Fall is the time to slow down, take stock and get ready for a cozy winter and vibrant spring next year. We’ve put together a handy checklist to get you started.
Summer is everyone’s favorite time of year to show off your lawn care skills. There’s nothing quite like looking out of the window over a deep green, well-trimmed lawn. But proper lawn care is no walk in the park. Fortunately, we’ve collected all of the best advice from our lawn care professionals to create this Summer Lawn Care Guide, just for you. If you’re looking for tips on watering, mowing, feeding schedules, or some extra tips to give your lawn the “edge” over the competition, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive in
What’s in this article?
- The Big Takeaways for Summer Lawn Care
- Fertilizing Your Lawn
- Watering Your Lawn
- Mowing Your Lawn
- Lawn Maintenance Professional Tips
The Big Takeaways for Summer Lawn Care
- Fertilizer is an important and often-overlooked step. Well-fed grass is happy grass. Fertilize at least once in the summer.
- Water deeply, and early in the morning. Sprinkler systems are the most precise way to water your lawn.
- Mow higher in the Summer than you would in the Fall or Spring. Mowing schedules should be based on grass height, not time.
- Weeding shouldn’t be optional.
Fertilizing Your Lawn in The Summer
To keep your grass looking healthy, you need to feed it. No big surprises there. Ideally, fertilizer is applied in the spring just as you notice your grass beginning to grow. Fertilizing immediately after your first cut of the year is best practice. If you didn’t fertilize in the spring, don’t despair — just fertilize as soon as possible.
Lawn Fertilizing Schedule
Lawn care companies will routinely fertilize lawns about four times a year:
- Once at the beginning of the Spring
- Once at the beginning of Summer
- Once at the end of Summer
- Once in the Fall / just before the grass goes dormant
If you’re fertilizing yourself, just keep an eye on the growth of your grass. If you notice growth begins to slow (by timing how long it takes to grow back between mowing days,) it’s time to fertilize your lawn.
Organic vs. Synthetic and N-P-K Ratios
Organic and synthetic fertilizers have been demonstrated to have mostly similar beneficial effects on lawn growth. What’s most important is that you have the right nutrient distribution for your kind of lawn. Different grass types like different Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K) ratios: commonly called the N-P-K of the fertilizer.
The most common N-P-K ratios are 3:1:2 or 4:1:2, and fertilizers are usually labeled on the bag. Unsure which fertilizer your grass likes best? Start with 3:1:2, it’s the safer bet.
Watering Your Lawn in the Summer
When watering your lawn, the number one rule is to water deeply. Lush grass has deep roots, which develop as grass reaches further into the soil to collect water and nutrients. When water is always present near the surface, grass develops shallow roots which are susceptible to drought, tearing, and damage from foot traffic.
Watering Your Lawn Tips
- Grass requires anywhere from 0.5in – 1.5in of water/week to thrive, depending on its type and the time of year. Running your typical host-connected sprinkler for about 20 minutes is generally about enough to saturate the area with 0.75in of water. To check how much water your sprinkler is putting out, set out a container in the path of the sprinkler. Set a timer for 15 minutes, then measure the height of the water inside the container with a ruler. One half-inch of water in your container means your sprinkler is putting out a one-half inch of water every 15 minutes.
- In hotter weather, stay on top of waterings. Keep an eye out for brown-ish edges to your grass blades, as this is an early indicator your grass needs more water.
- Always aim to water early in the morning, so water isn’t lost to evaporation.
- Different modes of irrigation include hand watering, using sprinklers, drip irrigation, and built-in irrigation systems. If timing and measuring your watering is too much of a chore, irrigation systems are an extremely cost-effective way to ensure precision in your watering schedule.
- Many landscaping companies will schedule your irrigation system for you and even perform regular maintenance or schedule updates during season changes, so your grass stays healthy year-round.
Mowing Lawn in the Summer
Mowing: Everyone’s favorite household task to pass off to their children. Mowing is the most common lawn-care practice, we’ve all done it at least once in our lives. It’s not so straightforward as we might think, despite our familiarity with it, and most people are missing at least a few crucial considerations in their mowing practices.
Tips for Mowing the Lawn in Summer
- Mow about every 5 – 7 days for both cool and warm-season types of grass. Use grass height as your guide for when to mow, not time.
- Mow higher in the Summer. In the northern half of the United States, most grasses are cool-season grasses, so you should be mowing at a height of between 2-3 inches. High temps can endanger cool-season grass, commonly between June – August. If the temperatures are above 75 degrees, short grass risks scorching. Mow with an extra inch during these periods, between 3-4 inches.
Warm-season grasses are less popular in the north, but they aren’t unheard of, and if you’re in the southern half of the United States, they’re far more popular. These grasses are a bit hardier to the heat and can be cut between 1.5-3 inches all summer long.
- You should have your blades sharpened at least one time each year. There are several local businesses that provide blade sharpening services. This ensures you aren’t tearing and harming your lawn, as well as preserves the longevity of your mower.
- Cut as low as you can without harming the grass, especially for warm-season grasses that are sure to spring back quickly. When the cooler weather approaches in the Fall, grasses will go dormant sooner, and you can space out your mowings from 5-7 days to up to 10-14 days without changing the mowing height.
Summer Lawn Maintenance
With the fundamentals nailed down, you can turn your attention to the finishing touches that will really help your lawn stand out.
Weeding Lawn in the Summer
This is the only step in lawn maintenance that we do not consider to be optional. Weeding is an important part of maintaining a healthy lawn, preventing soil erosion, and discouraging lawn diseases and pests. If you weed regularly by hand, or with a small garden hoe, you should have no trouble keeping up on lawn weeds.
For large lawns and commercial properties, there are weed treatments that can be applied to the grass to prevent the recurrence of weeds. However, these should be used with caution, as in recent years many of them have been linked to environmental damages and potential health problems. Ask your lawn care professional about their recommendations, and potential natural applications that could be used instead of synthetic weed-killer.
Edging Your Lawn
A good lawn will never be great until it’s been properly edged. Edging creates that crisp, turf-like appearance at the end of your lawn before the driveway, curb, or sidewalk. Like mowers, edgers need their blades replaced regularly for both safety and proper performance.
Watch Foot Traffic
Although we don’t advocate yelling “Get off my lawn!” at the neighborhood youngsters, foot traffic is definitely something to keep an eye on if you’re trying to cultivate the best grass. Where possible, walk on sidewalks or designated walkways, and avoid trampling all over your grass. In general, this doesn’t need to be too much of a concern, but definitely use extra care just after fertilization or if you notice your grass has taken on a bit of an unhealthy pallor.
Need Some Extra Assistance? Reach Out to Lawn Care Professionals
Clearly, lawn care in the summer can become quite a bear of a chore. If you’re looking for additional assistance, lawn care professionals are standing by to help you with one or all of the above tasks, and much more. You’d be surprised how affordable these services can be. Contact our Lawn Care Professionals today to have your questions answered and receive a quote.