Get your lawn ready for summer – and tackle a few last-moment spring grass project – with these quick tips on how to prepare.
Clean Up Debris
Debris is a big problem for your lawn after winter storms and spring showers. You’ll want to clean up your lawn with a rake to avoid problems down the line. Pine needles can cause acidity problems, salt washed out from winter ice-melting can poison grass, and leaves can choke out grass and encourage mold. In other words, it all needs to go, and that probably means a couple clean-up sessions leading up to summer. Your lawnmower will also thank you, so this is far from a useless activity.
When to Fertilize
Ideally, you should fertilize your lawn in early spring, so the grass is strong and healthy by the time that summer heat rolls around. However, if you haven’t put down a fertilizer in more than a year, then late spring and early summer are still acceptable times to give your lawn some extra strength to survive the hottest parts of the year. If you are wondering how to mow during the summer, aim for a mower height around 3 inches or higher.
Save Water by Irrigating Smartly
Irrigation may be a problem in the summer, especially if water use is regulated in your area. Generally, if you want to water, then water deeply every couple days, letting water soak into the soil rather than just sit on top of the grass and evaporate. If you are not watering, don’t switch back and forth: Let your lawn go brown and dormant over the summer. This can help your lawn survive more easily when the time comes for you to irrigate again.
If your lawn is a little overgrown, then early summer is a safe time for core aeration. This procedure – which is handled by professionals or by hobbyists using a professional aerator – removes plugs from your lawn to open up the mat of grass to make it easier for water and nutrients to reach the soil beneath. Ideally, aerate before temperatures rise over 60 degrees. Otherwise, you are just making it easier for weeds to find new growing places in your garden.
Seeding and Herbicides
If spring passes you by and you haven’t seeded or applied herbicide yet, you may be better off waiting until fall – most weeds have already dug in by the time summer hits. However, you can still try seeding patches in more mild climates – just be careful when using herbicides while seeding, because most herbicides can kill grass seed, too. In late summer, it’s smart to apply herbicide once again as another crop of weeds starts seeding.