As temperatures consistently reach above 95°, we typically start to see problems in our turf. Drought and disease can quickly take a toll, so it’s important that you have a strategy in place to care for your lawn throughout the summer.
Here are our top five tips for maintaining a happy, healthy summertime lawn.
- Mow at the right height
Adjust your mow height to allow grass to grow a little taller, approximately 4”. This provides additional shade to keep soil cool, help retain moisture, and allow roots to grow deeper. You should also ensure blades are properly sharpened to prevent tearing and stressing your grass plants.
- Adjust your watering practices
Keep a regular watering schedule 3-4 days a week, but increase watering time by 10-50%.
The best time to water is early in the morning. The objective is to have moisture reach a depth of 4-6 inches and to allow grass to dry between watering. If you water too close to the hottest part of the day, it will evaporate before reaching the roots. You can also fry your turf if the temps are high enough. If you water too late in the day, it can create a damp breeding ground for disease.
If you have an irrigation system, programming your timer for the hotter months can be tricky. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, and we understand this can feel daunting. Particularly as we are all working hard to keep household bills down.
Our resident expert, Brent, has shared some tips on setting up your system for success this summer:
- Start by adjusting run times and days of the week in line with the watering recommendations above.
- Dry weather can be an excellent opportunity to identify coverage gaps. Ideally, your irrigation zones should have overlapping head-to-head coverage. If that is not happening, you will likely notice brown spots and wilting plants.
- Encroaching wood lines, overgrown bushes, and low-hanging limbs can also interfere with the function and efficiency of your sprinkler heads. These should be trimmed back to maximize sprinkler reach.
- Consider a smart timer. Smart systems make automatic adjustments for you based on the season. Some are even equipped with sensors to detect local weather and adjust watering accordingly. They can also be accessed anytime, anywhere, from the palm of your hand so you can keep an eye on things while on vacation.
The best practice is to schedule two irrigation tune-ups throughout the season. It is an opportunity to adjust timer settings based on seasonal needs, make sprinkler head adjustments, identify malfunctions or repairs, and ensure your zone setup is optimized to reduce waste and save money. If you need guidance on programming your system for summer, Brent can help. Schedule a time using our online calendar.
- Be on the lookout for disease
Brown spots can be a sign of a dry, stressed-out lawn. But it can also be an indicator of turf disease. To minimize the risk of disease, follow summer watering instructions to avoid creating a breeding ground for fungus.
You should also keep an eye out for nutsedge, an invasive grass-like weed identified by its lime-green leaves and triangular stems. It often pops up in late June-July and spreads very quickly. It can be difficult to eradicate, so it’s best to treat it as soon as it appears.
If your turf is in trouble, but you aren’t sure whether it’s drought or disease, send a photo to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help identify the problem and advise on the best course of treatment.
- Stay on top of weeds
Prevention is the best defense. You can learn more about how to identify and tackle weeds in our handy guide available here.
- Keep it clean
Make sure you clean up after your pooch and rinse regularly used potty areas. You could even designate a potty spot away from your lawn using artificial doggy turf or rocks. Avoid driving or parking on your grass, and don’t leave large objects like bikes, toys or lawn games lying around for extended periods of time. This can scorch and suffocate your grass plants.
A little extra attention over the sunny season can go a long way to keeping your lawn looking its best and party-ready all summer long!