Home Gardening techniques Lawn care: coping with seasonal and climate change

Lawn care: coping with seasonal and climate change

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Guest blog by lawn expert David Hedges-Gower. Picture; David Hedges-Gower
Guest blog by lawn expert David Hedges-Gower. Picture; David Hedges-Gower

Expert David Hedges-Gower shares his grass survival tips

After last week’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on climate change, it’s vital that we know how to care for our lawns in extreme weather conditions.

Grasses are naturally very adaptable but also often appear to suffer most from drought, waterlogging and low temperatures.

Good lawn care is about working with, not against, nature.  So let’s look at weather types:

Lawns are very water intensive but will survive
Lawns are very water intensive but will survive

Lawn care during drought

After long dry periods, your lawn can look like a dead wilderness but it will revive.

The key is the soil, as it will shrink during drought when the air is being squeezed out.

That is why aeration is so important, following your usual routine or doing it at the same time as scarifying or overseeding.

Don’t worry about watering, leave this to nature, eventually natural rainfall will bring the soil moisture back to normal.

Cows flood
Threats of increased rainfall

Effects of waterlogging

If your lawn has been flooded, wait. The water will eventually drain away and you don’t need many rain-free days for the ground surface to become drier.

Working on saturated soil can do more harm than good.

When it has dried out, you will need to aerate more regularly than you usually do, as the excess water will have squeezed out the air from the soil.

Don't do this to a frozen lawn! Picture; David Hedges-Gower
Don’t do this to a frozen lawn! Picture; David Hedges-Gower

Dealing with snow and frozen ground

When the ground is frozen nothing happens, the air and the water in the soil will still be there and a blanket of snow isn’t too much of a problem.

However, if snow is lying on non-frozen soil, this can create a warm canopy over the ground, providing the ideal environment for disease pathogens to activate.

Once the snow has thawed, keep a vigilant eye out for signs of disease.

Good for the environment

Grass is a plant and takes up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and if we sequester it, we can help to remove it from the atmosphere.

So, even when you think your lawn has stopped growing, it still does its bit for the environment.

Adaptive grasses need no help.  Our methods just need to adapt a bit too.

For more information, visit www.davidhedges-gower.com.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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