Every homeowner dreams of a lush carpet of green outside their window throughout the summer months. However, when that thermometer begins to get really red, the grass tends to wilt and look much less green than you would like. There are methods of summer lawn care that will help your grass to continue to look its best no matter how hot the weather gets. The keys in a beautiful summer yard are all in the watering, mowing and fertilizing techniques that you use during the warmest months of the year.
Summer lawn care is not terribly complicated, but there are some modifications that you should make when the really hot weather hits. By following these tips in summer lawn care, you will be able to enjoy that lush carpet of green all summer long.
Most of us also know that summer lawn care needs to include regular feedings for our grass, but caution needs to be exercised in the warmest weather when putting chemicals onto our lawn.
The damaging culprit in fertilizer is nitrogen, and although it is an essential nutrient for a healthy lawn, it can also burn a lawn that is on the dry side already. Since you will still need to fertilize during the warmer months as part of your summer lawn care, make sure that you opt for one that contains a slower release of nitrogen to protect your lawn while you feed it.
And if you are preparing for a heatwave with several days over the ninety-degree mark, you may want to wait a bit on that feeding until the temperatures cool off slightly.
It may seem that mowing is never done when it comes to your summer lawn care. However, although it may be tempting to keep that grass short during the summer months to cut down on the frequency of your mowing, shorter grass does not retain moisture and dries out more quickly.
When the weather cools down a bit, you can reduce that length by an inch or so. Part of good summer lawn care is giving that little bit of length to keep grass moist and lush when the sun is beating down.
Summer lawns can be more vulnerable to insects and pests like grubs, Japanese Beetles, armyworms, fleas, mosquitos, and fire ants. These pests feed on your grass, causing it to wilt and die.
If you don’t take care of this you could end up with bare spots and dead patches.
Pests like Japanese Beetles lay eggs on your lawn. These eggs hatch into grubs. Grubs start hatching over the summer. At a normal level grubs won’t damage your lawn, but if they infest the lawn then you’ll want to treat them.
Of course, your summer lawn care will consist of regular watering, but do you really know the proper way to use your sprinkler most effectively when the weather heats up? The first step is watering at the proper time of day, which will either be early in the morning or later in the evening.
Most summer lawn care experts prefer the morning hours, since leaving moisture on the grass at night can lead to a greater likelihood of a variety of diseases. Make sure that you water long enough for the water to soak in at least six inches since this will encourage more robust root growth, which will lead to a healthier lawn.
It is important to act early in the summer to get your weeds under control. At the end of the spring, weeds tend to have established themselves. Be sure to treat them early before they can bloom and spread seeds.
Our organic-based weed treatments target the weeds native to our area. Our formulations reduce the number of chemicals needed to treat and control weeds on your lawn to reduce their impact on the environment. If your lawn is already stressed from heat and/or drought then be careful applying any weed control as it can stress your lawn more.
As the weather warms, our lawns start to see more activity. Whether it’s kids playing, lawn mowing, cookouts or get-togethers mow activity on your lawn can lead to stress and damage to your lawn.
If there are parts of your lawn that see more traffic consider installing paths or stepping stones to minimize foot traffic on stressed lawns. If your lawn isn’t stressed and you’re getting plenty of rain you can apply seed and fertilizer to high traffic areas to help your grass recover.
Fungal diseases thrive during the summer. Powdery mildew and a brown patch can devastate your lawn if they are allowed to grow and flourish without treatment. Quality fungicide treatment is a great way to prevent fungus from spreading in your lawn.
Avoid watering in the evening if you can as leaving your lawn wet at night creates an environment where fungus can thrive.
When you mow your lawn in the summer it is okay to leave behind your lawn clippings or some of your lawn clippings. Over time the clippings will break down. The nutrients created by their decomposition will feed your lawn and help it grow.
Your clippings should be shorter now that you have raised your blade, but if for some reason you have a lot of clippings that might blanket or cover patches of your lawn to prevent sunlight or nutrients from reaching your grass then be sure to remove some of them.
1. Water Deep, But Not Too Frequently
Summer heat and drought can cause extreme stress on your lawn. The dry and hot weather depletes the moisture from your soil. A lack of moisture in your lawn can cause it to wilt, reduces root growth, and makes them more susceptible to pests, weeds, and disease.
Water your lawn thoroughly once or twice a week.
You want to water enough that the water reaches 4 to 6 inches deep into the soil to saturate the roots. If you’d like to measure the water penetration, push a screwdriver into your soil. If the soil is hard and difficult for the screwdriver to penetrate, you’ll need to water more. If the screwdriver penetrates the soil too easily then you need to water less.
If you are able to it is best to water your lawn early in the morning. If you can water your lawn prior to the sun rising that will keep the sun from drying up the moisture before it can saturate your lawn.
Be sure to keep your eye on the weather forecast. You don’t want to water your lawn too much if there is a lot of rain in the forecast.
Early in the summer when your lawn is growing it is important to feed your lawn to help it and it’s roots grow. As the weather gets warmer and your lawn gets stressed, it is important to be careful when you feed your lawn. Proper nutrition can help your lawn continue to thrive in the summer, but you don’t want to burn your stressed lawn by feeding it too much. If your lawn has gone dormant, do not fertilize, wait until it greens up again in the fall.
If you notice brown ends on your grass, that your grass is torn, bent or broken or your cut is uneven chances are your blade is not sharp enough. Sharpening your blade can be dangerous so it is best to trust a professional, but if you decide to check it yourself use extreme caution.
First, remove the spark plug wire. Disconnect the spark plug and the power source. This MUST be done to ensure the mower does not start while you are repairing it.
Second, turn the mower on its side. Be cautious when turning the mower over. Be sure the air filter & carburetor are facing up. Mark the blade with chalk or another substance to identify the underside. Use a wrench to remove the blade.
Third, clean the blade with a wet rag prior to sharpening it.
Fourth, if you are sharpening by hand, use a file or grindstone. Keep the file or grindstone at a 45-degree angle. Following the angle of the existing edge sharpen the blade and take care to even out any rough spots. If you are using a bench grinder, move the blade back and forth against the wheel. Following the angle of the existing edge sharpen the blade and take care to even out any rough spots.
Be careful not to over sharpen. The blade doesn’t need to be razor-sharp to be effective.
Next, reinstall the blade. Be sure to remove any grass or debris that has built up under the blade in the mower prior to reinstalling. Be sure to check the mark you made on the blade earlier so you can be sure you are putting the blade back in the mower properly. Use a wrench to retighten the bolt. Reconnect the spark plug and spark plug wire.
Late Summer Lawn Care Tips
Over the course of a long hot summer, if your yard isn’t properly watered the moisture slowly dries up, compacting the soil and making it difficult for water and nutrients to penetrate deep and feed your roots. At the end of the summer, prior to fall lawn care treatments aerating your lawn is a great way to break up that compacted soil to allow nutrients to get deeper and feed your lawn’s roots.
A core aerator is the best tool for this job. A core aerator pulls up plugs or cores from the soil. This creates holes that act as little air vents to get water, air, and nutrients to the roots of your lawn. An additional benefit of aeration is creating greater soil-to-seed contact when you seed your lawn.
It is not unusual for heat and drought stress in the summer to cause bare patches, brown patches, and thinning patches on your lawn. Combine that with increased activity on your lawn and the chances of bare spots, brown spots and thinning patches only increase.
Luckily, at this point, you don’t need to reseed your entire lawn. If your lawn has bare spots, brown spots, and thinning spots just spot seed or overseed your lawn by hand. Sowing seeds in bare spots, brown spots, and thinning spots in your yard can quickly fill them in provided they receive adequate water and nutrition.
Hot, dry weather in the summer limits and eliminates the moisture necessary to keep your lawn healthy. A lack of moisture in your soil restricts the growth of both your lawn’s roots and shoots. An extended lack of moisture can cause grass blades to wilt and turn from lush green to light green, yellow, and even brown.
The best way to maintain moisture in your lawn is to water it thoroughly once or twice a week rather than lightly watering it frequently. Less frequent and more thorough watering mimics the summer conditions of long periods of hot, dry weather with quick, powerful rainstorms.
In general, a lawn needs one inch of water per week to maintain proper moisture. We find that it is best to water your lawn in the morning before the sun has risen so the water has time to penetrate the soil before the heat from the sun can cause it to evaporate.
Before watering be sure to check for any water restrictions in your area and respect them. Be careful when you place your sprinkler, you don’t want to waste water on your sidewalk, driveway, or street. Move your sprinkler or hose regularly so one area does not get over-saturated. Monitor the weather and account for rain. If you’ve had a lot of precipitation you won’t need to water as much.
Mother Nature loves to cover. If you let a bare spot, brown spot or thin patch go for too long, Mother Nature will fill that area in with weeds quickly.
Some homeowners don’t mind weeds. They prefer to let their lawn be covered naturally as long as the coverage is green. Other homeowners prefer their lawn be covered by turfgrass.
For these homeowners, it is important to keep an eye on their lawn and be on the lookout for bare spots, brown spots, and thin patches so they can over-seed quickly and prevent weeds from growing in.
If you find weeds creeping in on your turfgrass be very careful. The hot and dry weather has already stressed your lawn and treating the weeds with any kind of weed killer or herbicide can cause even more stress to your lawn.