Maintaining is the key this summer

Jul 06, 2020

If spring lawn care is about getting your lawn healthy and green, summer lawn care is about keeping it healthy while temperatures soar and rainfall flattens. It’s also about maintaining a lawn that can withstand all the barbecues, games, parties, and running feet summer has to offer.

After the spring growing season, summer brings quite a bit of stress to lawn grasses. Not only are the heat and drought damaging, but because we want our lawns lush and green, we try to fight nature by continuing to fertilize, water, and coax new growth no matter the weather. However, by understanding and respecting the seasonal changes of turfgrasses, you can take steps to care gently for your lawn all summer long.

Water wisely
In general, lawns need ½ inch to 1 inch of water per week to maintain a healthy, green color and active growth. Do not overwater! Use a rain gauge or other container to keep track of the amount of water received from rainfall and sprinklers.

Water lawns long enough for the moisture to penetrate deep into the root zone, and water less frequently. Frequent watering in quick bursts will lead to shallow roots and weed growth.
Water in the early morning, avoiding midday because of high temperatures and faster evaporation and evenings because of the potential for encouraging disease. Use common sense. If it rains, don’t water!

Don’t over-fertilize
If your lawn is looking straggly in midsummer, resist the urge to fertilize. Applying extra fertilizer in the heat of summer can burn your lawn and create tender growth that will struggle in the hot weather. Never fertilize dormant lawns — wait until they green up in the fall.

Wage war on weeds
Summer is the time to remove growing weeds before they bloom and disperse seed for next year. Targeted postemergent herbicides, like Bonide Weed Beater (#144661) or Trimec (#55633), will kill broadleaf weeds without harming turfgrass, but they must be applied when temperatures will be below 85 degrees for a few days.

Keep in mind any product can be damaging to summer-stressed lawn grasses, so use herbicides sparingly or hand-pull weeds instead.

Control insects and diseases
Dormant or drought-stressed lawns can be more susceptible to insects such as chinch bugs, cutworms, armyworms, sod webworms, fire ants, fleas, and mosquitoes. Infestations often take care of themselves, but severe problems may require attention. Grubs will also begin hatching in your lawn over the summer, and you can begin applying grub control like Bonide Annual Grub Beater granules (#144823) at midsummer.

Diseases such as powdery mildew and brown patch will also take hold when turfgrass is under stress. Several factors can contribute to disease, including improper mowing, drought, too much water, high temperatures and humidity, excess fertilizer, watering at the wrong time of day, and too much thatch. 

The best defense is a preventative program by keeping the turf from stress. You should only apply fungicides when necessary. A couple of treatment options are Bonide Infuse granules (#144876) or liquid (#144647) or Heritage Granules (#715930). Many diseases look similar, so make sure you know what disease you have before seeking treatment. The lawn and garden experts at your 

Co-op can help in identifying lawn problems and recommending the proper products.

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