Summer time – we are all probably looking forward to this season where we get to enjoy more outdoor activities, get our feet on the sand, cool down beside our swimming pools, and simply just take advantage of the warm weather.
We’re also guessing that another thing you’re excited about is spending more time on your lawn. Imagine bringing a cold drink outside and kicking back in a hammock as you relax seeing your lush, green grass. While this is what a perfect summer day would look like for most of us, high temperatures during this season can take a toll on your turf. Come July, you may start noticing brown spots on your lawn. This may have you asking, “How do I keep my grass healthy in summer?” There are a number of things you can do to keep your grass green even during the hot season, and this includes proper watering, aerating, fertilizing, changing mowing techniques, and more.
In this article, we’ll share with you the (not-so) secrets to ensuring that your grass stays healthy even during summer. We’ll also provide some lawn watering and mowing tips for this season.
How do I keep my lawn healthy in the summer?
Did you know that a survey conducted by OnePoll for Cub Cadet revealed that Americans spend 32 hours each month tending to their yards? With our deep love affair with our lawns, it’s not surprising why some homeowners will be frustrated if they see patches of dead grass in their yard. Luckily, there are things we can do to keep our grass happy and healthy even during sweltering temperatures.
Observe proper watering
Watering your lawn properly in the summer is essential to keep your grass in good shape. Watering too lightly or too frequently will prevent the roots from being saturated, which is bad for the grass. Watering in the afternoon can only cause too much water to evaporate, which can also do harm to your turf.
Here are tips to make sure that your lawn is properly watered:
- Soak grass in infrequent intervals – In summer, it’s normal not to have rainfall for weeks. During these dry spells, your lawn will become dormant so that it can conserve energy (this is also when you will notice that your grass will appear brown and dry). This is the grass’ natural way of defending itself from drought and will typically recover when the cooler months roll in.Watering your lawn regularly during summer will prevent lawn dormancy. This will not encourage the roots to grow deeper, which is essential for them to endure the summer heat. The best way to water your grass during this season is to imitate the pattern of rainfall in summer. This means soaking your lawn with water at infrequent intervals. Doing this will help saturate the roots better and make your grass grow healthier. A good rule to follow is to soak your lawn under 1½ inch of water each week.
- Water early – The best time to water your grass is early in the morning around 5am with the latest being 10am. Watering your lawn when the sun is already high will not do any good for your grass as much of the water will only evaporate before the soil has the chance to absorb it. If you water your turf too late, when the sun has already set, the grass will not efficiently absorb the water and will only be more prone to developing fungal diseases.
- Be mindful where the water goes – If you have sprinklers, you want to make sure that all of the water are directed to your grass. You don’t want to waste water, which will just end up on the pavement or driveways.If you want a more convenient way to water your lawn and ensure that you’re watering it correctly, you can hire lawn irrigation pros to have an automatic sprinkler system expertly installed.
Adjust lawn mower to highest setting
As the cool temperatures start to increase when summer approaches, grass will also begin to grow slowly. To keep your lawn healthy during these dry months, you want to make sure that it retains as much moisture as it can. One way of doing it is to mow at 3 ½ to 4 inches and less frequently compared to spring. Longer grass will provide ample shade for the lawn’s root system, preventing it from drying quickly. Longer grass blades will also result in stronger and deeper roots, which is beneficial during summer.
Grasscycling (leaving grass clippings on the lawn when mowing) also helps because this will feed the grass when they decompose.
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Apply summer lawn food
Speaking of feeding your lawn, applying fertilizer to your turf during summer will only be beneficial if it’s done properly and at the right time. Generally, it’s not advisable to fertilize your grass during hot weather as your summer lawn care tasks should be mostly focused on watering and mowing the grass as needed.
Fertilizing when the temperatures are high can do two things to your lawn – you will risk burning the grass and/or encourage more weeds to grow. In properly applying fertilizer, it is helpful to know which type of grass you have, cool-season or warm-season, so you know when is the right time to feed your lawn.
It’s ideal to fertilize cool-season grasses (e.g. fine fescue, tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, Bentgrass) in spring and fall during their growth period or when the temperatures average between 60 to 70 degrees. The optimal time to fertilize warm-season grasses (e.g. Bermudagrass, Bahiagrass, carpet grass, zoysiagrass, St. Augustine grass) is when temperatures are 80 to 95 degrees, which is during late spring or late summer.
If you were to feed your lawn this season, look for products that are branded as “summer lawn food”. These products are available commercially and should be applied every six weeks to a lawn that is green throughout the summer. In addition, this lawn food should be used when watering or when there is expected rain as these products have a technology that carries water deeply into the soil.
Like any type of fertilizer, summer lawn food should be applied as directed so you can maximize the results. To ensure that you’re fertilizing your lawn properly, it would help if you hire lawn care services so you’re providing your lawn with the right TLC.
Having weeds on your lawn is surely unsightly, and unfortunately, weeds that appear during hot summer days are the ones that are the toughest to control. These weeds germinate and thrive best especially when your lawn is under stress because of hot temperatures, drought, and humidity.
The best way to deal with weeds is to take care of them immediately and frequently as soon as they start appearing. Weeding your lawn is as simple as pulling them out manually or by using a weeding fork. When all else fails, you can opt to use herbicides on your lawn. However, this may be tricky as you need to identify which type of weed you’re dealing with so that your efforts in weed control won’t be futile. Again, the knowledge of a lawn care pro will be helpful in this situation.
Aerate your lawn
Aerating your lawn means piercing the soil with small holes to allow nutrients, air and water to reach down into the root level. Doing this encourages the roots to grow deeper and stronger.
Like in fertilizing, the type of grass on your lawn will determine when is the best time to aerate it. Warm-weather grasses will benefit from aeration if you do this during late spring or early summer. However, you must avoid aerating during droughts or heat waves because it will only increase the risk of water evaporation.
If you have cool-weather grasses, you must hold off aerating your lawn until late summer or fall. It can only stress the grass when you aerate cool-weather grasses in the middle of summer.
Is it OK to let my grass turn brown in summer?
Of course, we all want our lawns to be green and lush most of the time. Unfortunately, grasses can turn brown and be dormant when temperatures are high and there’s drought. But this doesn’t mean that your lawn is already dead – this is the natural way of the grass to conserve energy and water. Eventually, your turf will break dormancy and grow again once the temperature levels and rainfall become more ideal.
If your lawn gets rainfall in the summer at least every week, then you can let nature do its thing. Heavy rains will provide enough moisture to keep the grass alive while it’s dormant. However, if you’re in the middle of a drought and don’t expect rainfall anytime soon (over four weeks) watering your grass will do the trick.
If you’re worried about whether your grass is only dormant or already dead, you can check by pulling up a single grass plant and then peeling back the individual leaves. You should see green tissue in the middle, which indicates that your turf is still alive. If you still have doubts, you can always seek professional help.
Enjoying a beautiful lawn even in summer is possible. Just follow these tips and you’ll surely keep your grass healthy throughout the dry season!