The Struggles of Summer
Here are a few tips and pointers to help your lawns look as good and be as healthy as possible through the upcoming heat! We know that you take great pride in your lawn, so hopefully these can help you achieve the best possible lawn this summer until it cools down again.
WATER PROPERLY - Irrigation is the most vital part of lawn care. Especially during the summer. At this point, we suggest, on average, you should be watering at least 3-4 times a week, and try to get approximately 2 inches of water down a week if possible. If we have several windy days in a row, you may need to add an additional day of watering in there to compensate for the amount of moisture lost due to the winds. Also, make sure that your deep, regular waterings are done between 1:00-5:00 A.M. if possible. Avoid watering as the sun is coming up or before the sun is going down. This will help reduce the possibility of promoting fungus in your lawns. And if we get some significant rain fall, be sure to turn your irrigation off for a couple of days. ANOTHER GREAT PRACTICE TO GET INTO, IF YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO SO, IS SET YOUR SPRINKLER CLOCK TO WATER FOR 3 MINUTES ON EVERY ZONE BETWEEN 3:00-5:00 P.M. EVERY DAY! Giving your lawn a short burst of water can reduce the high soil temperatures that our turf is exposed to during the summer, reducing the amount of heat stress that our fescue and blue grass lawns just aren't able to deal with. These late afternoon waterings can reduce the temperature of our soil 10-12 degrees, which is extremely crucial for the health of our turf!
PROPER MOWING - Almost as equally as important as our watering habits, are our mowing habits! For those of you with fescue or bluegrass, you need to be mowing approximately 3.5-4 inches. For many, that would be the top 1 or 2 settings on your mowers. There are several reasons why we promote tall mowing during the summer. One, it is generally easier on the grass as you are not removing as much of the blade per mowing, thus making it much easier for the grass to recover after the mowing. Two, though it's not a huge difference, the taller we leave our grass, the cooler our soil will be, thus keeping the root zone a little bit cooler as well. Three, when we mow the lawn at a taller height, it also will help reduce weed pressure and can even slow down any invasive bermuda that may be creeping in your lawn. Fourth, and maybe most importantly for aesthetics, when you mow your lawn taller, you will immediately notice a deeper, darker, green color that you strive and desire to have. And finally, if the lawn has not grown much, or appears to be a little bit stressed, it is okay to skip a mowing. When we continue to mow when our lawns are stressed, it increases the amount of time it will take for the lawn to recover, so again, if it looks like it's stressing, just don't mow it that week.
DO NOT OVER-FERTILIZE - This is another misconception that many have came to believe. It does seem to make sense though. If the lawn is getting brown, we think that adding some fertilizer will help quicken the green up process. And even though it may help the lawn green up, it will eventually cause the lawn to be stressed even more so than it was before. If the lawn needs an additional feeding during the summer heat, we suggest using a very slow release, organic, or bio-solid fertilizer that will slowly feed the lawn throughout the summer. There is a product called milorganite that does very well for those lawns needing a snack during the summer heat.
The summer is definitely the most trying, confusing, and difficult part of the season to maintain our cool season grass. We are doing our best to maintain a green, healthy stand of grass in extreme conditions, that is meant to thrive in climates below 80 degrees. But, if you can practice all of these tips, and keep a watchful eye out for other issues in the lawn, you will be ahead of the game, and before you know it, the summer heat will be over and your lawn will be much easier to take care of. We hope this helps you all a little bit, and if you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us and we will do our best to assist you! Thank you again for all of your support and your input! God Bless and have a great week!