Tips To Maintain Your Lawn With Summer Heat
Summer time is upon us as we have been feeling the drastic temperature change. Our lawns can feel the summer heat, too! We are going to give you a few tips to help maintain your lawn through the heat. There are a few things that we have good intentions when doing, and it may surprise you that what you are doing actually causes more harm than good.
Tip #1: Water your lawn in the early morning.
Often we think it is best to water our lawn in the morning and evening or just the evening after a long hot day. This actually harms your lawn more than you realize. When you water your lawn in the evening this gives fungus a chance to grow in its best habitat, the hot, damp, darkness. We want to avoid any chance of a “fungus among-us”. It is best to water in the early morning so that during the heat of the day, the excess water that the roots don’t soak up will evaporate instead of trying to cook your grass in the heat.
Tip #2: Avoid using fertilizers with nitrogen levels over 15. Instead, use organic products.
During extreme heat of the summer, we often want to feed our grass to help it stay strong and survive. But when you use a fertilizer like 15-0-15 or 24-0-8, the nitrogen levels are too high and will burn your grass leaving large brown spots. Instead use an organic fertilizer like Mighty Grow (4-3-4) or Milorganite (5-2-0).
Tip #3: Water your lawn on an as needed basis.
With the summer heat, we might think we need to water our lawn everyday to prevent it from burning or drying; however, we may actually be hurting our grass in the long run by doing so. The best way to irrigate an established lawn is on an as needed basis. Proper watering practices will help develop a deep root system. When our lawns become “thirsty”, the roots go on a mission to look for more water. This causes the plant to dig a little deeper, which in turn, helps the lawn to become stronger when it does get the water it needs. A deep root system will help prevent hard damage to the grass in the winter time. Where as watering everyday creates a shallow root system which will cause the lawn great distress in the winter, making it harder to bounce back from dormancy the following spring.
Tip #4: Avoid using weed killers when the temperature is over 85 degrees.
We recommend products like atrazine, weed free zone, and weed out with crab grass killer to anyone that has weed issues in their lawn in the early spring. However, in the summer heat, these chemicals will not only burn your lawn but often kill your grass. It is best to use dimension which will sterilize any seeds that the weeds spread and hand pick the weeds when you see them until the fall season.
Tip #5: Watch your lawn for signs of stress.
Our lawns will often communicate with us to let us know what it needs. You will notice your lawn starting to wilt by keeping an eye out for grass blades folding in half, turning a bluish green, or not recovering from foot traffic. If 30%-50% of the lawn shows any signs of the slightest bit of wilting, it is then time to irrigate with approximately 1 in of water. The lawn should not be watered again until it shows signs of SLIGHT stress. The best way to water is to mimic the natural environment. Think about a normal rain shower, it will rain hard for a little while, and then stop. A few days later, the same thing will probably happen. Keep this in mind when determining how much water to use on your lawn.
Tip #6: Bag your lawn clippings when mowing to contain weeds until fall.
As we mentioned before, using weed killers could be detrimental to your lawn. By bagging your clippings, it will help prevent seedlings from spreading across your lawn and help to contain your weeds to one area that you can pick by hand until fall comes.