All the time and money you spend on lawn care throughout the year is done for one season of the year – summer time! Picnics, throwing the ball around with the dog, playing catch with your boy, and neighborhood bragging rights are all possible when you follow these simple summer lawn care tips.
Mowing height – Mowing higher is probably the most important tip I can give you. June, July and early August is prime time for drought stress. Depending on where you live, water restrictions may apply, so you have to maximize the water you have access to. Mowing the grass higher helps hold the water for longer periods of time. I recommend mowing at least 3 inches tall, if not a little longer.
Mower blades sharpened – When your lawn is stressed by hot weather, you have to do what’s in your power to keep the grass as healthy as possible. Dull mower blades tear the grass, not cut it. Torn grass can weaken the grass making the lawn more susceptible to lawn diseases. Torn grass blades leave white tips on the end, and from a distance, the white tips can make the green shade of green look lighter than it really is.
Fertilizing – You have to be careful what kind of fertilizer you apply in the Summer. If you’re on top of watering and your grass is green and healthy, applying a summer fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen is fine. Weed and feeds are also okay during the Summer months. But, if your lawn is dry because of lack of water a high nitrogen fertilizer can actually burn/kill your grass. Another option is organic fertilizer, in the form of mulching your grass clippings. Mulching returns nutrients from the grass clippings back into the soil. Compost is ideal, but some compost is loaded with nutrients that might be too strong for stressed lawns, and like some bagged fertilizers, it can burn the grass too.
Watering Practices – Mowing height and proper watering practices go hand and hand in the summer. Hopefully you don’t have to worry about watering restrictions, but if you do, mow the grass higher so your lawn can hold water for as long as possible before it evaporates. As far as watering times go, water in the early morning, between 4am-8am. A couple of inches a week should be your goal. Deep watering is best in the summer so it gets down to the lawns root system, but that depends on your soil type. If your soil is hard, it doesn’t make sense to water if most of it is going to run off the lawn.
Lawn Aeration – A lawn aeration is perfect for lawns that are not getting enough water to the root system. Water can be scarce in the summer, so why not maximize the water you do use.
Foot Traffic – If your lawn is stressed because of drought, please limit foot and pet traffic. Grass blades become fragile and can be damaged with excess traffic. When the grass blades don’t bounce back after you walk on it, that’s a sign you should limit activities on your lawn.
Pets – Dogs can cause a lot of damage to a lawn, especially pet urine. Dog pee is very high in nitrogen which can burn the grass, leaving behind brown spots. Patching those dead spots might be necessary, but a good watering program can help minimize this problem. Oh, since we’re talking about dogs, let’s not forget to keep all that dog poop picked up!