Summer Lawn Challenges Now that we’re in what many refer to as the “Dog Days of Summer” you may be noticing some changes in your lawn. We Canadians love to talk (or even complain) about the weather. In the winter it was all about the cold, snow and desolate conditions. Then a few months later it’s all about the heat, humidity and drought. In lawn care, there is always something going on related to current weather patterns. Water In many parts of Canada, we are experiencing very volatile weather with summer storms. Tornadoes have even touched down in some areas. There are many places where despite all this wild weather, when you mow your grass, the lawn mower is bumping up and down because the ground feels as hard as a rock. You glance over to your garden/flower bed and notice it looks really dry. Then you ask yourself how can things be so dry with all the rain storms we’ve been having? Certain soils containing high amounts of clay will close up or “harden off” making rain storms virtually ineffective because typically these rain events while intense, provide too much water all at once and it simply runs off the lawn providing little/no benefit to the roots. If this is happening in your area, you may have to supplement with your sprinkler. Of course you must adhere to any all local watering restrictions that may be in place as well. For more information on watering your lawn please click here. Mowing Proper mowing is always essential; particularly when you are paying for a professional lawn care service. The benefits of Weed Man’s comprehensive lawn care programs can be undone almost completely by improper mowing practices. The hot summer weather is probably the most unforgiving when it comes to improper mowing. Here are some basic things to ensure when mowing:
- Make sure your lawn actually needs to be mowed. If the grass has stopped growing, or looks brown and dry, suspend your mowing until you can water and nurse it back to health. If the lawn does not respond to watering it could be an insect or disease issue. For a proper diagnosis please contact your local Weed Man for a Free Healthy Lawn Analysis that will provide you with recommendations going forward.
- Make sure your mower blade is sharp. By this time of year, most blades need sharpening. Ripping or tearing grass blades as opposed to cleanly cutting them, especially at this time of year with high humidity in some areas, your lawn will look unhealthy and will be more prone to disease spores entering grass blades at these ripped/torn areas on the grass blade tips.
- Set your mowing height HIGH! During the summer months make sure your lawn mower is set at either the highest setting or the 2nd highest setting. Anything below the 2nd highest setting on most standard lawn mowers is too low in summer heat. Low mowing will encourage broadleaf weeds (and crabgrass in some areas) to take over your lawn.
- Mow at the right time of day. Don’t mow your grass in the heat of the day, or when grass blades are wet.
For more information on proper mowing, please click here. Diseases Although lawn diseases can flare up at any time, the summer seems to be the worst time of year for disease challenges. Most disease issues in residential lawns are caused by environmental factors such as:
- High humidity
- Low light conditions
- Poor air circulation
- Compacted soils
- Radical temperature shifts
Most of these things are out of your control. There are a few things that you can do to make your lawn more tolerant and therefore less vulnerable to summer diseases:
- Include Mechanical Core Aeration in your yearly lawn care program to reduce soil compaction and encourage
- Prune low tree/shrub limbs to increase light and air for the grass below
- Water in the morning only
- Mow high, with a sharp blade only when grass is actively growing. If your lawn has been diagnosed with a disease, you may want to consult with your local Weed Man about whether to bag your clippings until the disease symptoms subside.
For more information on lawn diseases please click here.