Summer Lawn Care
Summer Lawn care is an important consideration for your Lawn. Generally, There is not a lot of labor involved in maintaining your summer lawn. For the most part, Summer maintenance mostly consists of ensuring that your lawn is receiving an adequate supply of water and that you are mowing it correctly. If it sounds pretty simple that’s because it is! There are a few other things that should be considered as well for your Summer lawn maintenance. I’ll cover those in more detail below.
Keep your summer lawn mowed! Letting it grow to tall during the summer months will increase the demand your lawn puts on the soil. One of the most important considerations you need to take into account when mowing is the height that you mow it to. You should keep within the upper range of recommended mowing height. Mowing too low will invite a rapid loss of valuable water due to evaporation.
Sunlight is essential to almost every grass type that you use in turf lawns. However, when coupled with the high temperatures you can quickly end up with dried out hard pan if the lawn bed is exposed to direct sunlight. Consequently, mowing to the upper range of the recommended mowing height for your lawn is a best practice. You’ll be providing the lawn bed with shade to keep it from drying out and damaging the root and rhizome structure which is the foundation of your lawn, There is a good reference section on mowing in this site that will give you further mowing information.
Letting your summer lawn go for even a short period of time without adequate water can be disastrous during the summer month’s. A good investment is a quality rain gauge. Make sure that your lawn is receiving a MINIMUM of 1″ of water a week, This is a minimum! 2″ of water is far better. If you don’t have a rain guage your next best bet is to keep an eye in how your lawn looks. Your lawn will tell you when it is starting to become stressed due to a lack of water.
The color will change on most turf grasses to a silvery green look, the leaves on many of the turf grasses will appear to be thinner and more brittle, the most tell tale feature that you will see when your lawn needs water is that the grass will not spring back up when stepped on. You’ll leave distinctive footprints on the grass when it is in need of water.
One last piece of advice regarding watering. It is far better for your lawn to water heavier and less frequently then to water lightly and frequently. Getting a good soak down to the soil is important. If the blades of grass are the only things getting wet and that water is evaporating very soon after then you will have given your lawn very little benefit from the watering.
Insecticides and Herbicides
So long as your summer lawn is in a general state of good health application of insecticides should be well tolerated. In many cases you may want to use insecticides for reasons other then lawn care, Fire Ants, Ticks, Fleas, establishing a barrier around your house being good examples of these reasons, Be careful to follow the manufactures instructions and your lawn should be fine.
I would avoid large scale treatment for weeds during the summer months. My preference is to spot treat with a broad spectrum herbicide for large broadleaf weeds or pulling out the offenders! One thing you may want to consider is to do what many golf courses do. Keep a container handy of seed mixed with either peat moss or sand (depending on the type of grass you have) and when there is a bare spot, from a weed being pulled or chemically spot treated, sprinkle some of this mixture on there to help patch it up.
Refer to the section on Weeds and Insects for additional information on these topics.
I generally avoid fertilizing during the heat of the summer. It can be difficult enough at times to control the rate of application. If you factor in the heat and longer then desired dry spells fertilizing during the summer months can be destructive. I’ll repeat this again, Avoid fertilizing during the summer months. If you feel compelled to fertilize, reduce the rate at which you are applying. This will help reduce the risk of fertilizer or nitrogen burn.
Pools, whether small plastic pools, slip and slides or any other “container” will kill your lawn if left on the same spot for extended periods of time. If you need to use these move them around so that the same spot is not subjected to the stress
Animal Urine. The dreaded brown or dead circle of grass. If you catch the malcreant in the act then water in. Have you ever seen what happens to the grass around the dead ring? It actually grows in lusher and greener. The reason for this is that through bacteria the urine undergoes a cycle of turning first into ammonia, then nitrites and finally nitrogen, which is an important element of fertilizers. I’m not suggesting that you use your pets as fertilizers. But by watering it you will dilute the urine and in a way contribute to the fertilization of your lawn and avoid burning the grass.