Summer- the most difficult time of year to keep your lawn looking green and healthy. There are many factors that cause a lawn to look unhealthy: droughts, under fertilizing, over fertilizing, cutting the grass too short, and just plain wear and tear from use. How do we answer the question, “What can we do to save our lawn?” Learning when and how often to fertilize, how to effectively water, and the most efficient ways to cut grass are a few simple ways to keep your lawn looking green and healthy this summer.
Learning when to fertilize and how much to use is a great first step to keeping your lawn looking green. For the best summer results, fertilize the lawn twice; Once in the spring, and once in late summer. Fertilizing in the spring is a great way to feed the lawn after a long winter and prepare it for the summer, but should be done lightly. Too much fertilization in the spring can cause stress on your lawn when the stress of summer comes around. When fertilizing in late summer, it is best to use a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen to support your lawn through the colder seasons.
Often people make the mistake of over fertilizing unhealthy grass. Using too much fertilizer burns out the grass often killing it or making it hard for grass to grow. Also, if the grass is brown, don’t bother to fertilize. Wait until the fall, when the lawn has had a chance to heal itself.
Learning how to effectively water the lawn is also important in keeping your lawn green and healthy. It is best to water the lawn in the morning or early in the day to help prevent evaporation and fungal growth. Watering for longer periods of time and less frequently helps build up drought resistant grass with a healthy root system. Once the grass goes brown or dormant during the summer, do not try and water it back to life. Just let it stay dormant until the fall, as it should recover on its own.
It is recommended to give your lawn about an inch of water per week, and a little more when it is extra hot (80 degrees or higher). The best way to measure the amount of water your lawn is getting on a weekly basis is to use a rain gauge.
Oftentimes, people end up cutting their grass too short which can lead to more weeds, an underdeveloped root system, and in extreme cases can even kill your lawn. Cutting the grass at about 3-4 inches is the perfect length for the summer. This allows the grass to shade the ground and keep in moisture, which helps the roots grow bigger and stronger making it much more difficult for weeds to grow.
After cutting the grass, mulching the grass clippings is an effective way to keep steady moisture levels. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to remove the clippings from your yard. They act as natural provisions for your grass and add nutrients each time you mow.