For many homeowners, summer lawn care,the grass and landscaping around their homes, is a great source of pride. During the summer it also serves as an entertaining space for friends and family, making it important for people to keep their lawn vibrantly green and lush.
The following 6 summer lawn care tips are useful to help keep your lawn green during the summer months.
1. Apply approximately one-inch of water weekly.
Regardless of the grass type, most lawns need 1 to 1.5-inches of water weekly either via rainfall or a sprinkler system. The soil type in your yard and the local climate influence how often you water your lawn and how much to apply each time. Sandy soils and hot, dry climates need watering more often than clay soils or areas that are cooler. Space irrigation events less frequently with more water each time to encourage a deeper root system and increase drought tolerance.
2. Fertilize to provide needed nutrients.
Over time, actively growing grass will deplete nutrients from the soil, requiring you to apply fertilizer to increase the “food” available for plant uptake. The fertilizer needs of your lawn are slightly different than other landscape plants — needing predominantly nitrogen, with less phosphorus. This encourages lush, green, vegetative growth, and increased plant vigor. A lawn fertilizer with a nutrient ratio of 20-5-10 or 18-6-12 is recommended for most grass types.
During the summer, apply a slow-release, granular fertilizer every 6 – 8 weeks. Time each application just before watering so the fertilizer is watered into the lawn well.
3. Mow correctly.
It’s important to mow your lawn correctly to keep it looking pristine. Start by making sure the blades on your lawnmower are regularly sharpened and free of nicks/gouges. When mower blades become dull or chipped through regular use, they begin to “tear” the grass instead of cleanly cutting it through. Tearing causes stress in the turf and more water is capable of evaporating through the torn edge of the grass blades. Keep the height of the mower deck adjusted to remove approximately one-third of the height of the grass each time you mow. Taller grass casts more shade on the soil below, helping to reduce evaporation, retaining more soil moisture. Keeping the grass taller also helps encourage a deeper root system to increase drought tolerance of your lawn. And the last step, get a lawn edger to edging your lawn after mowing, keeping it always beautiful.
4. Keep weeds under control.
Most homeowners will admit weed control in their grass is one of their toughest challenges. Not only are they unsightly, but weeds also compete with the grass for resources such as water, sunlight, and soil nutrients. The best defense against weeds is growing a strong, healthy lawn by watering, fertilizing, and mowing correctly. A small stand of weeds can be pulled by hand if you wish; a large-spread problem is better treated with chemical herbicides. They can be applied as a spot treatment or in a combined product that fertilizes and combats weeds simultaneously.
5. Pest Management
Compared to other yard plants, turfgrass is relatively resistant to insect pests and diseases. Keeping your lawn well-watered and fertilized strength its natural defenses, helping ward off insect pests and diseases. Most pest trouble in the lawn is usually created by critters that burrow below the surface such as moles, voles and grubs. Watching closely for problems, and treating them quickly, minimizes damage. Telltale signs of these pests include brown spots in an otherwise green lawn, dead and/or dying patches, missing or thin roots, and holes in the soil.
Grubs are by far the most damaging pest to infest lawns. They devour the root systems feeding just below the soil surface. Infestations typically appear during the hottest part of the summer and is made worse by increased watering. Apply chemical treatment as soon as symptoms present themselves in the lawn.
6. Aerate or dethatch.
Over time healthy grass creates a layer of dead or decomposing grass shoots, stems, and roots between grass blades and the soil surface. Also known as “thatch”, this thick layer creates a barrier that stops water and fertilizer from moving down into the soil. Aerating or de-thatching your lawn alleviates these problems, allowing better water and nutrient movement.
Aerating is simply the process of poking holes through the thick grass, to create openings for water and nutrients to move through the thatch. The best time to aerate is during the active growing season when the grass can heal itself; lawns can be aerated annually if necessary. Dethatching is done with a manual or power dethatching rake. These sharp-tined rakes rip part of the thatch out, opening up the impermeable layer.
Growing a lush, green lawn throughout the summer is a goal of many homeowners. With proper care through watering, fertilizing, mowing, managing weeds and pests, and aerating your lawn will look healthy and vibrant, making it a place to enjoy all summer long!