If spring is about getting your lawn healthy and green, the summer is all about maintaining your lawn’s health and appearance. Maintaining the best lawn in the neighbourhood becomes a lot more challenging when the dry summer heat is upon us. Not only do our lawns have to withstand the heat, but they also have to endure the many barbecues, games, parties and increased foot traffic that the summer encourages. Unlike winter, we are less forgiving in the summer. In the summer we all want our lawns to be healthy and boast a vibrant green colour for outdoor activities and entertaining. Homeowners will always strive to fight nature’s heat, humidity and drought by fertilizing, watering and coaxing new growth out of our lawns no matter what the weather entails. However, we must understand and respect the seasonal changes of our grass plants.
Follow these summer loving lawn maintenance guidelines and rest assured that you will have a healthy lawn throughout the dog days of summer and beyond.
Lawns require at least 2.5 to 4 centimeters of water per week, more when the heat is severe to maintain its green colour and steady growth. By using a rain gauge, or something similar, you can track the amount of water your lawn is receiving from rainfall and you can supplement when needed. Lawns naturally slow down their growth in the high summer temperatures. Some homeowners choose to not water their lawns, and allow them to slip into a dormant state during the hot weather. A dormant lawn will appear brown and unattractive; however, it will green up when the cooler weather and rain returns. If you choose to let your lawn go into a dormant state do not try to water it back to life, let it stay dormant until the fall. If you choose to continue watering during drought conditions it is important that you commit to a consistent watering schedule. We recommend deep, infrequent watering because it encourages deep, healthy root growth; Which makes your lawn more drought-tolerant. Try to water early in the day to reduce evaporation and prevent turf disease.
MOWING Proper mowing practices are always important, especially when you are paying for professional lawn care services. The benefits of Weed Man’s comprehensive lawn care programs can be lost by improper mowing practices. The hot summer climate is the most unforgiving time when it comes to improper mowing. Adhere to these tips to ensure that you are following proper mowing practices:
- Ensure that your lawn needs to be mowed. If your lawn has stopped growing, or looks dry and brown, stop mowing.
- Make sure your mower blade is sharp. Dull mower blades will tear the grass making your lawn look unhealthy, unattractive and will make your lawn more susceptible to lawn disease.
- Set your mower’s blade to the highest setting. Longer turf will protect the grass roots from the strong summer sun. Also, low mowing in the summer heat will encourage broadleaf weeds to take over your lawn.
- Mow at the right time of day. Don’t mow your grass during the hottest part of the day or when the lawn is wet. The best time is in the cooler morning hours, or in the early evening.
Fertilizing a dormant lawn is not recommended unless the product being applied is slow release; meaning it won’t actually start to release and encourage growth until conditions are right. If your lawn is being watered and maintained with proper mowing practices your summer fertilizer application will obviously release a little faster. During the summer heat your grass plants will naturally grow slower and will feed less aggressively than in the spring or fall weather. We recommend that you contact your local Weed Man lawn care professional to determine the best fertilizer program for your lawn.
Although lawn disease can occur at any time, the summer always seems to be the worst time of year for turf disease challenges. Most disease issues in lawns are caused by environmental factors such as: High humidity, low light conditions, poor air circulation, compacted soils, radical temperature shifts, etc. Most of these factors are out of your control. However, there are a few things that you can do to make your lawn less vulnerable to summer turf disease:
- Incorporate aeration into your annual lawn care program to reduce soil compaction and to encourage a steady flow of oxygen, water and nutrients to the grass plants. Aeration helps establish strong healthy roots.
- Prune low tree and shrub limbs to increases light and air circulation for the grass plants below.
- Water your lawn in the mornings only.
- Mow high, with a sharp blade, and when the grass is actively growing.
Summer brings quite a bit of stress to our turf plants. Our lawns will begin to struggle a little. Growth will be slower, colour may fade and your lawn may show signs of wear and tear as the grass plants are less able to recover from the stress and traffic. With these lawn care practices you can gently care for your lawn as the temperatures rise.