Summer Lawn Care Tips

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Sprinkler Watering Lawn Summer

In the heat of summer, lawn maintenance is essential for a lush, healthy yard. Key practices include mowing at the right height, proper watering to avoid over-saturation, and selecting the right fertilizer to support your lawn under stress. Additionally, managing weeds and pests thoughtfully and preventing diseases are essential. This blog offers expert tips for caring for warm-season grasses, ensuring your lawn thrives all summer long.

Summer mowing can be challenging as temperatures rise, especially if the grass gets too tall, making the mower hard to push. Maintaining your lawn at recommended heights for various grass types can make it easier:

  • Bermuda (0.5–1.5 inches)
  • Bluegrass (2.5–3.5 inches)
  • Centipede (1.5–2.0 inches)
  • Fescue (2.5–3.5 inches)
  • St. Augustine (2–4 inches)
  • Zoysia (0.5–2 inches, depending on the blade type)

It’s crucial to remember that cutting more than a third of the blade can have detrimental effects on your lawn. This practice can lead to stress and browning, which is why it’s best to avoid it.
If you go on a vacation or break and your grass gets too tall while you’re gone, mow gradually to the desired height, allowing 3–5 days between mowings. Taller blades benefit the lawn by shading the root system and retaining moisture.

As summer heats up, so do soil temperatures and conditions, stressing your lawn and changing its nutrient needs. Less nitrogen is required than in cooler months, as excessive nitrogen and sunlight can scorch your lawn. Sod University suggests two summer fertilization options, but you only need to choose one.

Option 1 is the Lawnifi® Summer Fertilizer Box, a liquid program with Maintain and Recover formulations to support your lawn with essential nutrients, including potassium and micronutrients like iron and manganese, for the summer months.

Option 2 is Lawnifi Foundation, a granular fertilizer with a 29-0-5 NPK mix and slow-release nitrogen, ensuring a steady supply of nutrients without overwhelming your lawn, plus iron for a lush, green appearance.

Despite the temptation to water more in summer, lawns typically need only 1 inch of water weekly, including rainfall, to avoid disease-promoting waterlogged conditions. Aim for one or two deep waterings early in the morning each week to minimize dew duration and, reduce disease risk and take rainfall into consideration.
Watering in the early morning decreases the amount of time dew is present, which is helpful for managing any potential disease outbreaks.

Avoid weed control applications during summer, particularly for cool season grasses like fescues and bluegrass, due to the risk of damage when temperatures exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Opt for spot treatment or hand-pulling of weeds instead. It’s safer to apply post-emergent herbicides to control any present weeds when it’s cooler, ideally in early fall or when temperatures consistently stay below 85 degrees.
To prevent seasonal weeds, use pre-emergent herbicides in spring and fall. Be cautious of common summer weeds like knotweed, spurge and crabgrass. 

Summer brings the peak of insect activity, with pests like chinch bugs, grub worms, mole crickets, billbugs, and spittlebugs posing threats to lawns. Each insect has distinct signs of infestation, such as patchy grass for chinch bugs or tunneling for mole crickets.

Grub worm control is major in June with preventative control like Acelepryn to combat egg-laying beetles. Billbug damage resembles drought stress and can be diagnosed with a “tug” test on the grass. Spittlebugs are identified by their hopping behavior and the frothy substance they leave on plants. Sod webworms, active from May to July, consume the green parts of grass blades, leaving only the veins.

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