Summer heat can take a toll on turf, especially if your lawn care program is not up to par. Mow too low, water too much or too little, or ignore early signs of insects or disease, and your lawn could quickly lose its luster or even die in small or large patches. Keep your lawn looking its best all summer long and into fall by mastering these 10 summer care tips.
1. Mow at the proper height.
In the heat of summer, adjust your mower to leave grass taller – to the upper end of the recommended mowing height. Taller grass shades soil, which reduces water evaporation, leads to deeper roots and helps prevent weeds. Ideal mowing height varies with grass type and even variety. Mow frequently so you're never removing more than one-third of the leaf surface at a time.
2. Water Efficiently.
For the healthiest grass, water your lawn deeply and infrequently, allowing it to partially dry between irrigations. Check with your local water authority or Cooperative Extension System office for recommended irrigation schedules specific to your area. Discover tips on how much water a lawn needs. Learn the basics of lawn watering.
3. Watch For Insects and Disease.
Insects and diseases can quickly devastate a lawn. Check with your local Cooperative Extension System office for potential problems in your area.
4. Clean up after your dog.
The family dog, or your neighbor’s, can cause dead spots on a lawn. If you see the culprit in action, flush the area with water to dilute the urine in soil. This will also help speed recovery of dead spots you know are the result of a busy dog. The best solution is to create a mulched or gravel area and train your dog to use it for bathroom breaks.
5. Don’t park on the grass.
Driving or parking on the lawn is always a bad idea. It compacts the soil, which can cause a host of other problems, including dead grass. During drought or times of excessive heat, it's even wise to limit or redirect foot traffic on grass to avoid damaging the grass.
6. Sharpen mower blades.
A dull mower blade tears grass, creating ragged, brown edges, providing the perfect opening for disease organisms. Sharpen your mower blade regularly or have a professional do it. A general rule of thumb is that a sharp blade withstands about 10 hours of mowing. Consider purchasing a second blade so you'll always have a sharp blade ready to replace a dull one.
7. Leave the clippings.
If you're following the one-third rule described above and mowing grass at the right height, you can let clippings lie on the lawn. This practice is called grasscycling and saves you time, money and fertilizer while reducing the waste that ends up in landfills.
8. Feed warm-season grasses.
Warm-season turf grows vigorously during summer and needs fertilizer to maintain that growth. Check with local Cooperative Extension System office to find out about fertilizer schedules for your region. Do not fertilize cool-season lawns during summer when the grasses naturally grow slower – it can promote disease problems and weaken the turf. Instead, feed in fall or early spring.
Summer activities mean toys, water games, chairs or tools are often left on the grass. Pick-up everything frequently to avoid damaging the lawn and creating dangerous obstacles while mowing.
10. Control weeds.
Apply weed controls, such as Natria Lawn Weed & Disease Control to help control weeds. Always read and follow label instructions. For more on controlling weeds: Top Techniques For Killing Weeds.