Maintaining a Healthy Lawn
Most of us dream of having the perfect lawn. While a perfect lawn may be significantly less than ideal, as there’ll always be something to deal with (like weeds or disease), you can still have a healthy lawn using the following lawn care tips. With topics ranging from lawn diseases to planting and care of lawns, learning how to take care of your lawn can be a simple task. By using the proper lawn care products and practicing good lawn maintenance, you’ll be well on your way to having the yard you’ve always wanted.
Warm-Season Grass Characteristics
While warm-season grasses are suited for the southern part of the country, the transition zone at the center of the country requires a mix of warm- and cool-season varieties. Warm-season grasses grow during spring and summer, but turn brown and go dormant during winter and fall. These varieties tolerate dry conditions. They have wide, coarse blades. Warm -season grasses are creeping varieties, spreading by above- or below-ground runners.
Care for a Healthy Lawn
After the spring growing season, summer brings quite a little bit of stress to lawn grasses. Not only are the heat and drought damaging, but we aren’t as forgiving in the summer as we are in the winter. We want our lawns green and lush for outdoor activities, and we try to fight nature by continuing to fertilize, water, and coax new growth out of our lawns no matter precisely what the weather. However, by respecting and understanding the seasonal changes of turf grasses, you can take steps to care gently for your lawn as the mercury rises:
Lawns need at least one inch of water per week, and more when the heat is severe. Use a rain gauge or straight-sided can to keep tabs on the amount of water received from irrigation and rainfall. Water deeply and less frequently to encourage drought-tolerant roots. Water early in the day to reduce evaporation and fungal growth.
Either water your lawn regularly and deeply, or don’t water at all. Don’t let your lawn go brown and dormant, then try to water it back to life. If your lawn goes dormant in summer, it should stay that way until fall don’t worry, it should recover when the weather changes.
A healthy lawn does not mean that it has to be short. The blades need to be set as high as possible when cutting into your lawn. The length of grass high, provides numerous amounts of benefits towards keeping the soil healthy and productive.
Tall blades of grass are able to obtain more light during peak sun hours and, in turn, will use this energy. Taller blades will provide shade that allows for the soil surrounding each blade of grass to maintain moisture through the dry heat of the majority of summer days. Raise your mower blade in the summer. Taller grass is more drought-tolerant, grows deeper roots, and helps shade the earth to prevent weed seeds from germinating. Cool-season grasses should be mowed at 3″- 4″ during the summer, or as high as your blade will go, while warm-season grasses ought to be mowed at 2″- 3″. Mulching grass clippings help keep moisture levels steady. Mow to prevent cutting more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time. This keeps your grass healthier and prevents the clippings from smothering the grass. Keep mower blades sharp. Make sure your lawn mower is cutting your grass.
Don’t Over Fertilize
In case your lawn is looking in midsummer, resist the urge. In fact, it’s best to stop fertilizing about 30 days before your areaâs summer temperatures arrive. Applying extra fertilizer in the heat of summer can burn your lawn and create a flush of tender growth that’ll struggle in the hot summer weather. Never fertilize dormant lawns, wait until they green up in the fall.
Fertilization at the end of the fall season as well as at both the beginning of the spring season is vital to your grass maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Most organic fertilizers used in the spring allow for the soil to be started with an abundance of nutrients to inhibit growth at a rapid pace. On the opposite side of the spectrum winterizing fertilizers allow for the soil store there to maintain a healthy landscape during the harsh snow and inclement weather of the winter and to capture nutrients.
By summer, many lawns begin to show signs of wear in a few popular pathways. Consider installing stepping stones to minimize damage to your grass, and try to minimize traffic on dormant, brittle lawns. If you’re getting plenty of rainfall and your lawn is actively growing, you can apply a bit of fertilizer to these areas to help the blades recover faster.
Summer is the season to get those growing weeds removed before they bloom and disperse seed for next year. Targeted post-emergent herbicides were created to kill broadleaf weeds without harming turf grass, but they have to be applied when temperatures will be below 85° F for a few days. Keep in mind that during the heat of summer, any product can be damaging to already-stressed lawn grasses, so use or hand-pull weeds instead.
Weeds are a nuisance to any lawn across the country. There must be a conscious effort to walk your lawn on an every other day basis to find any instance of weeds and remove as soon as possible. This will definitely allow you to catch weeds that are newly formed before they have a chance to grow roots and stake a claim in the soil of your lawn.
Hydration is essential to the growth and nutrition of your lawn. The entire landscape surrounding your home needs to have at least an inch of water on a weekly basis. This inch of water can come from rain or can come through your water hose from manual irrigation. The main keys to remember in regards to manual hydration are to water as early as possible as well as not to over-saturate your lawn.
All watering should be done in the early morning hours so all moisture can be absorbed by the soil before any sun and or heat has a chance. The watering should be measured, through the use of a coffee can as an example, to make sure that you cause the soil to become infertile due to moisture and do not over-water the lawn.
Insects and Diseases
Dormant or drought-stressed summer lawns can be more susceptible to insect infestations, like armyworms, cutworms, chinch bugs, sod webworms, fire ants, fleas, and mosquitoes. Minor infestations take care of themselves, but severe problems may require attention.
Summer is also the time for fungal diseases, for example, brown patch and powdery mildew. Apply a fungicide if needed, and avoid watering in the evening to keep nighttime moisture at the absolute minimum. Grubs will begin hatching in your lawn over the summer. If grubs cause problems in your lawn, you can begin applying grub control around midsummer.
An overall two-pronged approach will make maintaining a healthy lawn an easier process. Step one is to maintain year-round health. Grass will tolerate the heat more easily if it’s in a healthy state through the entire year. Season-long care includes proper fertilization, watering, mowing, and pest control that all help to produce a consistently healthy lawn that’s best able to tolerate summer (and other) stresses. In relation to your own health, think of step one as eating right, regular exercise and good sleep to make certain your best long-term health.