This summer is a bit different from what we’ve had in the past. La Niña has caused cooler day time temperatures, increased rainfall, and warmer temperatures at night, but what effect does this have on your lawn?
With the increased rain, we are getting less sun and more overcast cloudy days – this can cause issues as your grass is not getting the light it needs. Turfgrass needs sunlight to produce sugar. This energy is then used to convert water and carbon dioxide into glucose. After glucose is created it is used throughout the turf for growth. Grass also uses sunlight to produce a pigment called Chlorophyll which in turn makes your lawn green.
If there is an increased amount of moisture in your lawns soil and conditions don’t allow for the area to dry, this can cause diseases to develop in your lawn. Diseases can develop in your lawn when there are damp and humid conditions, common with La Niña.
Aeration will help fracture up your soils profile to improve your soils drainage. This will help excess moisture in your soil drain away to help avoid fungal diseases from occurring. To aerate your lawn, you can either use a garden fork or tyne aerator to punch holes into your soil, allowing water to move through the soil profile. This will help stop the pooling of water on your lawn. You can find out more information on aeration here.
During periods of extended rainfall, nutrients in your soil can leach and drain away. To help replace these nutrients you can apply a soil conditioner like Lawn Kelper to help replace these nutrients. Lawn Kelper is a natural bio stimulant that enhances nutrient efficiency and encourages beneficial micro-organisms within the soil. Along with the main ingredient Kelp, Lawn Kelper includes a balanced ratio of macronutrients including Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, with trace elements including iron, manganese, and fulvic acid.
Gypsum and dolomite are also advantageous to be applied to improve soil health.
During extended periods of rainfall and overcast skies, your lawn will continue to grow but may become long and straggly (mainly upright leaf growth looking for sunlight).
If the lawn has grown a bit longer than you like between mows it is best to raise your mowing height slightly to avoid scalping the lawn once the rain has finished.
During extended periods of rainfall where you are unable to mow, it is best to stop encouraging extra growth by fertilising your lawn. This will help your lawn grow at a slower rate when it might not be able to get frequent mows.
Plant growth regulators like Primo Maxx can be used to help slow the growth of your lawn down while you are unable to mow frequently. Please have a look at our blog on PGR’s here for more information.
During La Niña, in most cases you won’t need any additional irrigation to your lawn. While it is raining frequently it is best to turn off your irrigation and stop watering.
La Niña is also a time where insect and disease pressures are extremely high. For insects, preventative control is your best option. We recommend using a preventative insecticide like Acelepryn GR every 6 months.
The most common diseases that occur from rain, overcast conditions, and extended leaf wetness are – dollar spot, grey leaf spot, brown patch, and fusarium. These can be treated with contact and preventive fungicides. Please have a look here for more information.
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