawn if you think it might be a part of the problem.

What’s hiding beneath?

Do you really know what’s hiding beneath that area of brown grass in the middle of your lawn? Might there be something under the surface preventing roots from become well-established? At other times of year the grass plants can cope with these obstructions, but once you introduce the stresses of heat and drought only those plants that are healthy and receiving the right nutrition will survive.

Mowing and nutrition

Mowing your lawn at the correct height throughout the season will greatly help it when the weather presents challenging conditions. If your lawn is correctly mowed, has a weed and feed treatment programme in place and has fungal issues treated correctly to ensure it is healthy, then it will be capable of coping with the stresses of drought and heat. A lawn that is already suffering from stress before the challenging weather arrives will fair less well. Speak to a lawn care professional to ensure your lawn looks its best throughout the year and is something you can enjoy and be proud of.