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:
Don’t Let the Soil Dry Up
It’s important to understand that root growth is the fundamental part of a plant. The soil should be damp but not wet. The top 1″ of the soil should be more dry than the bottom layers. By doing so you will train your roots to grow deeper into the soil. Set your sprinklers to water less days and more minutes. If your used to watering 7 days a week for 30 minutes per day go down to 2 or 3 days a weeks. You can do some simple math to find out how long you should water. Take your 30 minutes per day equivalent and multiply it by 7. That gives you 210 minutes. This is our weekly output. Most likely we will save some water by going down to 3 days per week. Lets divide the 210 weekly minutes by 2.75 days. That gives us a total of 76 minutes per station 3 days per week. If we were to go down to 2 days per week it would look similar. 210 weekly minutes divided by 1.85 days per week (2 days per week). This gives us a total of 114 minutes per station.
Here are a few products designed to hold water in the soil for longer periods of time. These save on water. They are designed to help keep the water in the ground when evaporation is high. The lower the altitude the better it works. At sea level people have recorded up to a 50% savings on water. High altitudes up to a mile high have seen up to a 25% savings on water.
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!