In many parts of the country, the rising summer heat coaxes grass out of its dormant state and into green splendor. As the temperatures continue to climb, however, the heat can become the enemy of your lush lawn if the turf isn’t watered and maintained properly. Here are some tips for keeping your yard green and healthy in hot weather:
A Cut Above
Talk to your local lawn and landscape center about the best strategy for mowing your particular turf type. Generally, it’s best to cut grass on the higher side in the summer rather than cropping it close to the roots. A higher cut encourages strong root growth and can help keep the turf cooler. During peak growing time, this can likely mean having to mow more often, but you’ll have a better chance of being rewarded with healthier grass. You may also want to leave the grass clippings on the lawn to add nutrients to the soil. Just make sure to spread the clippings out and always remove leaves and other debris from your lawn as soon as possible.
Soak It In
Another general rule of thumb is that its usually best to water a lawn deeply and less often, soaking the soil instead of lightly wetting it. This encourages more profound root growth, which is especially important during hot weather. It’s also a good idea to avoid watering during the hottest part of the day when evaporation can happen quickly. Instead, try to water in the early mornings when possible. If you are unsure about how much moisture your lawn is receiving from rainfall and watering, place a shallow container on the turf and measure how much water gathers.
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If you have an automatic sprinkler system, have it inspected and maintained before peak growing season begins. Be sure to check the settings regularly to make sure the system continues to operate when it should. This is especially important after storms or power outages have occurred, which can sometimes cause systems to turn off, reset, or default. In addition, observe each sprinkler zone periodically to confirm that the individual sprinkler heads are all operating properly and pointed in the right directions.
Weed Out Problems
The best weapons against weed invasion are maintaining healthy and lush grass through proper watering, mowing, and fertilization. For many grass types, it’s also helpful to apply pre-emergent herbicide to stop weed growth before it starts. Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed back if they are blocking needed sunlight to your grass. Avoid adding stress to your turf by switching up high-traffic and play areas as much as possible during summer months. The addition of walkways and pathways can help keep people and pets off grass in certain areas.
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Perhaps the best way to care for your lawn this summer is to simply spend time outside. When you’re outdoors, you’re more likely to notice small issues before they become big problems, such as signs of drought, pests, or new weeds emerging. You can also spot areas of your lawn that your sprinkler system might not be reaching or parts that may not be getting enough sunlight.