As the weather starts to warm up after a long winter, many homeowners immediately break out the lawn equipment and make sure that their grass returns to its healthiest green hue. Over the course of a hot and dry summer season, however, that work can be hard to maintain. Instead of letting summer’s weather ruin the hard work that took place earlier in the year, a few basic tips and hints can help keep the grass healthy, green, and vibrant until the first frost of autumn. These tips fall into five distinct categories.
In an ideal summer season, frequent thunderstorms and showers will keep the lawn watered perfectly without intervention. That rarely happens, however, so it’s good to be armed with hydration strategy in advance. Generally speaking, the most common types of grass found outside today’s homes and businesses require about one inch of water per week. Any less may put the grass in jeopardy, while excessive watering of the lawn can cause weak roots, fungus growth, and other challenges.
When watering the lawn, make sure to do so early in the day so that water evaporates in the midday sun and avoids encouraging fungal growth. Most grasses can also benefit from less frequent watering that still adds up to an inch per week. This will strengthen the roots and make them far more resilient in dry conditions or prolonged droughts.
If fertilizing the lawn, homeowners should do so before the arrival of traditional summer weather and temperatures. Generally, all fertilizer products recommended fertilizing the lawn no less than 30 days before the onset of hot weather. This allows the fertilizer to reach the roots without heat impacting its nutrient profile. It also ensures that the chemicals contained in the fertilizer don’t burn the grass and cause widespread brown patches as daytime temperatures ramp up.
3. Pests and Diseases
Dry lawns are significantly more prone to infestations of everything from fire ants to mosquitoes. In addition to being harmful to humans over the course of the summer, infestation of these insects can cause the lawn to lose access to crucial nutrients during the dry months when it needs them most. To keep insects at bay, keep the lawn properly watered especially during dry spells. Keep an eye out for insect problems, and eliminate them using lawn-safe pesticides if necessary.
Another common problem during the summer, especially when the weather is wetter than average, is the growth of fungal diseases and mildew. To keep these problems at bay, homeowners might want to stop watering their lawn during particularly wet periods. It’s also a good idea not to water the lawn at night, since there is no way for water to be properly evaporated. Instead, water early in the morning.
4. Mowing Considerations
Though there is an inclination to create short turf around the home reminiscent of an athletic field, this is actually not the best practice during the summer. In fact, longer grass tends to provide more protection from very hot weather or dry conditions. As a result, it’s generally recommended that homeowners raise their mower deck to a pretty high level during the hottest months of the year. This will help the lawn deal with common weather conditions in June, July, and August, without browning.
Homeowners are also encouraged to use a mulching mower rather than on that collects clippings. The mulching process helps the lawn insulate itself against midday heat, and therefore allows moisture to be retained for a longer period of time. Whether mulching or collecting clippings, ensure that the mower’s blades are sharp so that they do not tear the grass and expose it to a higher risk of disease.
5. Ditching the Weeds
During the hottest parts of the summer, homeowners are encouraged only to pull weeds out manually. While products like postemergent herbicides perform well at removing and killing weeds without affecting the turf, they cannot properly perform this job when the temperature is over 85 degrees. Homeowners should plan accordingly, using these herbicides only during extended stretches of cooler weather. Otherwise, pulling out weeds remains the best way to create a consistent lawn free of nutrient-draining plants and distractions.
For Lawn Maintenance Equipment, Parts and Service, Visit Ralph Helm, Inc.
Proper lawn care requires the right combination of fertilizers, water, pesticides, and all kinds of great equipment. Whether it’s a push mower, a riding mower, a garden tractor, or products like edgers, aerators, and dethatchers, customers local to Elgin and Crystal Lake, IL, will find what they need at Ralph Helm, Inc. The company features a full lineup of power equipment products and parts from today’s leading manufacturers, and even offers a parts lookup tool online that makes it easy to find the right components for ongoing maintenance or occasional repairs.