Summer is approaching, and that means rising temperatures and decreasing precipitation. It also means garden and lawn-care challenges. But there are ways to help it stay lush and healthy throughout the season. Follow these summer lawn care rules to make your maintenance efforts more effective and efficient.
MAINTAIN YOUR MOWER
No matter the type of lawnmower you own—be it an electric push mower, a riding mower or even a simple reel mower—it won’t give you a good cut without proper maintenance. If you didn’t do it at the start of the season, now (or any time) is a good time to inspect your mower blade. A dull blade makes for a ragged cut that can cause your lawn to look brown. For best results, get the blade sharpened by a professional. A blade that’s bent, chipped or otherwise damaged should be replaced.
DON’T CUT TOO MUCH
Cutting your grass too short causes stress to the leaf blade, which can lead to browning. On the other hand, maintaining a slightly longer blade height—2.5 to 3 inches—has a few solid benefits. The longer grass shades the soil, which helps slow evaporation after you’ve watered while also making it harder for any newly germinated weed seeds to grow. Root depth is also deeper for lawns that are mowed high. Bonus: Maintaining your turf at a greater height may mean less mowing in summer, since grass grows more slowly during hot and dry weather.
WATER WELL, WATER EARLY
This will vary depending on the weather and the conditions of your yard, but a good rule of thumb for watering your lawn in summer is to do it once every four or five days, allowing for an inch of water to soak the soil. (You can measure this by placing a flat-bottomed cup on the ground within range of your sprinkler, and waiting until an inch of water has accumulated.)
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It’s most efficient and effective to water in the early morning. Turning on the sprinkler on a sunny summer afternoon is a good way to waste water; much of it will evaporate instead of penetrating the soil. Watering in the evening isn’t advisable either: Your lawn will remain wet through the night, which can encourage fungal diseases.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT SEEDING OR FERTILIZING
There’s not much point in trying to promote new growth during the dog days of summer. It’ll take significantly more water to encourage proper root growth. If you don’t provide that water consistently, any growth that does occur is likely to be short-lived. Wait until fall or the following spring—when conditions aren’t so harsh—to spread grass seed or fertilizer.
WHEN IN DOUBT, SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP
Even if you’ve given it proper care, don’t be surprised if your lawn does start to brown during particularly hot and dry stretches of the summer. This browning indicates the grass going dormant due to lack of water. It’s natural—especially for high-traffic patches—and reversible: The grass should bounce back as temperatures cool come fall.
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But if your grass looks like it’s suffering from more than simple summertime stress, it may be time to call a professional. The experts at Nutri-Lawn can advise you on controlling pests like grubs and getting rid of weeds in ecologically friendly ways. Once fall (or next spring) arrives, they can help with aerating, seeding, fertilizing and more, to keep your lawn looking its best year-round.
And if you’re planning to be away from home, consider hiring a lawn mowing service to keep your yard in tip-top condition. It’ll help maintain your property’s “lived in” look, too, while you’re on vacation.
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Get more green: AMA members earn 10% in reward dollars on lawn services provided by Nutri-Lawn.