It’s officially summer and the heat is here in full force. You’re not the only one who can wilt in the heat–your lawn can feel it, too! With a little know-how, you can counteract the summer heat damage to your lawn and keep it a nice, lush green. Here are 5 Do’s and Don’ts for summer lawn care:
When you see brown patches in your lawn, it’s tempting to start watering like crazy to prevent it from dying. Overwatering is a common mistake when it comes to lawn-care, however. Too much water can leave a lawn oxygen-deprived and susceptible to disease. Remember that a lawn in average weather only requires 1 inch of water per week, including rainfall. If you have a programmed sprinkler system, make sure to follow the weather and don’t water after it has rained. “Smart” sprinkler gauges can track this for you, making it easy to be water-wise, and saving you money on your water usage. The best time to water your lawn is in the early morning, allowing water to soak deep into the soil before the heat of the day evaporates it.
Do Keep Mower Blades Sharp
Many homeowners don’t pay much attention to the sharpness of their lawnmower blades, but this can have a big impact on your lawn! Sharp blades effectively cut the grass, causing less damage. Dull blades tear the plants, which causes more damage and takes longer to heal. If the tips of your grass blades turn brown and dry, it’s a sure sign that your blades are too dull. There are online tutorials for how to sharpen your blades yourself, or you can take your mower to a local lawnmower maintenance business.
Don’t Mow Your Grass Too Short
Remember, the grass is a living plant, and it needs the energy to grow. Cutting the plant too short decreases its ability to create energy. Letting the grass grow longer allows it to deepen its roots, drawing up more moisture from the soil. Additionally, leaving the grass longer helps shade the soil and keep less moisture from evaporating in the heat. The ideal summer height for Kentucky Bluegrass and Fescue (the two most common types of Utah lawns) is 2-2.5 inches, but you should wait until it reaches 3-3.75 inches before mowing. In extreme heat, increase these amounts by half an inch to protect the plant. A good rule of thumb is to never cut more than ⅓ of the plant. The best time to mow is after watering the lawn or rainfall, though you’ll want to let the plant dry a little to avoid clumping on your mower.
Do Limit Foot Traffic
If your grass looks dry or yellow, give it some time to heal by keeping foot traffic off it. Walking on stressed grass will distress it even more, causing it to die off.
Don’t Fertilize In The Summer Heat
If your lawn is looking brown and patchy, don’t be tempted to fertilize it mid-summer. Fertilizing stimulates growth, and this takes a great deal of energy. Lawns are already stressed in the heat, and expending more energy on new growth will only create more stress. Too much fertilizer combined with sun exposure can also scorch your lawn, creating more dry, brown patches, rather than decreasing them. Instead, wait until Fall to feed your lawn, when it is vigorous and healthy.
Do Enjoy Your Lush, Healthy Lawn
Your beautiful green carpet will be the envy of all your neighbors, and a cool retreat to soak up the summer rays!