Summer can be a stressful time for any lawn. With proper seasonal care, however, you can keep your lawn in great condition to withstand all of summer’s extremes and activities.
How Summer Is Hard on Lawns
Summer is a season of extremes, with long hours of brutal sunlight, blazing hot temperatures, and cycles of drought and flooding between summer storms. Summer is also when weeds and fungus are growing more vigorously and pests are on the lookout for tasty roots and shoots to feed on. And even while lawns have to face these stresses, they’re also subject to the most use during the summer months with backyard barbecues and games, kids playing outdoors, water fights, overnight campouts, and other activities. All of these factors add up to terror for a lawn, and it’s easy for even well-maintained turf to start looking worn out, thin, and brown in the summer months. With the right summer care, however, you can have a spectacular lawn all season long.
Caring for Your Lawn Before Summer Begins
Spring is when you should evaluate your lawn’s overall condition. Test your soil and add amendments if necessary, and consider overseeding or patching your lawn as needed to help it be thick and ready for the rigors of summer. Fertilize properly to support early season growth, and be sure your lawn mower, trimmer, and other tools are sharpened and working properly so you can care for your lawn more easily.
Early Summer Lawn Care
As the days start to lengthen and temperatures start to warm in the early days of summer, generally from late May to late June, it is time to…
- Fertilize carefully for your specific grass type and individualized needs.
- Treat your lawn with pre-emergent weed prevention to minimize invading weeds.
- Treat for pests while they are in their grub or larval stages and easier to eradicate.
- Aerate and dethatch your lawn if needed to improve drainage and reduce compaction.
- Adjust your mower to a higher height to foster deeper root growth.
- Let grass clippings decompose on the lawn to provide additional nourishment.
- Adjust your irrigation schedule to compensate for spring rains and avoid excessive runoff.
Mid-Summer Lawn Care
During the hottest part of the summer season – typically late June through mid-August – your lawn needs special care to keep looking its best and withstand the season’s highest stresses.
- Keep your mower blades high so taller grass will shade and protect delicate roots.
- Mow more frequently as grass is vigorously growing, but avoid low cuts that will scalp the lawn.
- Water deep in the early morning hours before the sun can evaporate the moisture.
- Water infrequently to keep grass growing deep, sturdy roots.
- Respect all community guidelines and restrictions about lawn irrigation schedules.
- Stay alert to weed incursions and remove them before they have a chance to spread.
- Fertilize your lawn to support summer growth if needed and allowed in your area.
- Avoid trimming the edges of your lawn with every mow, as this is where turf is most brittle.
- Pick up litter, toys, chairs, and other obstacles daily to keep them off the lawn.
- Give your lawn “days off” when it isn’t played on or used and can recover from heavy use.
Late Summer Lawn Care
When summer finally starts to cool and the days begin to shorten, it is time to adjust your summer lawn care schedule and begin preparing for your lawn’s autumn needs.
- Check your mower blades and sharpen them again if necessary for clean cuts.
- Continue to stay alert to weeds that can invade at any point in the season.
- Reduce your watering schedule to help your lawn adjust to the changing season.
- Mow less frequently and begin to slightly lower your mower deck for shorter cuts.
- Overseed or patch any thin or bare areas so they can be established before frost arrives.
Every lawn is different. The more you know your lawn and the stresses it faces throughout the season, the better you will be able to create a summer lawn care schedule with your lawn’s specific needs in mind. With the right care, your lawn will thrive no matter how challenging summer may be, and you’ll enjoy all the benefits that healthy, vigorous turf brings to your home.