Summary of this month's tasks:
Check the mower is in good order - we are in peak mowing season and now would be the worst time for a breakdown.
Make either your first or second summer fertiliser application.
If overseeding, be aware that during July the limiting factor for the young plants will be soil moisture, rather than soil temperature. Keep at eye on the weather forecast - it could be better to wait.
You should now be mowing every 5-7 days. This could be as often as twice per week in periods of frequent rainfall, and optimal growing temperatures - low to mid teens by night and low 20's by day are perfect for our 'cool season' grasses. If you've been working hard on the lawn up to this point ready for summer then don't neglect on your mowing frequency. If you're taking more than a third of the plant with any one cut then you aren't mowing often enough.
Along with a summer frequency, you should also be mowing at a summer height which could vary between 18-30mm. If your lawn is starting to lose colour then it's likely you're mowing too close. Stay on the high side if possible. The lower end of that bracket is for lawns close to moss and thatch free that are cut weekly at least.
Aeration will improve drainage, getting water away from the surface where it can cause problems including but not limited to waterlogging, moss and disease, along with improving root depth and mass. Aeration also improves gaseous exchange, aiding the natural breakdown of thatch.
It's a little late to be aerating now. Best to hold on until September / October onwards.
Now is a good time for a summer base feed of a slow release product which is balanced by high in nitrogen. Mind your application rate... Too high and you'll produce a grass factory this time of year. Remember that it will work out cheaper for us to feed your lawn, and with superior products.
Now is the ideal time to treat for weeds with strong plant growth. Professional herbicides are only to be purchased and applied by those with the correct certification, however garden centres do provide some reasonable products. Look to spot treat. The best way to deal with weeds is by encouraging a dense grass coverage.
Scarification, over-seeding, top-dressing
Aside from the depths of winter, July is maybe the worst of summer months for any rennovation work. Any scarification should only be light in the form of brushing, verticutting or grooming reels. Seed must be kept moist. Large areas are best left until autumn is upon us.
The grass plant is very drought tolerant and will recover from a dry period. However, for a healthy lawn looking its best, you may b tempted to water the lawn between June and September. If doing so water deeply, infrequently (1-2 times per week). Only watering lightly will not encourage the roots to grow deeper if the water is close to the surface, hindering the drought tolerance of the plant. A treatment plan and winter aeration will aid deep, strong root growth. Evening is the best time to irrigate with evaporation rates low.
Now is normally a good time for some hedge trimming - making sure the lawn can make best use of the light it requires, but do mind the area is free of nesting birds. If you get this done before mowing then a rotary mower should help you to clear up the smaller debris.
Keep an eye out for area of disease. Red thread is the most common in lawns. It enjoys mild to warm, damp or wet conditions where the leaf of the plant has remained damp for a period of time - it's the grass catching a cold. If you've aerated and are mowing regularly the lawn should look after itself. A light feed high in N and K along with the above maintenance practices will set things right.