As we head into the lazy, hazy days of summer, many people tend to ease off on their gardening chores. Our focus changes to days by the pool, outdoor sports, vacations, and picnics in the shade… and rightly so. After all, we struggled through the cold of winter and the rainy days of spring; we deserve a break. Through the summer, however, there remains one very important component of our landscape that still needs our care: our lawn.
Now is the time to control insects that may be living in your lawn. Grubs are especially dangerous. They feed upon the roots of your grass, creating dead, brown patches. Grubs are easy to control. Yearly lawn treatments are readily available in garden centers. If you prefer to try an organic approach over chemical treatments, use Milky Spore in your yard. One application will last for the lifetime of your lawn.
Spot kill any weeds that may spring up in your lawn. At this time of year, you should only use liquid weed control. Save the granular products for cooler temperatures. Using a ready-to-use spray or tank sprayer, treat only the problem area, not the entire lawn.
It is important to continue feeding your lawn over the summer. This will help it compete with tough weeds like clover when the temperatures rise and the moisture levels drop. It is best to use a granular fertilizer at half the recommended rate, with a cyclone spreader. You will need to make more frequent applications but there will be less chance of streaking and burning in your lawn.
When mowing, keep your grass plants around 3.5 inches. Shorter plants result in shorter roots, thinning, stress, weed invasion, and greater susceptibility to disease. Change your mowing pattern each time. This encourages upright shoot growth and reduces compaction and wear. Make sure your mower blades are sharp. Dull blades tear and bruise the grass plants, causing the tips to fray and turn brown. If possible, do not pick up grass clippings. They are high in nitrogen, decompose quickly, and add nutrients back into the soil.
A few simple steps this summer will keep your lawn lush and healthy.