You’ve booked the holiday, the car’s packed, and you’re off to enjoy some well-deserved time in the sun. But, have you thought about what happens to your lawn while you’re away? If you are away for more than a week your lawn will likely see some substantial growth and be difficult to manage when you arrive back home again.
How long will you be away for?
If you are going away for a week and no longer, then your lawn in most cases should be okay until you get back home. Grass does tend to grow a little slower during the hottest days of summer and can enter a certain level of dormancy. If you are normally mowing once a week or so anyway (depending on your turf variety) then you don’t have anything to worry about. Just give your lawn a mow at a height you normally would the day before you leave.
Take a look at the forecast for the coming week and see if there is any incoming weather that would be of concern for your lawn. If it’s forecast to be hot and dry all week, you might need to take some action in advance especially if you have a cool season variety like fescue.
If this is the case, give your lawn a really good deep watering in the morning or afternoon the day before you leave to help prepare it for the hot days ahead. You can also put a sprinkler on a timer if you want to make sure it stays hydrated while you are away. Many warm season turf varieties are quite drought tolerant and may be able to manage without water for this duration, so deep watering may not be necessary.
Going away for longer than a week?
If you are going away for longer than a week, then you might want to look at getting someone in to maintain your lawn while you are away. If this isn’t possible, there are ways to reduce the harm caused by letting it grow too long.
Once again mow the day before you leave or close to your departure. You may be tempted to cut it nice and short so that it doesn’t get too out of hand while you are away… but don’t! You need to make sure you only remove one third of the leaf at a time. Removing more can cause stunted root growth and deteriorated plant health, which can leave your lawn susceptible to weeds.
When you return home, the same principle goes, make sure you only remove one third of the leaf and take it down back to its normal height gradually. It may require a few additional mows over a couple of days, but it will be well worth the effort taking it down slowly to ensure you don’t undo all your hard work.