Summer is a season of maintenance. The grass is up, things are green, and there are no leaves to rake yet. So it’s a time for keeping things looking good and enjoying your lawn. Here are some tips for caring for your lawn during the summer.
Not Too Short
It is not recommended that you cut your grass too short. Most sources consider 3 or 4 inches to be the best length for grass in the summer. If grass is below 3 inches, it tends to be less drought resistant. Too-short grass also gives more room for weeds to move in.
Go Easy on the Fertilizer
If your grass begins to look piqued in the summer, you may find yourself wanting to douse it with fertilizer. But this may actually harm your lawn, as hot summer temperatures and high-nitrogen fertilizers can conspire to “burn” your grass to a crispy brown.
On the other hand, fertilizing in the hot summer months may produce lots of new growth, which sounds good but actually isn’t – new growth has a hard time surviving in the heat. Sources say that fertilizing should be done early in the season with a low-nitrogen, slow-release fertilizer.
If you have a rain gauge, set it out in your lawn at grass level where both rain and water from a sprinkler or hose will fall in it. You can make a rain gauge easily if you don’t have one: cut the narrow neck off of a plastic bottle and make marks with a permanent marker up the side in 1/4-inch intervals.
It’s recommended that lawn grass be watered about 1 inch per week in moderately hot weather, and up to 2 inches per week in severe heat. If Mother Nature is providing this much, you need not worry about watering. That’s why a rain gauge is a good idea.
If you do need to water your lawn, most sources recommend watering in the evening or early morning and not in the heat of the day. This reduces water loss through evaporation.
Keep It Sharp
Any blades you use on your lawn – mower blades, clippers, grass hooks, etc. – should be very sharp. Dull blades mash and “chew” the grass rather than making clean cuts. Grass that’s torn and mashed may not stand up to summer’s heat very well, and the rough edges might turn brown.
Mulching is helpful for holding in moisture, improving the soil when it decomposes, and even reducing erosion. All kinds of materials can be used to mulch a lawn, from leaves to straw. Many people, though, find it most convenient to use the grass clippings themselves as mulch.