Brace yourselves... Summer is coming.
Unless you're an even greater Grass Expert than I am, July and August are bound to do a number on your lawn. Consistent heat and inconsistent rain can take a toll on your turf, and unless you're on the ball, before you know it your once green lawn will have lost all its lustre.
The trick in avoiding a brown, dormant lawn is the right preparation and constant maintenance. Here are some tips to prepare your lawn for withstanding Summer stress.
Make Sure Bare Patches Are Repaired
If you haven't sorted out bald spots by the end of Spring, chances are the problem will only get worse in Summer.
Reseeding patchy areas (no bigger than your palm) can easily be done by hand. Evenly spread some seed across the bare spot to fill in growth gaps in your lawn and water the area regularly. If you have multiple, larger areas of concern, overseeding might be more effective.
Repairing these areas before Summer gets too extreme will make lawn care a lot easier in the Fall, especially if Summer has done a bit of damage.
RELATED > How To Fill In Bare Areas Of Your Lawn
Make Sure Thatch Is Under Control
Thatch is organic matter that develops above the soil surface, mostly consisting of stems, crowns, and shoot growth of the grass. A little thatch is fine, but if your lawn accumulates too much, you could encounter a couple of issues over the Summer.
The first is water uptake. Excessive thatch stops water from reaching the roots, which obviously isn't a recipe for Summer success.
The second issue is destructive insects. Lawn pests like chinch bugs live in the thatch layer and feed off it, eventually causing the lawn to turn brown and die.
Before the onslaught of Summer, make sure your thatch is less than half an inch thick to avoid loss of colour, poor growth, drought stress, and insect infestation over the Summer.
RELATED > What's The Deal With Lawn Thatch?
Even a novice knows that you need to up your watering schedule in the Summer. But with many provinces putting water restrictions in place, it's important that your lawn gets the most benefit from the water it's getting.
That's why it's best to water your lawn early in the morning.
If you water in the afternoon, a large amount of that water will be lost to evaporation. Equally, if you water in the evening, that water will remain wet overnight until the sun dries it off. Leaving your lawn wet for so long can increase the spread of fungal disease, so again, it's not a good use of water.
If you have the luxury of an underground irrigation system that does the watering work for you, you should carefully audit your system leading into Summer.
Take a quick look to ensure all sprinkler heads are evenly watering all areas of your lawn. Shrubs, small trees, and overgrown plant materials can often impede the sprinklers ability to water every area, so make sure the sprinkler heads are pointed in the right spots and are distributing water evenly.
For those of you who manually water your lawn, ensure your hose gets moved around adequately. Some areas might require hand watering (putting your thumb at the end of the hose) to get the areas the sprinkler might not reach.
Last of all, have a keen eye for any areas of your lawn that are showing stress. Chances are the turf is being underwatered, so make sure you don't neglect those spots over the Summer.
Keep Grass A Little Longer
Your lawn won't grow as much as it did in the Spring, but you will still need to mow your lawn. Having said that, you won't have to take as much off.
Leaving your lawn a little longer in the Summer will help it survive heat and drought conditions. Longer grass will shelter the soil, helping keep it cool and moist for longer.
Mowing your lawn too short will stress it out, causing it to go dormant a lot faster and leaving it more at risk of disease, insect infestations, and weeds.
Maintain Your Weed Control Routine
Extra sun rays will benefit any pre-existing weeds in your lawn, so make sure you stay on top of the situation.
During late Spring, get a handle on weed infestations by either hand pulling weeds or using a control product.
Getting rid of pesky weeds before Summer hits will help prevent them from spreading and taking over.
Maintain Balanced Fertility
Balanced fertility throughout the season is essential to your lawn's health. Slow release or controlled release fertilizers are best suited to the warmer season, as they are specially designed to perform well even through drought stress.
Many do-it-yourselfers make the common mistake of using quicker release fertilizer products and over applying during stressful periods, which in turn can be very counter-productive to the lawns health. It's important to remember that even if your lawn is stressed and becomes dormant, maintaining balanced fertility is still essential.
Just because the lawn is brown, it doesn't mean the lawn doesn't need fertilizer.
Prepare For Dormancy
Turf is very resilient. It's important to understand that Summer dormancy is perfectly normal. Your lawn may not look it's best, but it doesn't always mean it's not healthy. When temperatures subside and rain becomes more common, lawns generally recover very quickly and before you know it, you'll be back to lush and green.
To be on the safe side with all of this, give us a call and we'll arrange seasonally timed fertilizer application, weed control, or any other lawn services that might be required.
With just a little regular maintenance, you can protect your lawn this Summer and hold on to healthy turf, even on the hottest days. For more seasonal lawn care tips and tricks, follow us on Facebook or Pinterest.
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