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Summer Lawn Care & Maintenance

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Proper lawn care throughout the summer encourages a healthy, lush, and aesthetically pleasing lawn. Regular watering, mowing, and maintenance practices help maintain vibrant green color, thick turf, and a visually appealing lawn. Summer can bring intense heat, drought, and increased foot traffic on lawns. By implementing appropriate care practices, such as deep watering, proper mowing, and pest control, you can help your lawn withstand these stressors and remain resilient.

Watering Lawn

Summer is a prime time for an influx in weed growth and pest infestations. Sustaining a healthy and well-maintained lawn helps reduce soil erosion, filters pollutants, improve air quality, and provides a beautiful place to enjoy. Whether it’s a backyard barbecue, a game of catch, or simply enjoying the view from your porch, your outdoor experience can certainly be enhanced by a healthy lawn.

Warm-Season Lawn Care

Watering: Deeply water your lawn infrequently, but thoroughly, especially during hot and dry periods. Aim to water approximately 1-1.5 inches per week: preferably in the morning or evening when air flow is at its calmest – to avoid evaporation. You can also set an automatic timer during this time to consistently water for you.

More lawn issues arise from overwatering than underwatering. Warm-season grasses are particularly drought-tolerant depending on your soil type. Sandy soils may require more frequent watering, but not necessarily more water per week. Avoid puddles and runoff.

Remember: Lingering footprints in grass and light blue-green color can be signs of minor drought. All grasses under stress are susceptible to disease.

Drought-tolerance: Warm-season grasses are typically more drought-tolerant than cool-season grasses. Allowing your lawn to partially dry out between waterings encourages deep root growth. This will help develop more robust root systems.

Sharpen Mower Blades: Ensure your mower blades are sharp enough to cleanly cut your lawn. Dull blades can tear the grass, leading to browning and disease susceptibility.

Mowing: In the summer, a shorter grass height is recommended for warm-season grasses. Keep the height between 2.5 and 3.5 inches.Lawn Mower Blade

Remember: Do not remove more than one-third of the grass height at the time of mowing – this avoids lawn stress. Also, scalping, or mowing too frequently can accelerate the growth rate, reduce quality, and canopy density, and encourage weed encroachment.

Fertilization: Apply a slow-release nitrogen-rich fertilizer in the late spring/early summer. About 0.5-1lb. per 1000 sq ft.

Remember: Be cautious not to overfertilize, as this can lead to excessive growth and increased maintenance requirements.

Weed Control: Monitor for weeds, and promptly address them. Apply pre-emergent herbicides in late spring or early summer to prevent germination of summer weeds – when temperatures are no higher than 85 degrees – as this can cause injury to turf. Spot-treat any existing weeds with appropriate post-emergent herbicides or remove them manually.

Remember: Even healthy grass can see weeds pop through here and there. Make sure to read your labels on when you should apply weed control and at what the max temperature for application is before applying.

Pest & Disease Management: Keep an eye out for common pests such as grubs, armyworms, or chinch bugs. Chinch bugs may sporadically occur in buffalograss or zoysiagrass. Billbug damage may occur on zoysiagrass. White grub damage is uncommon. Apply appropriate insecticides if necessary.

Maintain Irrigation Systems: Regularly check your irrigation system for leaks, clogs, or inefficiencies. Ensure that sprinklers are functioning, and that water is being distributed evenly across the lawn. Adjust settings as needed to provide even coverage.

Seeding: Now is the time you can begin establishment for warm-season grasses if you haven’t already! The risk of frost has passed, and now varieties such as buffalograss and zoysiagrass can be seeded or plugged.Seeding

Tips:

  • Application of post-emergent herbicides is not recommended in the late summer (August-September); especially since herbicides have a max temperature they can be used before causing stress to your lawn. Summer annual weeds will naturally die after the first frost.

  • Frequent shallow sprinkling of water is not recommended. It only encourages shallow, weak roots, crabgrass, and disease development.

  • Now is a great time to get a soil test, to learn more about your soil!

 

Cool-Season Lawn Care

Watering: Deeply water your lawn infrequently, but thoroughly, especially during hot and dry periods. Aim to water approximately 1-1.5 inches per week: preferably in the morning or evening when air flow is at its calmest – to avoid evaporation. You can also set an automatic timer during this time to consistently water for you.

More lawn issues arise from overwatering than underwatering. Cool-season grasses are susceptible to fungal growth due to overwatering. Sandy soils may require more frequent watering, but not necessarily more water per week. Avoid puddles and runoff.

Remember: All grasses under stress are susceptible to disease.

Side Note: Bluegrasses, fescues, and other cool-season grasses naturally go semi-dormant to protect themselves in the summer during periods of high temperatures and drought. They can cease to grow or turn brown but bounce back quickly with sufficient water and cooler temperatures, typically by September. Due to its deep root system, tall fescue remains greener for a longer period during the summer than other cool-season grasses. 

Mowing: Adjust your mower blade to a higher setting to maintain a taller grass height. Longer grass shades the soil, reducing evaporation and weed growth. Keep the height between 2.5 and 3.5 inches. Allow clippings to remain on your lawn unless excessive.

Tall Fescue: 3-4 inchesLawn Mower

Kentucky Bluegrass: 2-3.5 inches

Perennial Ryegrass: 2.5-3.5 inches

Fescue: 2-3 inches

Remember: Do not remove more than one-third of the grass height at the time of mowing – this avoids lawn stress. Also, scalping, or mowing too frequently can accelerate the growth rate, reduce quality, and canopy density, and encourage weed encroachment.

Sharpen Mower Blades: Ensure your mower blades are sharp enough to cleanly cut your lawn. Dull blades can tear the grass, leading to browning and disease susceptibility.

Fertilization: Avoid fertilizing cool-season grasses during the summer, as it can promote lush growth and increase water requirements. Early May is the best time to fertilize cool-season grasses.

Remember: Save fertilization for the fall when cool-season grass is actively growing.

Weed Control: Monitor for weeds, and promptly address them. Spot-treat any existing weeds with appropriate post-emergent herbicides or remove them manually.Weeding

Remember: Even healthy grass can see weeds pop through here and there. Make sure to read your labels on when you should apply weed control and at what the max temperature for application is before applying.

Pest & Disease Management: Keep an eye out for common pests such as grubs, armyworms, or chinch bugs. Apply appropriate insecticides if necessary.

Maintain Irrigation Systems: Regularly check your irrigation system for leaks, clogs, or inefficiencies. Ensure that sprinklers are functioning, and that water is being distributed evenly across the lawn. Adjust settings as needed to provide even coverage.

Tips:

  • Cool-season grasses can be less tolerant to stress in hot weather, so it is recommended to limit heavy foot traffic and heavy objects on your lawn during the summer months.

  • Frequent shallow sprinkling of water is not recommended. It only encourages shallow, weak roots, crabgrass, and disease development.

  • In the last week of August, soak dormant lawns to start fall growth.

  • Now is a great time to get a soil test, to learn more about your soil!

 

What will help me this season?

Organic Maintenance Fertilizer 18-1-8+fe

Organic-based slow-released nitrogen fertilizer blend with Iron; ideal for top-dressing lawns, fairways, and sports fields. Provides 12-16 weeks of nutrient release.

Organic Seed Starter Fertilizer 4-6-4

Organic-based slow-released starter fertilizer replenishes soils with a rich supply of humus and essential nutrients. Increase the nutrient and water-holding capacity of the soil., strengthens plants' tolerance against dry conditions, increases soil's ability to suppress plant pathogens, and increases soil porosity and stability for great root development and water-holding capacity.

Seed Aide® - Cover Grow™, Water Retaining Seed Starting Mulch

Advanced technology pellet made from recycled wood and cellulose fibers. Pellets quickly expand when activated by water, dispersing to provide outstanding protection and water-holding performance where needed. Can be used as a spot treatment for bare spots, or hydro spraying larger areas.

Shoulder Strap Broadcast Seed Spreader

Corrosion, tear, and weather resistant 20lb. nylon bag hopper is equipped with a zippered top for easy filling and closure. Contoured modeled base, adjustable shoulder strap, rocking agitator, spring load shut-off, and a collapsable body for easy storage.

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