Keeping your lawn green and healthy throughout the summer
You can’t just expect something to thrive simply because it exists. Nurturing any living thing takes time, patience and care. Your lawn is no exception, especially in the summer when intense heat and drought can make it difficult for plants to survive, let alone flourish.
Luckily, even little changes to your lawn care routine can make a big impact. It is entirely possible to keep your grass green and healthy all summer long. These tips and products can help you do exactly that.
What does your lawn need to thrive?
Before you can get your lawn to be the best, most healthy version of itself, you must learn what it needs to thrive. While there are other items your grass requires, these six are the most important: suitable soil temperature, sunlight, healthy soil, oxygen, water and nutrients.
Suitable soil temperature
The effect that soil temperature has on a lawn is easy to see. In the winter, you do not have to pull out your lawn mower and cut the grass between snow storms because the cold temperatures have caused your lawn to stop growing. The same thing happens when it gets too hot — during those summer scorchers, you might notice you don’t have to cut the grass as often.
While soil temperatures play the leading role in whether your grass grows or not, unfortunately, it is not something you have control over. It is more something to recognize. If your grass stops growing and turns brown in the middle of an extended heatwave, it is a natural survival reaction. As long as you are giving your grass everything else it needs, it should come back to its full health when temperatures cool down a little.
Without sunlight, grass won’t survive. Depending on the type of grass you have, your lawn needs anywhere from four to six hours of direct sunlight each day. Some shade tolerant grasses, however, can survive in filtered sunlight. Also, it is important to remember that too much direct sunlight can damage your lawn. If you want the healthiest summer grass, consider the amount of sunlight it gets and if there is anything you can do to increase or limit that amount so your lawn thrives.
A plant survives on the air, food and nutrients it takes in through its roots. If you don’t believe that, snip off the top of a plant, but leave its roots unharmed. Even though nearly all of the plant is gone, if the roots are safe, it will grow back.
For air, food and nutrients to get to your lawn’s root system, they have to make it through the soil. Sometimes, soil can get so compacted that it doesn’t allow these vital elements through. When that happens, you need to loosen your soil with a lawn aerator. When you aerate your soil, you put lots of holes in it or remove plugs of soil to loosen it up so air, food and nutrients can get through to the roots.
Sometimes, your soil may be fine, but a layer of organic matter builds up that doesn’t allow these three essentials through. This is called thatch. When that happens, you must remove some of that organic matter using a lawn dethatcher.
In school, you learned that plants need carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. While this is true, many of us may have reasoned that plants do not require oxygen. This is not true. For plants to convert food into energy, they need oxygen. As long as you keep your soil healthy, your thatch to no thicker than a half inch and you do not over-water, your lawn will get the oxygen it needs.
One of the keys to keeping your lawn lush and green during the summer is to make sure it has enough water. If the color of your grass fades and the blades do not spring back after you walk across it, your lawn needs water.
It is best to water your lawn in the morning before the temperatures climb to keep the water from evaporating. Add enough water so a screwdriver can easily slide roughly six inches into the ground. You want the soil moist, not wet. Twice a week is sufficient unless there are abnormally high temperatures or long periods without rain.
Applying fertilizer is like giving your lawn a healthy meal — it will help it grow strong and endure harsh conditions. Apply the first round about the time you begin mowing your lawn and be sure to water it afterward. You may need to apply one or two more treatments of fertilizer over the summer. This is okay. Just wait at least six weeks before treatments and try to time it so you are not applying fertilizer during the hottest temperatures of the season.
What is overseeding?
If you notice your lawn has bare spots or looks a little thin, and you have tended to all the other areas, consider overseeding. This simply means you put grass seed directly on top of your lawn to bolster it. For best results, this should be done during the peak growing season.
When is peak growing season?
Peak growing season varies for grasses in the northern half of the country and grasses in the southern half of the country. In the north, you have cool-season grasses which grow the most mid spring and early fall. In the south, you have warm-season grasses which grow the most during late spring. You can easily tell when it is peak growing season because it is when your grass will grow the fastest.
Products that help your summer lawn thrive
This soil thermometer has a long stainless steel probe. Simply stick it in the ground, wait about four seconds and you’ll know the temperature of your soil. This lets you know when the conditions are right for peak growing season.
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This 48-inch tow-behind plug aerator has 32 galvanized shafts that remove three-inch plugs from your lawn to help loosen up compacted soil so water, nutrients and air can get through to the roots of your grass.
If you do not have a large area to aerate, these spikes are ideal. They quickly attach to your footwear. Once on, all you have to do is walk around to loosen up your soil.
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If you have a mid to large-sized lawn that is being suffocated by too much thatch, this tool can help. The innovative design lets you dethatch and sweep your lawn clean in one pass.
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For people who have a smaller lawn, this electric dethatcher may be all you need. It is limited by the length of the cord, but it lets you complete your task with minimal effort. The collection bag keeps your property neat as you work.
One of the most important tasks you can do to ensure a lush, green lawn throughout the summer is to keep the soil moist. With a sprinkler, you can water your lawn without saturating it. This model has three arms that rotate to provide coverage of up to 24 feet in all directions.
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If you plan on feeding your lawn so it grows with a robust energy, you need a spreader. This large-capacity spreader holds enough fertilizer (or grass seed) to cover up to 10,000 square feet. It has a heavy-duty frame and disperses fertilizer or seeds in a 22-inch spread pattern.
This all-in-one turf builder can be used throughout any season. It helps your grass develop strong roots that can keep it lush during the stress caused by harsh weather conditions. It also helps your lawn absorb more nutrients so it can thrive all season long.
If you are having problems with excessive heat and drought, this is the fertilizer you want to use because it is formulated not to burn your lawn. The product is also fortified with insect control to protect against a range of harmful bugs.
This mix is for people who want to overseed cool-season grasses. It is suitable for use in either sun or shade and will spread aggressively to fill bare spots. The protective coating keeps the seeds moist and helps fortify them against diseases.
People who live in the south need a warm-season product. This grass seed is formulated to grow in high-traffic areas that receive little water and must endure scorching heat. The WaterSmart coating protects against diseases and keeps the seeds moist up to two times longer than uncoated seeds.
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