Summer Lawn Care Tips - Preparing My Yard for Summer

Posted by Brian Gerber on May 19, 2020 6:18:37 PM

Summer can be a very stressful time of year for your lawn with threats of heat and drought. Many of you have worked hard on your lawns in spring and now it's time to maintain the work you have already done.

Mowing Your Lawn in the Summer

Summers in the Northeast tend to be very warm with minimal rain. The threat of drought and heat pose many threats to your yard's health.

It's important to raise your mower blades to 3 - 3.5" and keep your grass longer during this time.

Keeping your grass blades long will shade grass roots, allowing them to retain moisture for longer. This will help prevent soil from drying out and will prevent grass from burning.

The stronger the root system, the longer it will take for grass blades to dry out.
  • Raise mower blades to 3.5 - 4 inches. 
  • Remove no more than 1/3 of grass blade. 
  • Leave grass clippings - they will provide your lawn with extra nutrients. 

Pro Tip: If you have an irrigation system and use it faithfully you can get away with mowing your grass a little shorter.

Irrigation - Avoid Heat or Drought Stressed Lawns

  • Water early in the day: This will allow the maximum amount of water to be absorbed into soil and keep your grass temperatures cool on hot summer days. 

  • Water infrequently (1-2 times per week):  This encourages stronger root growth as roots will search downwards for moisture. 

  • Syringing: When temperatures exceed 85 degrees, water lightly in the afternoon for 5 minutes per zone to bring down the lawn's surface temperature. 

Which Lawn Diseases Should I Keep an Eye Out For?

Summer temperatures bring humidity and warm nights. You'll want to keep an eye out for turf diseases.  If you need help, a professional lawn service company near you can help you identify any threats.

Common summer turf diseases:

  • Summer Patch: a fungus that destroys grass by infecting and destroying its roots. 

  • Pythium: cottony, white, fluffy mycelium that grows on grass blades. 

  • Brown patch: thrives in hot weather and high humidity and is caused by a fungus.  Rye grass, tall fescues and bent grass are most susceptible. 

Pro tip: Incorporate preventative care in your lawn program rather than waiting until it's too late.

Mulching Trees and Shrubs:

Trees and shrubs can be a very valuable asset on our properties. Mulch can be your plant's best friend by offering trees insulation, protection and ensuring that they get the water and nutrients they need. 

  • Slow evaporation of moisture in the soil by preventing wind and sunlight from getting to soil (retains moisture). 

  • Prevents weeds from sprouting and overtaking landscape. 

  • Insulates soil so there is less of a dramatic change in soil temperature. 

Pro Tip: When mulching, make sure to leave some space around tree trunks to prevent suffocation and allow for air and water circulation. 

Pruning Trees and Shrubs:

Not only does pruning trees add curb appeal - it promotes new growth, allows you to control the size of plants if you live in restricted areas, provides plants below with more sunlight and encourages flowering.

Pro Tip: The proper time to prune can vary on each plant's growing habits or condition. Be sure to do your research. 

How Do I Avoid Soil Compaction?

More time outside in the beautiful summer months can mean more foot traffic on your lawn. Heavy foot traffic can lead to compacted soil which, in turn, will lower the amount of air, water and nutrients that your lawn is able to absorb. 

Lawn Aeration Benefits

Avoid Soil Compaction By:

  • Limiting traffic.

  • Core Aeration: See above. Your Lawn Service Provider will use a core aerator to pull plugs of soil from lawn allowing it to "breath" and creating gaps for the root systems to grow into. 

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